McCulloch policies Aug 1856

Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), Friday 22 August 1856, page 2

On Thursday evening upwards of four hundred persons assembled in the hall of the Criterion Hotel, to hear Mr M’Culloch explain his political creed. Mr Pulton was voted to tho chair. Mr M’Culloch said he agreed fully with the chairman when he said (in his introductory remarks) it was the duty of the electors thoroughly to sift those candidates who might present themselves to the electors for approval, and it was further the duty of the candidates to afford every opportunity to the electors to sift them thoroughly and find out their political opinion.

Hitherto they had been under the leading strings of Downing street, but now they had entered upon a now order of things. The Constitution that had brought that change to them he looked upon as admirable, considering the period of political apathy during which it had been enacted, and the Council that had enacted it — a Council that did not represent the community. It was, he considered, wonderful for its liberality, when these things were taken into consideration. But still he knew that it contained many defects that ought to be supplied ; and he wondered when he heard of certain candidates who said that it ought to have a trial. The defects were palpable, and should be at once supplied. (Loud cheers.) He then passed in review his political principles — Manhood Suffrage — two Houses of Parliament, one to be a check on the other — triennial parliaments, the ballot, and repeal of the state-aid clause. He touched also on education, the land system, and squatter compensation, public works (whicn should be carried on with energy, and which would have been done long ago had there been a really responsible Government in the country), immigration, federation of the colonies. He would, if returned, do all in his power to restrain every extravagant waste in the management of the public funds and accounts, the latter of which, as this country must soon be a borrower to a large extent, should be managed with the utmost care. In local matters he looked upon the establishment of a harbor and river trust for the improvement of the river and harbor of the city as of the utmost importance, and this trust should be made up of popular representatives from the various public bodies — the Legislative Council and the Chamber of Commerce, for instance, who were both greatly interested in the matter. Candidates should be questioned tightly on this subject, especially Mr Attorney-General Stawell, who, when he, Mr M’Culloch, had mooted the question in the last Council had pooh pooh’d the very idea of confiding the management of the river and harbor to an assembly of popular representatives. He thought he had touched upon most of the political questions that now agitate the public mind, he was, however, quite ready to answer any questions that might be put to him. The candidate sat down amid loud cheers. The CHAIRMAN said that having heard the candidate give, as he thought, and he was sure as the meeting thought, a proper exposition of his views, it now rested with those present to put what questions they might deem expedient. He was sure they would be satisfactorily answered. He called upon tho meeting to put their questions. In answer to questions, Mr M’Culloch said that he had no personal interest in the present squatting system. His partners in Glasgow had. He signed Mr Ebden’s requisition, and will vote for him too. He used his interest for the return of Mr Cruikshank at the last election. He was opposed to the present Government. (Applause.) He accepted a nomineeship under Sir Charles Hotham, and he thought his votes would bear scrutiny. (Applause.) He would not let the runs of squatters by auction, but would charge a full rental for their occupation. (Hear.) Land to be sold in fee simple was of a different principle from lands to be let for temporary occupation. The auction system would apply to one, but not to the other. He could not then state on which principle the value of the squatting lands could be ascertained, though he thought it possible to do so without having recourse to auction. He saw no reason why the squatting lands could not be valued and let without having recourse to the auction system, which he did not think iust towards those who had made improvements on their runs. He thought that as Mr Stawell was a public servant he was fair game, and might be alluded to in a public meeting. He would support the export duty on gold. He would like to see the Railway Board remodelled. The different classes of the community should be there represented. He thought the representatives, should on the Board have the power of fixing upon lines of railway. He did not think the present system of Chinese immigration worked well. All men should be allowed freely to come and go. Mr D. S. Campbell, proposed Mr M’Culloch as a fit and proper person, &c. He had no hesitation in saying, although he did not altogether agree with Mr M’Culloch in every case, that he would be a valuable and useful member of the new Parliament. (Applause.) In the choice of members these minor points of difference must be sunk. He hoped to see Mr M’Culloch placed in the Parliament as the representative of this great and improving commercial city. It required a mercantile representatives and he was sure the zeal and integrity of Mr M’Culloch would enable him to render him important services to the city. Mr Sheils seconded the motion, and said the time was come when men of progress must be chosen to represent the interests of a great commercial city like Melbourne. The days of stereotyped legislation had gone by, and the days of progress had come. Although he was opposed to Mr M’Culloch in some things, he agreed with him on the great questions of Slate-aid and Education. One of the questions on which he differed from the candidate was thas of his system of disposal of the squatting lands. Mr M’Culloch said he would not sell tho leases bv auction. He (the speaker) would do so on account of the accidental value which had been attached to those lands by the gold discovery; and as the squatters had no part in giving this accidental value to the Crown lands, he thought the public fairly entitled to it. An Elector stated that, as a nominee, Mr M’Culloch had always voted against the Government when he thought them wrong. He said this for the purpose of explaining Mr M’Culloch’s position as a nominee. MrCASHMORE; said he thought Mr M’Culloch was right in his system of disposing of the squatting lauds, as it protected the poor from the power of the rich. On the auction system of leasing lands, the poor squatter would be in danger of boing swamped by his richer neighbor. Motion was then put and carried with only two dissentients. (Cheers.) . Mr M’Culloch thanked the meeting for the honor that had been done him, and said that, it elected, he would not only do his utmost to forward the interests of the city, but would be always ready to receive information or suggestions from every quarter ; always, however, referring such advice or suggestions to his own judgment.
The Chairman said that was the man they wanted — one that was come-at-able. They did not want men to whom they could not have easy acacss. There were too many such. (Cheers ) ‘ Mr M’Culloch moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman, which was carried with acclamation, and the meeting broke up.

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