Political agitation

4 April 1868

The prospectus of the Loyal Liberal Reform Association appears in our advertising columns. At various periods daring tho last twelve months. it was suggested that for the better evo ing of public opinion, some association should be formed, through the working of which the people of Victoria might become conversant with the Constitution of the State, and be led to take a more active part in the politics of the country. During the past month such an association has been formed, and it is deemed desirable that its true objects should be made fully known throughout the colony, by the publication of a platform on a broad, liberal and loyal basis, so that the people of Victoria may judge for themselves as to its necessity or otherwise. It has been judged by the originators of the association that for years past many of the colonists have by circumstances been precluded from taking such an active interest in the politics of the country as it is desirable that every man possessing the right to vote should take; and to obviate this the association claims the support of every thoughtful man in the community, so that by discussions, public meetings and lectures the true principles of responsible government may be promulgated ; that intelligent and honest men may he choson as representatives in the Assembly, so that wisdom and vigor may govern their councils; and that, setting aside all party differences, believing the Victorian people to be as intelligent and loyal as any people on the face of the earth, to maintain the power of the people to govern themselves by themselves, and their right to alter and reform abuses which they declare to be detrimental to the best interests of the community. The office of the Association is at 34 Collins street east. Mr Riddell convened a meeting of his friends yesterday afternoon, and after an anxious review of the political situation, they resolved upon abandoning the task they have had in hand for the last fortnight. Mr Cohen seceded from their ranks (four Indian file) before the meeting was held. It is now supposed that the Governor will apply to the leaders in the Legislative Council, and that he will put the categorical inquiries — ‘ Are you prepared to carry on the Government? If not, will you give any to those who can ?’ A public meeting of the electors of Geelong was held at the local town hall last evening, in connection with the crisis. The Major, Mr Robert De Bruce Johnstone, presided. There were three resolutions submitted and adopted, one of them proposed that the thanks of the meeting were due to the M’Culloch Ministry for the firm stand they had made in defence of the right of the majority through their representatives in the Assembly to the control of the public purse, and expressed a hope that they would continue to insist upon the inclusion of tho Darling Grant in the Appropriation Bill. There were between six hundred and sevon hundred persons present, and only one dissentient. A report appears in another column. 
A public meeting of the electors of Brunswick was held at the Retreat Inn Brunswick, to consider the present crisis, and to express approval of the action of the M’Culloch Ministry with respect to the Darling grant. The Mayor of the borough, Mr Robb, oocupied the chair. The meeting was very unanimous, and the following resolutions were carried : — ‘That this meeting, viewing the despatch of the Duke of Buckingham of the 1st January last as subversive of the principle of responsible government in this colony and fraught with danger to the liberties of the colonists, calls upon the representatives of the people in Parliament to refuse all supplies until the right of the Assembly to deal exclusively with the finances of the country be acknowledged, by the Council passing tho Appropriation Bill, inclusive of the Darling grant.’ ‘That the thanks of this meeting are due and are hereby tendered to the M’Culloch Administration and their supporters for the noble stand they have made against the proposed encroachment on the rights of those who pay the greater part of the taxes of the country.’ ‘ That in the event of its being necessary, this meeting will use its best exertions to return the present member for the district to the Legislative Assembly free of all cost, until the £20,000 be voted in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the people.’ At the close of the proceedings a verse of the ‘ National Anthem’ was sung, and the meeting dispersed with cheers for the Ministry and their local member, Mr Cope, who was present. A preliminary meeting of the electors of North Melbourne will be hold in the Artillery Hotel, on Monday evening next, at eight o’clock, to arrange for a public meeting for the purpose of taking into consideration the recent despatch of the Duke of Buckingham.


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