The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) Wednesday 25 October 1865
HISTORY OF THE SITUATION.
At the date of our Summary for the September mail, the Legislative Council had adjourned till the 3rd instant, after adopting an address to Her Majesty on the differences
between them and the Assembly-an address which His Excellency forwards by this mail for presentation, having delayed its transmission that he might have leisure to comment privately on its statement! The Assembly was still sitting, and provision for discharging the liabilities of the state had been made hy borrowing from the London Chartered Bank, although no Appropriation
Bill had then, or has yet been, passed.
PROCEEDINGS IN THE ASSEMBLY.
On the 20th ult. Mr. Levi, a member who sits in opposition, submitted the following motion :
” That, inasmuch as by the 1st clause of the Constitution Act power is given to her Majesty, with the advice and consent of the
Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, to make laws in and for Victoria in all cases whatsoever; and by the 43rd clause it is declared that it shall be lawful for the Legislature to impose and levy duties of customs; and by the following clause all taxes, &c,
over which the Legislature has power of appropriation shall be appropriated as in the act mentioned; and by the 56th clause all bills for appropriating any part of the revenue, and for imposing any duty, rate, &c, must originate in the Assembly, and may be rejected but not altered by the Council, this
House is of opinion that the Legislative Council has and ought to exercise the right of giving or withholding consent on every subject of legislation; that the imposition of particular duties of customs is a question totally distinct from that of the repeal of the export duty on gold, whilst neither question is allied or kindred to the expenditure of money; that a committee of the Legislative
Assembly be appointed to search the journals of the Legislative Counoil, to ascertain what has been done in relation to the Supply and Appropriation Bill.”
Mr. Macgregor moved an amendment in the following terms:
“That an address bo presented to His Excellency the Governor, thanking his Excellency for having, with the concurrence of his responsible advisers, so promptly
taken the necessary measures for satisfying the public liabilities, and for maintaining the efficiency of the public service, and thus averting from the community the confusion and anarchy calculated to result
from the refusal by the Legislative Council of its assent to the supply and appropriation for the year ; assuring His Excellency that this House will always be prepared to afford its fullest and most cordial support to His Excellency’s Government in its efforts, by all
such legitimate and constitutional measures as may under existing circumstances be necessary or expedient, to preserve and main-
tain order and good government in the colony ; and informing His Excellency that this House deeply regrets that the Legislative
Council has not as yet taken any steps with the view of realising the hope expressed to it by His Excellency, that active legislation in
regard- to the finonce of the colony may be promptly resumed.”
Mr O’Shanassy spoke for the first time for a long period. He said he was at a loss to understand how either motion or amendmont
could begin to the solution of the present political difficulty. He considered that the hon. member for Rodney (Mr Macgregor), who
seemed to occupy a sort of semi-official position in the House, had committed a grievous wrong towards the Governor, in departing
from constitutional practice and mixing up His Excellency’s name unnecessarily in party politics. Why should the Governor be lauded
Or assailed for the act of his responsible advice? The messages which had been sent by the Governor to the Houses of Legislature like the speeches delivered on the opening and closing of Parliament;-were documents framed in the ordinary way by his advisers. Alluding to the last message, he asked when the “temporary and provisional
arrangements for meeting the inevitable pecuniary liabilities of the Government in the present emergency,” referred to in that
message, were to terminate. He was ashamed that, with a Constitution not ten years old,
they should be in the ridiculous position of having to appeal to the Colonial Office for the settlement of a difficulty which could be
solved here in five minutes. He was afraid that pride was at the bottom of the affair.
The Government had sought to coerce, and had to resort to subterfuges to get money to
carry on the public service. But was Government to be conducted in that manner? He held that the sooner the House retract its
steps the better, and, therefore, he urged upon it to put aside all false pride in the matter.
The debate was rendered interesting by the withdrawal of Mr. Graham Berry, and one or two of the ultra-protectionists, from the Ministerial ranks, although they had not the courage to record their votes with the Opposition; and for this abandonment of the incumbents of the Treasury benches the hon. member for Collingwood has since been
severely censured by his constituents, who called upon him to explain his conduct, and then at the meeting kept up so great a disturbance that Mr. Berry could not be heard.
It was also made interesting by the heat of the Treasurer’s reply to Mr. Berry, and the threat that if the Legislative Council did not
speedily give way the Government would abandon the collection of Customs’ duties under the tariff as sanctioned by law, and collect dues only on the tariff aa agreed to
by the Legislative Assembly. The division list showed that the amendment was carried
by thirty-eight to sixteen, the list being as follows;
Smith, G V
Smith, J T
Smith, L L