THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1919. THE MATAURA ELECTION.
Feebler opposition was never presented to any retiring member of Parliament than that which Mr G. J. Anderson is encountering in the Mataura constituency. Tho general level of tHo election oratory is not high. With very few exceptions, tho speeches are dull and uninteresting. A Scobie Mackenzie or a W. P. Reeves would be of inestimable value to any of the political parties at the present time. It is not only, however, that the three new aspirants in Mataura to seats in Parliament have had nothing to say that is either inspiring or entertaining. Lack of political, knowledgo and crudity of political views Have marked their speeches. Mr M'Dougall, who describes himself as an Independent Liberal, and who has had a great number of fantastic stories to tell the electors, gives a
general and unquestioning support to a policy of nationalisation of banking, shipping, insurance, iind coalmining. Ho gives liis support, also, in common with, wu .suppose, every other candidate in tho dominion, to a policy of closer settlement of the land. In connection, however, with his advocacy of i-lic subdivision of larpo holdings, he has bwn using figures which are completely misleading. A comparison, in tbo •first place, "of the reduction in tho areas, of the holdings in a period of 21 years with ;t reduction in a period of two years, is, on the face of it, unfitir to the present Administration. And it is rendered doubly unfair when the comparison omits any reference to the reduction which has been effected in the- number of holdings of the largest, size of ;:11. It is not from the Official Year Rook, from which .Air M'Dougnll professes to quote, that the figures given by him have been taken. H(i haw clearly relied upon another .supposed authority, which has manipulated the figures in the Year Book to suit its own partisan purpose, Mr A. M'Lachlan, who, as \iq modestly declares, is standing from ji sense of duty to .his country, is the official Labour candidate. That in itself should be sufficient to condemn his candidature. Judged by his election addresses, Mr M'Lachlnn does not subscribe fully to the. Labour programme. In particular, he expresses somo doubt about the effectiveness of n. policy of nationalisation of the mines in solving the labour question in so far as the coal industry is concerned. Ho does not think, either, that it is proposed by the. Labour Party to nationalise tho whole of the land at the present time. That, lie states, significantly, may come later on. It must necessarily come later on if the full objective of the party is to be realised. So, also, must come the destruction of private rights in property of all kind, including dwell-ing-houses. But, however much Mr M'Lachlan may seek to convey the impression that tlie Labour programme goes further than he is at present prepared to go, it is to be remembered that, if he got into Parliament, he would certainly have to submit to the of the extremists who will dominate the small group of Labour members. Mr Norman M'lntyro, an Independent Labour candidate for the sent, claims support on the ground, among others, that it is necessary that reliable and fearless men should bo returned to Parliament. The need of this may bo admitted. But \t ir, also necessary thnt the representatives of the people in Parliament should have n reasonable grasp of public affairs. When any candidate declares, as Mr M'lntyre does, that "tho great issue before the electors" is Sir James Allen's proposal "to send our boys to camp every year for four month. o .'". —a proposal which has never been submitted to Cabinet, and will never be carried into effect, Sir James Allen himself having modified it very materially— his sense of perspective may be held to be so distorted as to excite doubts about his "reliability," whatever may be said about his "fearlessness." Mr Anderson has a record of 11 years' useful service to his credit. Without making any pretensions to brilliance, he is a type of public man, broad-minded and progressive, that is Qertainly required at the present time. Moreover, Mr Anderson is not fettered by party 4ies of a kind that might prove highly inconvenient in the new House. He frankly states that it is his hope that a fusion of the best elements in the Reform, Liberal, and Moderate Labour parties may be effected. The accomplishment of such. a. fusion may prove the best I means of providing political stability within the next few years. If so, the great bulk of the people of the dominion would desire to see it brought about, j
THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Mn Massey's announcement of the intention of the Clovernment to issue at an early date <\ proclamation bringing into operation the legislation providing for an elective Upper Chamber is opportune but not surprising. Some of the candidates who are seeking election to Parliament—Labour candidates in particular—have been twitting the Government on the score of its failure to givo effect to its proposals to make the Legislative Council an elective Chamber. The reason for the delay has, however, been repeatedly explained. The Act providing that members should hold their seats in the Council by election, instead of by appointment or nomination, was passed in 1914 and -, originally was due to como into force in January, 1916. By legislation passed in 1915 this date was extended to September, 1917, and by further legislation passed in 1916 it was extended to January 1, 1920. Jt was one of the conditions of the formation of the National Government that the Legislative Council Act should remain in abeyance, and in abeyance, as provided for by amending legislation, it has remained accordingly. But the latest legislation on the subject, that of 1918, repealed the previous provision relating to the date upon which the Act should come into operation, and provided that it should be brought into forco on a date to bo appointed, by the Governor-general by proclamation and not less than a year after the issue of the proclamation. 'lhereforo, it now only rests with the Government to issue the proclamation to fix a definite term for the period of the suspension of the Legislative Council Act. But it has only been in the power of the Government to take this course- since the dissolution of the National Ministry. Tho condition to which wo havo referred, that tho operation of the Act should bfi suspended, ceased to be binding only when the National Government went out of office. Tho present announcement confirms previous authoritative statements that the Legislative Council would become an elective body in terms of the law within the near j future. It is to be recognised, of i course, that tho operation of the proclamation will only be. certainly effective if the Reform Government remains in power. The Liberals opposed the passago of the legislation providing that the Upper Houso should bo made an elective body, and it is not to be supposed that if they should have the opportunity of forming a Government further legislation would not bo passed repealing tho law in terms of which the proclamation will be issued. The issue of the proclamation; it is to be added, will not prevent the Reform Government, if in office, from giving Parliament an opportunity of reviewing the general question of Legislative Council Reform. Probably oue of the
points to be considered in that event would be that of the desirability of maintaining a certain nominative element in the Council as aj.'aiiir.t the proposal to make, the whole body elective. In the meantime, however, Mr Massey's intiniiUion dissipates any suggestion that the Reform Government is other than in earnest about giving effect to tho Legislative Council Act of 1914.
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THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1919. THE MATAURA ELECTION., Otago Daily Times, Issue 17803, 9 December 1919
THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1919. THE MATAURA ELECTION. Otago Daily Times, Issue 17803, 9 December 1919
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