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OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER.

[Prom Our Own Correspondent.!

MeLBOCEXE, July 31. POLITICAL. The Victorian Treasurer (Mr Gillies) delivered his Financial Statement yesterday, and showed the finances of the colony to be in an eminently satisfactory condition. In July last it was estimated that the revenue for the year ISSB-S9 from all sources would be L 9,073,468, and the expenditure L 5,984,982, leaving a balance of L 88,486. But tins accounts for the year show that L 9,779,505 was received. The expenditure was L 5,171,940, so that the balance brought forward to the current year is the large total of L 1,007,559. This balance is independent of advances made from the revenue, to the amount of L 211,000, which have to be recouped from loans. So far as this year is concerned, Mr Gillies estimates that the revenue will be L 8,168,845, which, added to the balance forward of LI ,607,559, and to L 832,450 to bs recouped, will bring the total receipts up to L 10,608,854. The estimated expenditure is L 9,730,359 on votes and special appropriations, and L 793,450 on account of votes afterwards to be recouped, making L 10,523,809 in all, and leaving a balance to be carried forward to 1890-91 of L 85,045. The conciliation of the farmers, it is clear, has been the main motive of the Treasurer In the preparation of his budget. In addition to the bonuses which are to be given for the encouragement of the wine and agricultural interests under the scheme propounded last year, concessions are to be made to irrigation trusts on account of headworka and otherwise ; the municipal endowment is to be increased by L 140.000 ; special facilities are to be afforded for the conveyance of dairy produce on the railways ; the farmers in the rabbit-infested districts will have a loan of L 150,000 without interest for wire netting; the remissions of Customs duties will be felt by the farmers as a whole ; and the railway freights have already been largely reduced. Apart from the refusal of the Government to give way on the question of the increase of the stock tax, little trouble has been taken to promote amicable relations with the sister colonies. In the first place, an increase of duty on oats and barley from 2d to 3d per cental will affect New Zealand, a new duty of 2d per dozen on eggs will not be agreeable to South Australia, and an increase of the tax on green fruit from 9d to 1s 6d per case, and of that on jam from 2d to 3d per lb, will operate against Tasmanian interests. The proposed remissions of duty are acceptable, and they predominate to the extent of a loss of revenue of about L 22.000. The tea duty is to bo reduced from 3d to Id per lb ; dress piece goods, which are largely used by the working classes, are to come in free, as well as kerosene and safety matches, and so are certain articles of farmers' machinery. Opium is to be treated as a drug, involving a loss of revenue of L 5,000. The shipping tonnage dues are to be reduced 50 per cent., and the penny postage system is to be introduced. The proposal made last year to sell the sites of the Yarra Bend and Kew Lunatic Asylums, as well as the Melbourne City Court sites, is renewed. Last year, the Treasurer explained, it was expected that L 900.000 would be realised from the sale of the land; but since then the value of real estate has fallen, and it was anticipated that only LBOO,OOO would now be received. It was not intended, however, to sell the property all at one time, but as opportunity offered. The large amount of money made available by the surplus from last year being added to the LBOO.OOO to be obtained from the sale of the asylum lands would be distributed in various ways. For instance, instead of going to the London market for borrowed money with which to build State schools, it was proposed to set opart L 215.000 for that purpose; an additional L 450.000 would be required for working railways ; L 150,000 would be advanced to farmers for wire-netting fencing, without interest, to be repaid within ten years; LUO,OOO would be added to the municipal endowment; L 250,00 would be given in bonuses to the wine and agricultural industries ; L27G.100 would be devoted to the redemption, in October, of Melbourne and Geelong railway debentures, now current at 6 per cent, interest; L 300.000 would be expended on cottage asylums, L 90,000 on Parliament Houses ; Mi.COO would bo given to the Melbourne University, L 90.000 to the Public Library and National Gallery LIO.OOO to the Ballarat Art Gallery, LIO.OOO to the Sandhurst Art Gallery, Llo.ooo to tfce Working Men’s College, L 25.000 for the establishment of farm schools, L32,oflofor the public offices at Sandhurst, and L 60.000 for the harbor works at Warrnambool. Among the subsidiary measures which are under the consideration of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria is a Bill to amend the Education Act, the main provisions of which are the reduction of the maximum school age from fifteen to thirteen, and the increase of the day» of compulsory attendance from thirty in each quarter to eighty in each half-year. The Bill has been passed in committee as drafted, but aa Interesting discussion has arisen over a proposal, emanating from a private member, to add clauses providing for the teaching of Scripture lessons contained in the Irish National books. Petitions ad libitum have poured into the Assembly during the last two weeks from religious bodies in nearly every district in th eeolony in support of the proposal. Judging from tins tone of the debate bo far as it has gone, there is little doubt that the proposition will be rejected. It has been urged that the introduction of Scripture lessons would mean no interfeccnce with the fundamental principles of the educational system, which was never intended ya be “godless,” but the practical difficulties ot introducing religious teaching so as to satisfy all creeds are generally conceded to be unsurmountable. Dr Pearson, the ■Minister of Education, in the couwn ,df a .speech on the subject, said that he regarded the action of a previous Minister in striking from the school books extracts from the ‘ Cotteris Saturday Night,’ ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus, **Tne May Queen,’ and other works, simply

because they contained references to the Almighty, as a lamentable blunder, and when a new edition of the books was required he would ask Parliament to direct whether or not they should be restored. Still that did not justify the opinion that the Irish National school hooks should he introduced. He had examined them, and disapproved of them, boih on account of the matter they contained and the style in which they were written. Besides, it was admitted by Archbishop Whately that they were used in Ireland for the purpose of undermining the fabric of the Unman Catholic Churcu. and that being so, it would he a great injustice to our Roman Catholic fellow-colo-nists to introduce them into our schools. Dr Pearson further said that at least twothirds of the Roman Catholic children of the colony attended the State schools, and whatever the clergy of that church might say in regard to the system, it was regarded with favor by a huge majority of the laity because it was fair. He objected to the proposed clauses because they would upset the secular principle of the Act. He claimed that very satisfactory results had already been achieved by that Act, for religious bitterness bed been greatly modified, and crime had diminished, and he that the holding of polls in the municipalities as was proposed, in order to ascertain the views of the majority of tiro people, would cause dissension and bitterness of feeling. According to the statements made by the Minister of Crown Lands of Victoria (Mr J. L. Dow), in introducing the Rabbits Destruction Bill, all the efforts made by the Government and individuals to rid the colony of “bunny” have been quite unavailing. The Government had spent Ll-15,000 in ten years in endeavoring to remove rabbits from Crown lands (local bodies and private individuals expended a considerably larger sum on private lands), but the pest was worse than ever. It was estimated that the Government expended L 20.000 a year on the work, the shire councils and private individuals LIDO,OOO, and that the rabbits destroyed crops and grass to the value of L 50.000 a year. The fault of the present system lay in the diversity of control, the Government having jurisdiction over Crown lands and the shire councils over private lands. The Bill proposes that the Government should take complete control of the avork of extermination, so that operations can be carried on simultaneously throughout the colony. Recent incidents have shown that it is as well for candidates for seats in the Legislative Council of Victoria to sec that before taking office they are duly qualified, if they wish to avoid trouble and inconvenience as well as pecuniary loss. Mr J. S. Butters, who was elected for the North-eastern province, has just been unseated because be had not held for twelve months the property of the annual value of LIOO which was mentioned in the declaration made by him at his nomination. He has spent about L 4,000 over the election, and now ho is being sued for L3,oooas penalties for having sat and voted in the Council. The action which has been commenced against hirn is instituted under a section of the Legislative Council Act, 1881, which provides that any person who sits and acts in the Council without the necessary qualification shall he liable to pay a sum of L2OO for every day he so sits and acts to any person whe sues him. A similar action has been taken against Dr Lefevre, a member for the North ' arra province, who, it appears, also included in the declaration made by him property of which he had not possession for twelve months before his election, the sum claimed being L 13.200. Whether these suits have been instituted by friends of these members to prevent other people from coming in to claim the large sums mentioned “deponent sayeth not.” A constitutional difficulty has arisen between the two Houses of Parliament of New South Wales in connection with the Payment of Members Bill. On the measure coming before the Council, it was so amended as to provide that it should not come into operation until the expiration of the present Assembly, and then should apply only to the two succeeding Houses, The argument used in the Council was that the constituencies were told that a payment system would result in a better choice of representatives, and the electors should have the opportunity of making that choice before the Bill comes intooperation, The Assembly has, however, got “it3backup”proporlyoverthcmatter. On the Bill being returned to the Assembly the Speaker addressed himself to the questionof the rightsof the Couneilin dealing with Money Bills, and gave his opinion that the Council could reject, but could not amend Money Bills. As the measure in question came within the category the Council had done wrong, and the Bill should at once be set aside by the Assembly. The Premier (Sir Henry Parkes) then proposed that the Bill should be set aside with the object of pissing another Bill to assert the rights of the Assembly. The motion was carried amid the greatest excitement. THE GOVERNORSHIP OF VICTORIA. The selection of the Earl of Hopetonn as Governor of Victoria in succession to Sir Henry Loch has, in connection with other recent appointments, shown a disposition on the part of the British Government to put men rf social distinction at the head of the Government in the colonies rather than those who are better qualified for administration by previous colonial experience. Though the Earl of Ilopctoun is a young man, he has held officers Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Lord High Commissioner is the representative of the Queen in the Assembly ; ho delivers an opening address, and is associated with the members in their deliberations, PECULIAR SUIT FOR GUARDIANSHIP. The Chief Judge in Equity of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on Monday delivered judgment in the case of Winifred Marian Butler, an infant, for whom the Court was asked to appoint guardians. Miss Butler is a daughter of the late Edward Butler, Q.C., who was a Roman Catholic. Mrs Butler, some time after her husband’s death, embraced the Protestant faith, and in her will nominated two-Protestant gentlemen as guardians of her child, who was baptised as a Roman Catholic, and educated as such for the first ten years of her life. Thomas Butler, a paternal uncle of the infant, strongly objected to the guardians named by Mrs Butler, contended that the child should be educated according to her father’s religion, and appealed to be appointed guardian himself. Mr Justice Owen, after quoting a number of authorities in support oi the view he took, appointed Mr Thomas Butler guardian of the infant, but directed that the mother and other relatives chould have access to the child at convenient times, and that Mies Butler should be allowed to spend her holidays with the mother’s relatives, on the distinct under standing, however, that no attempt should be made to influence the religious belief of the child, who is to conform to the discilinc- of the Church of Rome. The case will probably be brought before the Full Court.

WILL OK THE LATE MR ORMOND, M. L (!, The will of the late Mr Francis Ormond, M.L.C., has been pioved in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The testator bequeaths to Mrs Ormond absolutely the contents of his dwelling-house, including (but not limited toy furniture, .plate, books, linen, pictures, carriages, horses, etc. He fdso gives to her absolutely EgoJee» House and grounds at Toorak. He also gives hor a lega.cy of L 7,000 and an annuity ofLS.OfIO. He directs the trustees to sell and invest the real and p*rconal property, and pay the following annuities To his adopted daughter ElizaJ beth Ann Gcydon, daughter of his cousin George Gordon, U00; his adopted son George Ormond Gordon, son of the said George Gordon, LSOO. He also gives the following legacies to Elizabeth Ann Gordon, an adopted daughter, L 5.000: Alice Bostoek, an adopted daughter, LI,000; George Ormond Gordon, adopted son, L 5.000; George Gordon, a cousin, L£,OQO; to his sisters-in-law Elizabeth Finlay and Hannah Rebecca Greeves, L 4,000; to Mary £err Gardner, his niece, wife of James Gardner, LS,OOCG to Adeline Nasmith, his niece, wife of Davi<J Nasmith, L 5,000 ; Robert Gillespie, of Melbourne, banker, LI,000; Alexander Murray Gardiueg, of Baangal, LI,000; Joseph Stokie, his fate overseer, LIOO. _ He leaves the following sums to charitable institutionsTo the Melbourne Hospital, L 5,000; the Melbourne Benevolent L5i00O; the Melbourne Protestant Orphan Asylum, L 5.000; the Melbourne Deaf and Dumb Asylum, L 5.000; the Melbourne Blind Asylum, the Melbourne

Sailors’ Homo, 1,3,000; the Melbourne Alfred Hospital, L 5.000; the Melbourne Sick Children’s Hospital, L 3.000; the Melbourne Ormond College, L 40.000; the Melbourne Working Men’s College, Ll0,000; the Geelong Hospital and Benevolent Asylum, L 5.000; the Geelong Protestant Orphan Asylum, L 5,000; the Ballarat Hospital, L 3.000 ; the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum, L 3 000; St. George’s Presbyterian Church, Geelong, LI,000; the Toorak Presbyterian Church, 1,1,000; the Hkipton Presbyterian Church, L 500: the Gordon Technical College, Geelong, LI,OOO.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890806.2.37

Bibliographic details

OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER., Issue 7978, 6 August 1889

Word Count
2,604

OUR AUSTRALIAN LETTER. Issue 7978, 6 August 1889

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