Protectionist petition

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) Wednesday 25 October 1865



A public meeting of the friends of the Ministry was held in the Exhibition building on the 25th ultimo, when an address to Her Majesty in support of the Assembly

was adopted. It was as follows :
” To the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.
“The humble petition of the citizens of Melbourne, in public meeting assembled, respectfully sheweth,

“That your petitioners desire to approach your august Majesty with assurances of their unalterable attachment to your sacred person

and Government, would heartily congratulate your Majesty on the felicity of your long and glorious reign, and on the loyalty that

exists in all parts of the British empire, and fervently pray that your Majesty may be long spared to grace the throne with your benign sway.
” That, in the exercise of your great wisdom, you did appoint Sir Charles Darling, K.C.B., to be the Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria.
” That His Excellency possesses the esteem and confidence of the people of Victoria, notwithstanding that a small section of the community has assailed him with opprobrium.
“That the act for which he has been blamed has been approved of by the great majority of your Majesty’s subjects in this

colony, as relieving from distress large numbers of the civil servants, and as being necessary to save the country from anarchy and ruin.
“That the Appropriation and Supply Bill was a passed by large majorities in the Legislative Assembly, and was neither accepted nor rejected by the Legislative Council, but merely laid aside.
” That the Legislative Council does not, nor cannot from its constitution, represent the opinions of the people of Victoria: the high qualification requisite for its members (unencumbered freehold property to the value of £6,000) limits very much the choice of

representatives in the present altered state of the colony; while the unequal division of the

colony into electoral provinces, and the high qualification also necessary for electors, give

undue preponderance to certain interests, and place the colony entirely at their control.
“That the Legislative Assembly has only been recently elected, it being only in its first session, and therefore faithfully represents

the desires and opinions of the people.
“That at the last election the polioy of the present Ministry received the almost unanimous support of the country.
” That an election had just taken place in one of the most important constituencies of the colony, and that the Ministerial candidate was returned by a very lnrge majority.
“That an election has also taken place for the Council, but which resulted in the defeat of the Ministerial candidate.
“That these two elections strikingly display the difference in the constitution of the two Houses. The numbers polled by both candi-

dates in the North-Eastern Province for the Upper House was 320; while the numbers polled by both candidates in Ballarat West

for the Lower House was 2,620; the North Eastern Province being represented by five members in a House of thirty, and Ballarat West by two members in a House of seventy eight.
“That the action of your representative and the Ministry has received the sanction and approval of a very large majority of the

” That the Ministry of Mr. M’Cullooh are strong in the confidence of the people of Victoria, for the faithfulness and honesty with which they have carried on the Government of the country.
“That the importers are directly interested in the rejection of the Appropriation and Supply Bill; and are, therefore, making the

most strenuous exertions to have the Ministry overthrown, and the bill rejected.
“That the Land Act passed by the present Parliament, introduced and administered by the Ministry, is giving great satisfaction, Settling hundreds of honest and industrious individuals on the land, and thus peopling this country with a class of yeomen who will be always ready to maintain and defend the

dignity of tho British Crown in this portion of your empire.
” That your petitioners aro fully persuaded that this is the true cause of the opposition of the members of the Legislative Council, who are either themselves deeply interested in the squatting system, or have been returned by purely squatting constituencies.
“That your petitioners would respectfully call your Majesty’s special attention to the

fact that, if the pulley of the Legislative Council be approved of, the Crown will be dependent for its supplies on the will of fifteen individuals, who are virtually irre-

sponsible, the Crown having no power of dissolution, as in the case of the Lower House; nor can their numbers be increased, as in the

case of the House of Lords in Great Britain; and that, therefore, at any moment the affairs of the country may be thrown into inextricable confusion by the freaks or whims of a few irresponsible persons, without the possibility of remedy or cure.
“Your petitioners do, therefore, sincerely pray that your gracious Majesty would disallow the prayer of the memorial forwarded by the Legislative Council, approve the action taken by your representative, ‘and support;

the Ministry and Assembly in the discharge of their duties and the maintenance of their rights.

“And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.”

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