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The Evening Star FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1897., Issue 10434, 1 October 1897
The Evening Star FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1897.
The proceedings from the first to the appointment of a Select Tlie Awarua Committee to consider and Committee, report whether the seat of the Hon. Mr Ward for Awarua is vacant should be a warning to the Leader of the Opposition and his party not to concede one inch to the Prime Minister in any matter of importance. We should have thought chat the manner in which the House was jockeyed into granting extension of Supply in the April session of this year, and the misrepresentations persistently •. made - by the right honorable gentleman as to the understanding arrived at, would have been an object lesson for the future; but Captain Russeu, appears incapable of realising the peculiar moral twist of Mr Seddon, and seemingly gives credit for straightforwardness and candor which are 'hardly his charac: teristics. The constitution of the Committee is Buch that the question at issue is hardly likely to be decided on its merits. Not only do the Ministeriafists cumber five to three which ensures a Ministerial chairman —but 'most of them are strong partisans, and they .will simply follow Mr Sedbgn, is
sheep do the Ml - wether. Even if the distinct disqualification of blind partisanship be ignored, can it be reasonably considered that the majority of the members nominated on behalf of the Ministry are otherwise qualified 1 . They are, perhaps, better on the whole than the first selection intimated, but that is not saying much. The three Opposition "members are good, so far as they go, but their power on the Committee can be little beyond recording a protest against a strictly party report, unless it should happen that Mr Montgomery may once more show his independence of mind. But with Mr Seddon as chairman of the Committee it can be foretold that the report of the majority, will be just as he wants it. Should the report be to the effect of setting at naught the letter and spirit, of" the statute, it will certainly not bo adopted by the House without strong opposition and a debate which, whatever the result, must i tend to lower still further the prestige of Ministers aud discredit them with the country. There is the possibility, but we hardly think a probability, that the Committee may present a colorless report, declaring themselves incompetent to judicially decide a purely legal point in the interpretation of the law. It would be unlike Mr Seddon, however, to forego the "bird in the hand," through his absolute control of the Committee, for the one very much " in the bush " dependent on it 3 capture upon the opinions of the Supreme Court Bench—the "Tory Judges," as Mr John M'Kenzie, with execrable taste, once termed them. The presumption decidedly.is, from what has up to this time transpired, that Ministers are determined that their late colleague shall retain his seat, whatever may be the law on the matter, and, on the pretext that the Awarua constituency elected him by a large majority with the full knowledge of his position, they will except him from the operation of the intended legislation. They may not improbably, in concession to public opinion, propose for the prevention in future of any uncertificated bankrupt being eligible for election to the House. This, we are disposed to believe, is the Ministerial idea of the solution of the difficulty. It would have been, we are convinced, very much better in every way if the Opposition Leader, instead of parleying with the Prime Minister, who, in tactics and diplomacy, can (to use a vulgar colloquialism) buy and sell him over again, had taken the bull by the horns and raised the whole question in the House at once by taking the vacancy in the representation of Awaruaas known,and moving for the issue of a new writ. There does not appear to be any Standing Order of the House of Representatives as to the proceedings to be taken on the vacancy of a seat, so the practice of the House of Commons must be taken as the rule. Reference to ' May's Parliamentary Practice' shows that " when the House is "sitting and the death of a member, his " elevation to the peerage, or other cause "of vacancy is known, the writ is moved "for by any member, and on being "Boconded by another Mr Speaker is "ordered by the House to issue his "warrant for a new writ for the place " represented by the member whose seat is "thus vacated." What constitutes a vacancy is so clearly laid down in the English law that the question never seems to have arisen in the House of Commons, except in some recent cases, where members, having succeeded to peerages, desired to retain their seats in the Commons. We would especially draw attention to the complete exoneration of Sir Maueice O'Rorke from having, as has been more than hinted at in some quarters, neglected his duty in not taking cognisance of Mr Ward's bankruptcy, and not refusing to allow him to be sworn in and take his seat. When Parliament is in session the Speaker has no power or functions in regard to a vacancy, and cannot issue his warrant for a new writ except by order of the House. When a vacancy occurs during a recess, the Speaker is authorised to issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Writs without the immediate authority, of the House, but he is required to be fully satisfied as to the vacation of the seat; if there is any doubt, he is required to reserve the question for the decision of the House. According to Mat, if any doubt should arise concerning the fact of vacancy, "the order for the new writ " would be deferred until the House was in " possession of more certain information." A curious case occurred so long ago as 1765, where a new writ was ordered for Devizes in the room of Mr Willey, deceased. The day after it was doubted whether he was dead, and he proved to be very much alive ; so that a supersedeas to the new writ had to be forthwith made out.
The paper read by Mr Snowball at the _ Sanitary Institute last night in Cattle. ? ealt Wltn > tnier «««> a subject of the greatest importance to the community, and a subject which, we are pleased to note, is exciting considerable interest in this Colony and elsewhere. We refer to tuberculosis in cattle, which, as is now well known, is communicable to man. That a large number of people consume milk containing tubercles cannot be doubted, and the person whose system is not in a healthy condition may fall a victim to the disease. Cases, indeed, occur now and again where the disease attacks people in comparatively good health, the symptoms sometimes manifesting themselves in some part of the body other than the lungs. It is of paramount importance, therefore, that the community should take a lively interest in a subject which so deeply concerns their welfare. The erection of city abattoirs was a most important step, as it will be the means of giving the veterinary inspector the power to inspect all meat intended for consumption in the City and suburbs. By the remarks which Mr Snowball made at last night's meeting it was clearly shown that owners of cattle may, quite innocently, send to market meat that is not only unfit for human consumption, but absolutely dangerous, to human life. The importance of the subject cannot, be over-estimated, affecting, as it does, all classes of the community, and the Government cannot be urged too strongly to adopt every means possible to prevent the spread of disease through the medium indicated in Mr Snowball's address.
The Evening Star FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1897., Issue 10434, 1 October 1897
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