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POLITICAL GOSSIP.

[fttoM Our Tabuamhntaby Reporter.] WELLINGTON, October 1. :•., Advanced a Stage. In moving the second reading of the Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks Act Amendment Bill the Minister of Educa-. tion claimed that it was purely.a, machinery measure.* He asked the Council to. formally pass the second reading, on the understanding that he would givea full explanation in committee—Several members objected to this course, and the debate was. adjourned till next sitting day. ! The Speakership of the Council. That a. contest will take place for the Speakership of the Council next Wedncs- : day Js certain. So far, Dr Grace signified his: willingness to be placed in nomination, but if ; he does a dose contest is anticipated. Mr Oliver is also mentioned. As previously stated, the Hon. H.' J. Miller has strong claims to the office, having filled the cbair for five years, Some of the Radical members, however, are averse to his reappointment on account of his. having class year given his casting vote against the second reading of the Chinese "immigration Bill. This was a blunder, as the invariable rule at that. stage is that the casting „vote shall not be exercised to stifle discussion. On the other hand it is contended that because of a single mistake Mr Miller's otherwise capital record should entitle him to a further term in the chair. The rules adopted for the election provide that the Speaker shall be chosen by ballbt; that while this is proceeding the door a of the Council Chamber shall be locked; that strangers shall be ordered to withdraw; and that prior to the election there shall be a call of the Council. Each member is in the first instance to vote for three members. The names of the three highest candidates are declared, and at the second ballot only two of these can be voted for, and the final ballot is to lie between the two members whosecured the highest votes on the second occasion. In 1892 five members had to be voted for in the first instance, and 'the number of ballots led to confusion!;'and did not work out satisfactorily. The present- means of determining the will of the Council has certainly the merit of simplicity. ,( Gambling at Bazaars,, etc.

The eternal art union and church bazaar question came up in the Legislative Council yesterday afternoon by.- a motion by Mr Jennings that the Government should take Into consideration the advisability of amending the y . Gaming and Lotteries Act in the direction of allowing properly registered or properly constituted bodies, known'asfriendlysocieties, eight-hour leagues, trade unions, and also bodies registered under the' Unclassified Societies' Registration Act, to have art unions for the purpose of distributing useful articles other than what were termed works of- art. For many years past various bodies had, he said, been in the habit of having art unions, but reoent proaeoutions on the part of the police had caused much consternation among these bodies. He claimed that the work of friendly societies, fire brigades, etc., should receive the consideration of members of that Chamber, and concluded by a reference to gambling in the mining market, wbioh • went unchecked.—The Minister of Education said that the Government did not look with much favor on any proposal which would extend any further means by which gambling would be encouraged. He admitted that the term "work of art" was a very elastic one, and said that the churches were the biggest offenders in matters' of technical breaohes of the law and in the means resorted to for "raising the wind."—Mr R. J. Reeves moved as an amendment that the Government should be asked to repeal the Gaming and Lotteries Act.instead of merely amending it.—Mr Pinkerton characterised the Act as a perfect farce. It was evaded - every day.—Mr Oliver spoke strongly against church bazaars, while Mr Jones said that people who went to church bazaars expected to be swindled.' Holding that it was a reasonable \ thing to dispose of works of art by art union, he would oppose the motion.—The amendment was lost on a division by 26 to 6, and the motion withdrawn by leave, its proposer being satisfied with the matter having been fully ventilated. Awarua Again. The anticipated heated debate on the position of the elect of Awarua did not eventuate, though there was an occasional display of party feeling. The "point"was taken out of the proceedings by the declaration at the outset of Sir R. Stout,. Mr G. Hutchison, and Mr Fisher that they wished their names withdrawn from submission as members of the Privilege Committee. It was, of course, over the personnel of the Committee that the fight was to take place. After some sparring between the Leader of the Opposition and the Premier as to what had taken place between them as to the names to be submitted to the House, Messrs Scobie Mackenzie, J. Allen, and Carncross urged the passing of a short Bill amending the Elections Petitions Act, so that the Governor-in-Council might refer matters in dispute to the Supreme Court judges, as was done in Canada;— The Premier was severely taken to task by Messrs Pirani and Taylor for suggesting that they had been in collusion with the Leader of the Opposition .on ■ the' question. Both hon. gentlemen denied that there had been any intrigue. All they had done was to openlyi look over the list of suggested names of Committee, and even the Premier's watchful eye would not- restrain them in future from such a course.,—Mr Graham said that having given his sanction to nomination he would not ask leave toi withdraw his name, as had the other three gentlemen. To' |do so would savor of fear and cowardice. While not wishing to displace Mr Duncan he would allow his name to go to the vote.—Speaking with warmth, Mr Monk claimed that the member for Awarua being a bankrupt his seat was vacant, and the Premier, as guardian of the privileges of the House, was wanting in-his duty in not calling attention to the: fact that there" was a stranger in the House. He declared emphatically that had the case been one on the Opposition side that course would have been adopted.—The Minister of Lands contended that both, branches of the Legislature.had determinedly' set their faces against retrospective legislation;.and to refer the Awarua seat to a judicial tribunal went in that direction. The Committee should be set up, and they should-look- to the interests of the,Awarua electors.—tAfter two hours' discussion Captain Russell's motion for the substitution of Mr Graham's name for that of Mr Duncan was negatived by 37 to 26. The division—the first of the sessionwas a, purely party one. This Bettled the constitution of the Committee, as follows: Messrs Joyce, Guinness, Montgomery, Duncan, Russell, Rolleston, J. Allen, and the Premier. . '

. Qn the motion being put to the House, Mr Ward rose and.in temperate language, which was in marked contrast to his speech of 1895, when he retired from the Treasury benches, explained his position. In reference, to the Registrar's action fin not sending to. .Mr. Speaker notice of his bankruptcy, he said he had himself sent his resignation to the Speaker-direct some days before filipg his schedule. *He emphatically repudiated having personally sought sympathy or support from members.' He would have voluntarily retired'from Parliament for I At least some time "to ""come" had-it not 1 been for ■ the • set: made against him,

amongst; others by representatives of other parts of the oolony. Till this question of his eligibility was decided he did not intend to speak or vote, in the House, but his constituents having, .exercised their undoubted right in electing him to Parliament';he would otherwise endeavor to guard their, interests.—Messrs Wright, Fraser, and M'Lean contended that sufficient had been shown to prove that the matter, would be dealt with in a party spirit, and urged that the whole motion should be .negatived, with a view to permitting steps to be taken- whereby the question could be relegated to a judicial tribunal. The crucial division was then taken, the motion being carried by 36 to 27. The following was the division list:— ■ Ayes.—Messrs E. G. Allen, Oadman, Carroll, Duncan,. Field, Flatinan, Gilfedder, Graham, Guinness, Hall-Jones, Hogg, Holland, Houston, Hutcheson, Joyce, Kaihu, J. M'Kenzie, Meredith, MUlar, M»ls, Morrison, O'Meara, O Regan, Parata, Pirani, Seddon, Smith, Stevens, m ™ ard > Symes, Tanner, Taylor,' R. Thompson, 1. Thompson, Wilson. Noes. Messrs J. Allen, Bollard, Brown, Buchanan, . Carson. Crowther," Fraser, Heke, Hemes, Hunter, Hutchison, Kelly, Lang, Lethbndge.Lewis, M'Guire, M'Lean, Massey, Monk, t °.?J e k„ Richardson, Rolleston, Russell, Stent. J. \Y. Thomson, Wason. " ■ • • . The Order of Reference is as follows :—"As a _ matter of privilege, that a select committee consisting of eight members be appointed to consider: and report whether under the existing law the seat of the Hon. Mr Ward for the electoral district of Awarua is vacant, and whether the law should be amended and in what direction, and what course should be adopted under existing circumstances?" The impression is that the matter will ultimately find its way before a judicial tribunal, that being the proper means of settlement. Thiß was the view which Mr Scobie Mackenzie ventilated, and'he showed that provision for the settlement of like disputes existed in Canada. The Left Wing supported the Premier's resolution for the reference of his motion to the Privilege Committee, but if the report brought "up is not considered satisfactory they will support an amendment in the direction indicated.

The Address-in-Rcply.

The debate was continued by Mr M'Guire, who alleged that the disorganisation of the police force was entirely due to interference by the Government. The Minister of Lands' want of knowledge, combined with his obstinacy, had caused a loss to the oolony of thousands of pounds. He dealt elaborately in condemnation of the Minister's land polioy. —Mr T. E. Taylor said that muoh had been heard about the Premier's inaccuracies, but from the Premier these were irresistible. He hoped that in the Mining Bill a check would be placed upon the haste with which the Government were alienating our mineral lands to syndicates. On the university question he said that the Government had given Canterbury College an utterly absurd system of government, and he would try and see that in the proposed Wellington University Bill the control of the institution should be in more democratic bands. If the Banking Bill made no provision for the dismissal of the president he would try and have that provision inserted. The old age pension scheme was advocated as a Government measure throughout the polony in December, 1896, and if the Government disappointed thousands of old people for another two years it would be an act of great cruelty. The Legislative Council was fast becoming a dumping ground for worn-out politicians, and ho would enter a vigorous protest against the corrupt act of the Government in appointing the last three members. The question of the unemployed had not yet been solved, yet not a word of it was mentioned in the Speech. The problem of the elderly unemployed was a serious one, and the Liberal party, if they were to continue in power, must grip that problem and solve it.—Mr J. Allen said it had been urged by some of the previous speakers that the Speech contained no policy. He differed from that, because it disclosed a continuation policy—a policy of charlatanism. Asked to explain ins meaning, Mr that a charlatan was a babbler and a tattler, a mountebank, a quack, a pretensionist, and an impostor; all these attributes more or less applied to the opening Speech. As one who had had considerable practical experience of the volunteer force, he declared that it wa3 in as bad a condition as ever it was, simply from the fact that corruption and political influence were undermining what really should be a good department of the State service. He condemned the bad ammunition supplied.to the volunteers, and said that the success of the Bisley team was due to the encouragement given them in the past. Touching on the land question, he said that, in spite of the boasted increase of the settlement of the land, rents and licenses during the past five years had decreased by £40,000. Some explanation on this point was called for. Could they be called on to respect and honor a Government who insulted the judges of the Supreme Court, or who had demeaned themselves by going about the country trying to keep the Opposition members out of Parliament ? Or could they respect and honor a Government whose Premier, as a member of the Assets Board, had assisted to sell the Bushy Park Estate to the sons of one of his colleagues ? Land settlement had been one of the main planks in the Government policy, but it had been a mere shibboleth to charm the settlers. The experimental land legislation of the Minister of L*nds had been very costly, as the various forfeits and surrenders must show. . The rabbit question was a serious one in Otago, and the settlers there had for years looked vainly tor reform with regard to rabbit legislation. In conclusion he expressed the hope that in dealing with the measures outlined in the Speech some would be dealt with summarily, and that members would not be asked to waste their.

time on trivial Bills which it was never seriously intended to place on the Statute Book.—The debate was continued by Messrs O'Regan and Hemes. Indictment of the Police. Most serious charges against the police force were made by the junior member for Christchurch, who disclosed quite a sufficient prima facie case to render a commission of inquiry necessary. As the damning catalogue of crime was unfolded members looked aghast, and the Defence Minister evidently chafed under the castigation concerning the department under his cpntrol. The details given of instances of Sunday trading almost led to the impression that the hon. gentleman had assumed the role of a private detective, • "lean prove that in Speight's Brewery atDunedin constables on night duty spend hour after hour, to the negUct of their duty, while they are supposed to be protecting the property of the citizens. The whole police force, from beginning to end, is in a condition of utter demoralisation. The appointment of a new Commissioner is not the remedy for the condition of things I have been dealing with."—An extract from Mr T. E. Taylor's speech. Tlie left Wing's Beitc \oir. Rumor hath it that Mr Fisher was attacked furiously at the Government caucus by Mr Pirani and others, who objected to his going on the Privilege Committee, The junior member for Wellington left the caucus, declaring that he could not live in the same room with Mr Pirani for five minutes. The liquor laws. Cabinet is to consider whether an amending Liquor Bill will be introduced this session. '■.!■■■ The Premier told a deputation from the

Alliance last night that his desire from the beginning had been that there should be an impartial snd fair carrying out of the licensing law. He admitted that there had been laxity, but he hoped that that cause of complaint would be removed after the arrival of the new Commissioner of Police. The Premier also told the Alliance deputation that he would do his best to assist in repressing and stopping the sale of liquor to the Natives of the Baratongan Gronp. Jottings. As a rule Mr Seddon, when he puts on his big boots, manages-to get his own way, but in one respect he was less successful than usual yesterday. When the Left Wing intimated in plain terms that they would not at,any price have Mr, Fisher on the Privilege Committee Mr Seddon indulged in the dire threat of resignation, but this did not move the irreconcilables, and so. the junior member for Wellington had to be sacrificed. ".■, .

While the first division of the session was taking place in the Upper House yesterday afternoon it was found that the hourglass, which had rested in repose for so long, was averse to doing its work. The sands of time did not run as swiftly-as they should, and every eye of the legislators was riveted on the reluctant grains. At last it seemed that the time machine had stopped altogether, and the Clerk gallantly came to the rescuo and gently tapped the potent glass. Under this heroic treatment the sands of time started again on their journey, and the business of the colony proceeded. The administration of the police force was very sharply critioiscd by Mr T. E.Taylor last night. The Satherley case, now exercising the minds of the people of Blenheim, was said to be of sufficient importance to have warranted the retirement of the Defence Minister from the position he occupies in the Government. He (Mr Taylor) had never read of anything during the past seven years which showed more incompetence in the conduct of any department than had been exhibited by the present Minister. The Left Wing and a number of the Government following were inclined to negative the resolution for the appointment of the Privilege Committee in the House, but (not unreasonably) did not want to affront the Government, seeing that Captain Russell had originally agreed to the setting up of the Committee. The probabilities are that the Committee will recommend the House to refer the matter for decision to the Judges on th« lines of the Canadian Act, which Mr Scobie Mackenzie referred to in the House yesterday.

"Make it a policy measure and get Ministers to put their big boots on, and you can carry anything you like in this House." Thus Mr T. E. Taylor, replying to an interjection from the Treasury benches concerning the Old Age Pensions. Bill. Mr Taylor says that the senior member for Dunedin's castigation of the Piemier for his interference at the elections was well deserved. That interference did a great deal to discredit the Liberal party, and it should be the experience of a lifetime. There was rather a dramatic scene at the Governinent caucus yesterday with Mr Taylor, in which he declared his intention of moving an amendment to the Address condemning the administration of the Government in strong terms. But although the hon. gentleman scathingly criticised the Ministerial administration in the House he did not move any adverse amendment. A neat point was made by Mr Felix M'Guire in the course of a dissertation upon the senior member for Wellington. That member's remark that the wearing of a badge or title was the mark of a courtier or a flunkey Mr M'Guire quoted, and with a glance at the Opposition benches remarked : " Well, sir, when I look round this hall I see some that deserve to bo so decorated."

Petitions containing 600 signatures praying for the construction of a light railway from Dunedin to Otago Heads have been presented to both branches of the Legislature. " The Legislative Council is fast becoming a dumping ground for worn-out politicians " says Mr Taylor ; and at the proper time he will enter a vigorous protest against the corrupt act of the Government in making the last three appointments to that Chamber. •A'week's leave of absence on "urgent private business " is being asked for on behalf of the Hon. Mr Larnach.

Sir R. Stout has given notice of the introduction of a Divorce Bill, a Criminal Code Act Amendment Bill (No. 2), and a Beque3t Limitation Bill.

The Public Trustee has been summoned to show cause why he is unable to pay Sir W. Buller's costs in the Horowhenua matter.

The Premier told a deputation from the Women's Christian Temperance Union that the Government would not give a subsidy to rescue homes and girls' clubs as means for checking the evil of juvenile immorality. There was no power at present to prevent the overcrowding of homes in the city.

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Bibliographic details

POLITICAL GOSSIP., Issue 10434, 1 October 1897

Word Count
3,314

POLITICAL GOSSIP. Issue 10434, 1 October 1897

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