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OUR SYDNEY LETTER

THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCES. The local Expeditionary Fovea* are filling up well, and training is being ener- , getically proceeded with. Whatever may be thought of, other points of the jiolicy oi: Labor, it must bo admitted that it* leading men seem to be heartily; pleased that they now have, an opportunity to demonstrate in the. 'most unequivocal inaiiner their loyalty to the Empire, and their determination to spare, no pains .to .aider energetic aid in this its time of trial. INVENTION AND CREDULITY. Less gratfying is the daily demonstration of the. mendacity of some people and the abject credulity of a, multitude of others. For nion! than a week sensational :nid circumstantial report... have been current to the effect that a tferman baker in a large way of business, with one or two other persons, had been detected giving information to tin* enemy by meant! of . wireless telegraphy, and that he had been summarily hanged by the military! It was useless to point- out ihat we aro still under civil und not under martiaj law, and that any such action would be, in the <.yo ol the" law, wilful murder. Even under martial law life in not taken except after trial by court-martial, and the military punishment is not hanging, but shooting. It was all of no -use. Pei-coiie of whose mental power one had teen in the habit of thinking much mure- highly would iepcat the story, and would brook no denial. *' It wa« really done. I had it ou the very l>est authority,'' was usually the reply. 'However, all doubts have been ;ot at Vest by the. insertion in the new-s----jnpers of an advertisement, signed by the persons caid to have been "dealt with," threatenin;.' with profcceution anyone who venture;; hencefoith to rcjieut the libellous statement, and adding the infmmation that they are British If such stores fttill iind circulation, it is sincerely to be hoped that prosecution will really follow. WHEAT. The farce of " fixing '* the price of all wheat at'a figure ridiculously below its real value in the world's market has _ at last come to an end. The proclamation has been withdrawn, to the extent that- all and sundry are now at liberty to deal m new wheat at any price on which they may be able to mutually agree, Yesterday, a truck-load of new wheat from Baau Baa, the first of the season, was publicly sold by auction at 4s 9d per bushel to very keen competition. And this although ;t is a penal offence to ask more than 4s 2d for old wheat, though the latter is intrinsically more valuable, on account of being drier, better seasoned, and ready for immediate milling. Even as regards new wheat, the paralysis caused- by the action of the Government has not been wholly removed- It stands in the way of the realisation of the crop. The wholesale dealers, who usually buy from farmers at this time, of the year, will do nothing till they know the intentions of the Government. They are willing to face the danger of market fluctuations from ordinary causes. But they are not prepared to take the risk of any future highhanded action of such a nature as that which was recently perpetrated. might undertake to pay tor the wheat at one price and then find their purchases forcibly seized at a much lower figure! The Commission say they will not be in a position to " fix " the price before next month. In the meantime, it seems that stagnation is to be the rule, and immense sums of money that would under ordinary circumstances be finding their way , into circulation are being withheld. And, j when " next month " comes, neither the Commission nor anyone else can show how I a value which, in tlie nature of the case, is always fluctuating from day to day and from week to week, can be satisfactorily ! "fixed" by arbitary procedure. Only as a war measure, and under desperate circumstances, it is claimed, can the intrusion of the "mailed fist" of confiscation into the delicate ramifications of commerce be justified or even paliiated. Fortunately, no .such conditions have been, <v are likely to be, experienced. MEETING THE MARKET. The salutary effects of meeting the market are evident in Lombard street just now. The State Treasurer' the. othar day obtained about a million from the sale of Treasury bills, maturing in 12 months, at a price which made the interest work out at about Si per cent. The, good ; fortune of the investors who were abje to get such liberal interest for a gilt-edged security promptly induced competition. It is- now stated that the demand for similar Treasury bills is so keen that similar sums could be borrowed at 4J per cent. Plenty of Australian Treasurers will be only too happy to "'meet the market " at this price, or even a higher figure. But Mr Holman is not particularly jubilant. Ho wishes that some other State had been the first to bridge the gap. It does not follow that this state of affairs will continue. j A PROMISING INDUSTRY. "Aye be stickin' hi a- tree. Jock. It'll lie growin' while ye're sleepin'." is th;: advice which the immortal Scott puts into tin* mouth of a dour old Scotch laird. Very good advice it is—as good for a thrifty nation as for a- thrifty individual. i New Zeala-nd is doing more in the way of tree-plantiuc than Australia. But neither is making lull provision for future needsMr Hutch-ins, l'.R.G.f?., a member of the British Science Association, is an enthusiast in forestry, and Jie has been telling us some home truths. lie says the Conimonwealtfi is paying about £IO,OOO a week for soft-wood timber which, ahe ought, to product: herself. In common with most of the rest of the civilised world, she is working towards an appalling timber famine, for the destruction of timber trees is going on apace, whilst comparatively little is being done in the way of conservation or planting. There is "a Forestry Department in this State, but its usefulness is woefully hampered by squabbles with the Lands Department. The ground which the forestry men think ought to be producing trees the lands men want for settlement, which means the-destruction of the trees. Mr Hutching "points out t|iat- little can be done to the purpose till the forest boundaries are definitely-marked out. and it is understood that they must not bo trespassed upon. But how is a member for a. district to withstand the pressure put on him by his poiist}tuents who want land? And how is the Ministry of the day to keep ifa position without the voles of "the -members 'in the House? Party government and efficient forestry secui to be But is it alwfys tp be so ? OFL¥ 36 MILES. Considerable surprise ha« been expressed that, after all ttiq talk, of {he Minister of Works about his energy and enterprise, only 36 miles of new wlway were opened ip th* last raihraj year. The ca.se is not quite so bad as it has been made to appear, for there has been a very eslienditure on dufijication work, which is]:

rjuit* as necessary as the opening of new lines. During the year 49 miles of this important -work* -were completed, and 125 miles are in hand. That is all right, as far as it goes. But it is very poof l consolation for men 1o whom promises which have not been fulfilled have been made, especially if, as. is the case ■with many of them, they have invested their scantv capital on the strength of the prospect thus held out. Xo member of the Ministry has indulged in such "spread-eagle" utterances as those of Mr Griffith, and in no'case 3ms such keen disappointment followed tlie speeches made from the stump. THE BAN REMOVED. Very'adverse comment was freely made on the fact that, at the very time that leading Labor politicians were making patriotic speeches in connection, with the celebration of Eight-hour Day the controlling body of the A.M.A., at Broken Hill, were forbidding! their band to play any patriotic airs. Even. -Ood Save the K:ug' as a concluding piece -was prohibited! The band thereupon refused to play at all until the ban should be removed. Some relief has been experienced in local Labor circles at the intelligence that a mass meeting of the A.M.A., held on Saturday last, rescinded ihe resolutjou passed by the controlling; body, and the popular programme of patriotic airs will more greet, the ears of expectant listeners. Obviously the rank and file of the A.M.A, arc not of the' same stamp an their leaders. October 15.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141026.2.37

Bibliographic details

OUR SYDNEY LETTER, Issue 15633, 26 October 1914

Word Count
1,447

OUR SYDNEY LETTER Issue 15633, 26 October 1914

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