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POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7998, 29 August 1889
[Prom Ocr Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, August 2S. Joftinss. A uew regulation lias been issued to-night directing that any strangers wishing to Bee Ministers during the sitting of the House must make application through the Government whips. This is the outcome, I understand, of the incessant manner in which Ministers have been bored by Mr Jellicoc, counsel for the prosecution in the police perjury cases. Last evening ho took possession of the Cabinet room, and there he remained for a considerable time, to the detriment of public business. The Chattels Transfer Bill, as passed by the House this evening, consolidates the present Acts relating to bills of sale, mortgages of stock, crops, and wool liens, and makes several important amendments. One of the principal alterations is to make securities which are given to secure pastoral advances bad if the grantor becomes bankrupt within four months after they are executed. Several alterations are made as to the branding of cattle, sheep, etc., to prevent frauds being committed. The recent decision in re Somerville, which was decided by the last sitting of the Court of Appeal, and which is considered unsatisfactory law, is dealt with by the following new section (introduced by the Committee to whom the Bill had been referred, and of which Mr Downie Stewart was chairman):—" Whereas doubts havo arisen as to the true meaning of section 12 of the Chattels Securities Act, 1880, be it enacted that every mortgage under such section already executed, or which shall hereafter be executed before the coming into operation of the other provisions of this Act, to secure payment of an advance or loan made at the time of the execution of any such mortgage shall be deemed to have been good in respect of such advance or loan notwithstanding tho bankruptcy of the mortgagor within sixty days of the execution of such mortgage ; provided that this section shall not affect any legal proceedings now pending or any dispute under an existing bankruptcy." The Bill also removes doubts as to securities filed under one part of the present Act when they should have been filed under other parts. The Bill also further contains forms and a large number of implied covenants, the object being to shorten the length of bills of sale. The following measures passed their final stages in the Legislative Council this afternoon :—Offences Against the Person Act Amendment, Waipu Validation, Certificate of Title Issue Empowering, Port of Thames Definition. The Attorney - General and Hons P. Buckley and Dr Pollen were appointed to confer with managers appointed by the House on the subject of the Criminal Evidence Bill, Messrs Hungerford and M'Kay, who were the contractors for the construction of the north breakwater in Greymouth Harbor, lately petitioned the House for compensation for damage sustained through the destruction of part of their works and machinery by the German steamship Gerda, which was wrecked on the spot. They estimated their loss at L' 2,400. The Public Petitions (A to L) Committee report that the petitioners' claim will be equitably met if the Government contribute LI,OOO towards making good the loss. The Premier has promised Mr Fish that if time will not permit of the introduction of the Workmen's Lien Bill this session it shall be one of the first measures introduced next session. The Chattels Transfer Bill passed through Committee in the House this evening, was read a third time, and passed. Several hon. members expressed the opinion that the measure was a decided improvement on the existing law, and would prove of immense benefit to commercial people. The Auckland members having been unsuccessful in their efforts to get an alteration effected in the incidence of taxation, Mr R. Thompson has given notice to ask the Premier whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill early next session dealing with the question of an income tax The brewers' interest has found a champion in Mr Seddon, who intends inquiring whether the Premier will during the recess make a careful inquiry into the working of the Beer Duties Act with a view to amending its provisions so as to prevent it harassing the brewers and publicans, and also with a view if possible to its abolishment at an early date. Sir John Hall, Mr Downie Stewart, and the Minister of Lands have been appointed manageis on behalf of the House to confer with the Legislative Council on the question of the Eire and Marine Insurance Companies Bill. Several hon. members have received communications urging them to stick to the Bill with the new clauses added at the instance of Sir J. Hall and Mr W. D. Stewart. The Education Estimates
came under review late to-night, and gave rise to considerable discussion. The transfer of the grant for school buildings to a sepa rate vote, under the control of the Minister, was warmly criticised; but Ministers explained that its object was simply to bring under one head the statement of all expenditure on permanent public buildings. Mr Saunders complained of the management of the central department, and suggested that it would be sufficient if the Minister simply had a olerk, and the control of education were left to the boards, who knew what they were about and took an interest in the question. Mr Goldie declared that instead of the Publio Works Department being abolished, as had been promised, its officers had simply been distributed amongst the other departments, and thirteen of them had found refuge in this new department.—Mr Fulton pointed out that only part of last year's building vote was spent. —The Minister undertook that the whole of this year's vote would be allocated. He explained that there was no interference with the expenditure of boards on buildings, but already the smaller boards had been glad to avail themselves of the services of the new branch of the department in regard to plans.—The travelling expenses of members of boards were the subject of a great deal of aimless diecussion.—Captain Russell objeoted to the alteration of the building vote and withholding the money from those who needed it most.—Mr Wilson suggested that the Government Bhould encourage the formation of cadet corps in connection with schools, in order to teach the colonial youth discipline.—After two hours' discussion, the vote for the head office (L.2,085) was agreed to. Next came L 334,750 for publio schools. Mr Goldie moved to reduce the item of L 4.000 towards the cost of inspection by LI,OOO. He was, however, scarcely supported, for the motion was negatived by 2G to 4. The' vote was then agreed to. The Minister of Education stated to-night ! that he will endeavor in the recess to formulate a soheme for modelling the high school system, to be placed before the House next session. Customs Prosecutions. In asking this afternoon whether the Government intend to proceed against Messrs Bing, Harris, and Co., merchants, of Christchurch, Wellington, and Dunedin, to recover penalties for alleged frauds upon the Customs revenue committed by that firm in the month of February last, Mr Fisher entered at length into the history of the case to show that all his efforts to get proceedings for fraudulent entry instituted against Bing, Harris, and Co., in the Resident Magistrate's Court were resisted by the Customs officials, Instead of doing so and seleoting the strong cases, they allowed the firm to take the initiative in the Supreme Court upon the weak cases ; but even the jury found that in three cases there had been misdescription, so that penalties ought to have followed. Notwithstanding his position of Commissioner of Customs, he could not move the offioials to take action. He commented on the fact that small firms were remorselessly prosecuted, while wealthy and fashionable houses, which were " sweating " the woman and child life of Dunedin, were able to evade the Customs laws with impunity. It was a disgraoe to the Government that " that beauty Jackman " should remain in the service of the colony. He urged that the prosecutions should still be pressed in the cases where the jury had held that there was misdescription. The Premier thought the Customs officers
had shown a wise discretion, and a gentleman who had occupied the position of Commissioner of Customs should not make audi insinuations us Mr Fiaher had directed ■it the Civil Service. If the Customs officers sverf too 6trcrig for liim, and prevailed igainst the proper administration of the department, it was strange that Mr Fisher dad not complained to him (the Premier), seeing that it all happened in February last, before any difference arose in the Cabinet. At the outset the case looked unfavorable to the Crown Solicitor in Christ-church, who was allowed to consult Mr Joynt, who advised that the Government should allow the firm to take the case into the Supreme Court, so that the Crown would be simply acting on the defensive, and would be able to decide afterwards whether further action should be taken. All this took place while Mr Fisher was in charge of the department. The case was still before the Court, having been blocked by other work. After it was finally disposed of the Government would have to decide whether further proceedings Bhould be taken. He pointed out that the jury had found that there was no intention to deceive on the part of the firm. Mr Fisher, in reply, said he had used all Eossible means to induce the officials to act, ut had avoided open warfare with them. He had never been able to learn why his directions had not been carried out. August 29. Native Schools, The Education Estimates were under consideration until 3 a.m. The vote for Native schools was, by 18 to 17, reduced by LSO, as a direction to the Government to place these schools under the control of the education boards where possible, the Minister of Education having undertaken to do so. Ultimately the total vote of L 369.382 was passed with only this reduction, and another of LI as a protest against the improper manner in which the late Minister of Education paid L4OO for the Wellington School of Design. The Ward-Hlslop Incident. The Ward-Hislop Committee report to the Legislative Council to-morrow. I hear that, like the Committee of the Lower House, they will report completely vindicating Judge Ward's position. The Exhibition. With a view to inducing His Excellency to make Dunedin bis home during the Exhibition period, members are being sounded to ascertain what support would be given to a proposal to place LI,OOO on the Supplementary Estimates for a Governor's residence at Dunedin. Of course the Otago members are taking the initiative in the matter. A large number of Civil servants having expressed a desire to witness the Dunedin Exhibition, Mr M'Gregor, senior Ministerial whip, has been induced to give notice to ask whether the Government will arrange with the Railway Commissioners to enable the Civil servants of the colony wishing to visit the Dunedin Exhibition to travel free by rail. Responsible Government for Western Australia. On the Premier's motion, a select committee was appointed to report to the House what steps it is desirable to take to assist in the establishment of responsible government for Western Australia.
POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 7998, 29 August 1889
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