Tues 31 March 1868
Our Melbourne correspondent writes that there appears to have been little progress made out of our political difficulty. Mr Riddell is said to have communicated with the Governor to the effect that he is not yet ready, and requires more time, which it is said his Excellency will give him, and that a message to that effect will be sent to the Speaker of the Assembly when Parliament will rise, to be, it is understood, called together on Tuesday week. It appears that Mr Riddell was wrong last week in writing to Mr M’Culloch and asking for an adjournment. Another account is, that Mr Riddell has all the offices filled but one, and that he is likely to meet the Assembly on Tuesday with a statement to that effect, or will meet the House with the Ministry formed. There is a determination to resist any further adjournment on the part of a portion of the ministerial supporters, and an acrimonious debate on the motion, if there is one, will in all probability take place. Until his Excellency formally opens Parliament it does not appear clear that there can be any debate, unless following the precedent set tho other day in connection with expressions of sorrow and sympathy with the Duke of Edinburgh, they hold a public meeting in tho chamber with the Speaker as chairman. As an indication of what is intended, a meeting is to be held of the electors of Collingwood at the Studley Arms hotel, at which the following resolutions will be proposed and no doubt carried:— “That the meeting observes with surprise and regret that the Duke of Buckingham has instructed his Excellency to refuse his official sanction to the Lady Darling grant being included in the Appropriation Bill, thereby unconstitutionally exercising the power of the Crown to influence the domestic policy of this country, which if carried into effect will be entirely subversive of popular representation and responsible government.” “That the country having so recently manifested its confidence in the policy of the M’Culloch Ministry, by electing such a large majority of representatives pledged to its support; this meeting is of opinion that the proposal to form a Ministry from the so-called ‘moderate men on both sides of the House,’ is a deliberate scheme to annul the expressed will of the people, and it is further of opinion, that it is the imperative duty of all honorable members in Parliament to maintain the privileges of the Assembly and the rights of the people, by refusing to grant supplies in any form other than that which shall secure to the Legislative Assembly the absolute control over the public finances.” The third and last resolution expresses an opinion that If Parliament is dissolved within twelve months, the constituents should pay the expenses of elections.
These resolutions speak for themselves and indicate the views of the extreme Ministerialists, or of that party which calls itself the “Loyal Liberal Association.”
It is hoped that this meeting will be the beginning of an agitation, and it is intended to strike the initial note. The other side, the Constitutionalists, make no sign, and as tho public does not move of its own accord, the sooner there is an association based on constitutional democracy and reform the better for the country. Like Mr Riddell the Constitutionalists are too respectable to do anything with energy, or to act at all until driven to it by events. As far as can be judged from expressions of opinion about town everybody is getting disgusted at nothing being done.
FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 1868.
In last Monday’s issue we published the programme of a new political society which it is proposed to establish, under the title of “The Loyal Liberal Association,” and we think all thoughtful working-men who took the trouble to read it must have seen at once that it was an affair with which they had nothing to do. The objects set forth in the programme are in themselves highly laudable, but the real object of the movement is not set forth at all. “To protect public opinion from the aggression of faction and monopoly” “to defend the right of the people to govern the country in such a manner as the majority determines, for the interests of all ; “to reform the Upper House, that it may become a moderating power in the state;” “to preserve loyalty and affection for the British throne and institutions ; “to protect the registry from fraud and faggot votes, and suggest the names of honest and intelligent men as representatives of the people “-these objects all most earnestly desire to promote who have the good of the country at heart. But there is no present need to get up a special organisation for the purpose. In so far as the objects enumerated in the programme have not already been attained, aII wise legislation will tend to secure them, and the enlightened and patriotic members of our community will use every election in which they take part as a means for their promotion.
But that the design of the organisation is not to promote these objects at all, but to elicit some expression of confidence in Messrs. M’CULLOCH and HIGNBOTHAM, appears plainly enough from the text of the programme, it is not the “aggression of faction and monopoly” in a general way that is to be resisted, but the Constitutional minority in the Legislative Assembly and the majority in the Upper House.
Reform of the Legislative Council is not so much the “object” of the association, as the subjugation of its members to the will of Mr. HIGINBOTHAM. “To consider and respect the opinions’ of minorities” is one of the “objects” set out in the programme ; but the only minority whose opinion the authors of the movement would respect is that notable one which consists of Captain COLE and his three supporters in the Upper House. The proposed new association is nothing better than an impudent attempt upon the credulity of the public-a scheme to stir, up an agitation on behalf of the present moribund Administration under transparently false pretenses. Even the name chosen for the new society is a rank hypocrisy, inasmuch as its promoters are now actively engaged in stirring up the people to rebel against the authority of the parent state, and in forcing on certain political action which, if persisted in, can have no other termination than the severance of our connexion with Great Britain. If any one doubts that this interpretation of the programme is justified, or that we misjudge the intentions of the promoters of the new association, let him recur to their manifesto and he will find in its every paragraph ample evidence in support of our view nakedly stated, as above, the objects of the society are unobjectionable, but the programme abounds in insidious suggestions and insinuations, which stamp it with the partisan character which we have ascribed to it. But viewing the matter altogether apart from party considerations, we must repeat that there is no need for the proposed new society. Some of the “objects” enumerated in its programme have been already secured in Victoria as fully as in any country in the world, while others are of a kind that cannot be attained by fitful effort–but will come of themselves–when the moral tone of the country has been elevated, and its political atmosphere purified. Reform of the Upper House has been an “object” with politicians of all shades of opinion for years past; to conserve political rights is the chief aim of the Constitutional party in the present struggle to protect public opinion, and respect the opinions of minorities, is exactly what the dominant party in the Legislative Assembly have failed to do during the past three years, and it is somewhat odd to find that set out as an object which the same party now professes such an earnest desire to attain.
What the country really requires to help it out of its difficulties, and to make the wheels of government run more smoothly in the future, is not a new political society, with false pretences and a hypocritical programme, but a little more disinterestedness and moderation on the part of individuals; a little more charity in judging those opposed to them, or to whom they are opposed; and a greater readiness to abate something of their opinion, or pride, or obstinacy, when the general good seems to require such a sacrifice.
Democracy is not favourable to the growth of modesty or self-distrust. It rather tends to the inflation of men’s vanity-to make every voter fancy that he is a statesman, every workman that he carries a Minister’s despatch-box in his tool basket. Not that this is in itself an evil. A political system that raises men in their own esteem, and gives them importance in their own eyes, not only strengthens the community among which it is in operation, but tends to refine and elevate its members. The self-conceit which it also engenders will disappear under the teachings of experience, if integrity and sound sense are characteristics of the people among whom it appears that our own people possess these qualities there can be no doubt; and if they will only exercise a little moderation and thoughtfulness, and learn to distinguish honest politicians from charlatans, they will soon put the country’s governing machinery in gear again, and without the aid of a new political association of doubtful parentage and with equivocal designs.
Argus, Mon 13 April 1868
“It was stated in this journal,” says the Ballarat Courier, “the other day, that one gentleman in Melbourne had subscribed £1,000 to the Loyal Liberal Reform Association, just started in Melbourne. As a pendant to that statement, we may now inform our readers that the donor of that magnificent sum was Mr. Ambrose Kyte. Amongst the other contributors appears the name of Mr. Rolfe, who has presented the association with a cheque for £100.”
15 April 1868
Mr Ambrose Kyte requests us (Argus) to
state that there is no foundation for the
story that is goiug the .round of the country papers, to the effect that he has given a very large.donation £1000) to the ” Loyal Liberal Association.” He has, in fact, not been asked to subscribe to any such institu tion, and has not done so.