Roland for his Oliver.
Wo said the other day that the Legislative Council generally contained a sufficient number of able and conscientious members to keep what might be called the riff-raff in order. This, however, is not always the case, as was shown by the treatment of the Educational Franchise Bill by the Councillors about a week ago. This Bill has, in one shape or another, passed the House of Eepresentatives no less than seven times, and yet the Council had the temerity to throw it out again. The principal object of the measure was to abolish the cumulative vote at the election of School Committees. That provision was put in the Education Act for the benefit of the Roman Catholics, but everybody knows that they have never taken advantage of it, and most people know that it has for years been regarded as a very objectionable enactment. In the debate on the second reading of the Educational Franchise Bill Mr Richard Oliver delivered himself of some of the most preposterous nonsense ever heard in that House, which is saying a good deal. He said it was only ignorant clamor that objected to the law as it stood, and, forgetting altogether what he was and where he was, he went on to say that the question had been calmy debated in that House, and that he looked upon the constant introduction of the measure as an insult to the Council! Mr Oliver had thus, quite unconsciously, supplied the enemies of the Upper House with a strong argument for its abolition. The Legislative Council was never intended to exercise supreme authority over the will of the people. Mr Oliver is not so ignorant as not to know this, however, he may have forgotten it when he made that ludicrously absurd speech, But Mr Oliver has as essentially small mind,
which is no doubt the reason why he has an almost incredibly large opinion of himself and of his dignity as a Legislative Councillor ; and when even a chance majority of his fellows are found supporting his absurd pretensions, it is only too evident that the demand for the reform of the Upper House is not quite unreasonable. Only fancy High Mightinesses of the stamp of Mr Oliver being insulted by the representatives of the people sending up a Bill year after year to abolish what the public feel to be a mischevous practice. The insult, we should say ; is all on tho other side, though the speech of Mr Oliver would have been only amusing, or rather comical, and that in tho higest degree, but for its presumable effect on a number of Legislative Councillors likeminded with himself. But if this section of the Council can no longer be guided and controlled by the M‘ Leans and the Whitakers, steps must be taken to suppress their folly. Let us hope they will get their eyes opened without a violent remedy. It would be like breathing a butterfly ou the wheel to take measures against the vainglorious imbecility of those members of the Upper House who feel insulted because the other Chamber sends up tho same measure, and that a highly proper and necessary one, year after year ; but harsh measures are sometimes unavoidable, even when the subjects of them are beneath notice, but for the position in which they have been placed by accident or the irony of fate. The colony cannot afford to have tho upper branch of its Legislature made ridiculous, —‘ Southland Times.’
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Roland for his Oliver., Evening Star, Issue 7982, 10 August 1889, Supplement
Roland for his Oliver. Evening Star, Issue 7982, 10 August 1889, Supplement
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