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[From Our Parliamentary Reporter,}

WELLINGTON, September 27,

Mr Ward's Sent,

The outcome of the Opposition caucus really was as a first step to throw the onus of taking action on tho Premier, for which purpose Captain Russell will to-morrow ask nim whether ho is prepared to take any action; if not, or if Mr Seddon’a reply be unsatisfactory, the Leader of the Opposition will then propose as a question of privilege (which must be dealt with without delay) that the Awarua seat be declared vacant. A sharp debate is expected. I understand that there were two opinions mainly discussed at tho caucus. Mr George Hutchison, who is a leading lawyer, expressed himself confident that the seat was vacant, and that the proper course was to move for the issue of a new writ, or that the matter should bo referred to a committ’e of privilege. Oj tho other hand, Mr Scobie Mackenzie thought that the difference of opinion as to the meaning of the section of the Electoral Act dealing with this question ought not to be overlooked, and that the best and fairest way to deal with the matter would bo for the House to pass a resolution referring the interpretation of the section lo a Judge of the Supreme Court. It was objected that there was no power to do this, but Mr Mackenzie contended that Ilia Go-vernor-in-Council could call in the assistance of the Judges on any matter of law.

Packing Committees. _ Much dissatisfaction is felt iu Opposition circles at what is described as the scandalously unfair nature of the sessional committees proposed to be set up, there being an enormous preponderance of Government followers on all of them. There will bs some plain talking on the matter when the motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders to enable the committees to be set up conies on for consideration. Found Ills Place nt Inst. Mr Crowther (member for Auckland) attended the Opposition caucus yesterday. This is taken as an indication that the hon. gentleman, who during the greater portion of last Parliament was regarded as a railsitter, has at last decided lo nail his colors to the mast. He was augled for by both sides, and was invited to both the Government and the Opposition caucus. Making Terms. It is reported that an assurance has been given from the right quarter that, should the Liberal party validate the Awarua seat, the ex-Treasurer will not bs asked to rejoin the Government, despite the Hon. John M'Kenzie’s speech at Invercargill.

Attitude of the Independents.

There seems to be little hope of the Independents combining with the Left Wiug. The former have a painful recollection of Mr G, W. Russell’s double dealing in 1895, and will not again place themselves in a like position. Tho probabilities are that the small band of Independents, while acting the part of the candid friend, will support the Government on test issues. September 28. The Dunedin Vacancy. When the House meets this afternoon the vacancy for Dunedin City will ba declared and the writ ordered to issue forthwith. It is expected that tho election will taka place in about three weeks’ time. A Loan Wanted for Light Railways. Applications have been received by the Government from various parts of the colony for light railways, the amount already totalling two and a-half millions sterling. It is certainly not a hopeful outlook. Personal. The member for Awarua aud Mr Guinness (Chairman of Committees) arrived by the Monowai this morning. The steamer had a pleasant trip from Lyttelton, her time from the wharf being under twelve hours. Elective Executive. The supporters of the Elective Executive system are not so numerous in the present Parliament as in the last one. Major Steward, however, intends reintroducing the Bill, which he will submit to a meeting of members favorable to it, with a view of seeing where amendment is desirable. Dnucdiu Railway Station. _ Mr Scobie Mackenzie is drawing the attention of the Minister of Railways to the inadequacy of accommodation at the Dunedin Railway Station, and the consequent danger to the travelling public, and asking if he will take the necessary steps to remedy the evil. Congratulating the Premier. In congratulating the Premier on the honors recently conferred upon him during his trip to the Mother Country, Captain Russell said that although they bad on many occasions differed, he was glad to say their political differences had never caused an interruption of private friendly relations. He differed from those democrats who did not regard the bestowal of titular distinctions as a good thing for a community. He wished the Right Hon. Mr Seddon many years of prosperity and happiness.

The Premier said that he felt deeply indeed the compliment just paid him. He appreciated fully the honors bestowed upon him in the Mother Country, and only trusted that by devoting his best energies to the good of the people of this country and to the great Empire to which we belonged he would prove to those who had bestowed the honors that he was worthy of them. Like the Leader of the Opposition, he had never derided the honors conferred by Her Majesty upon deserving subjects who had devoted time and attention to the welfare of the people.

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10431, 28 September 1897

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POLITICAL GOSSIP. Issue 10431, 28 September 1897

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