Electioneering 1864

“The general elections commenced in August, and the new Assembly met for business on the 28th of November. The result had been extremely favourable to the Ministry, for on the opening day no less than fifty-three members ranged themselves on the right of the Speaker, facing a forlorn party of fourteen on the left. The only notable men in the minority were John O’Shanassy, Graham Berry and Sir Francis Murphy, the latter being almost immediately withdrawn by his re-election to the chair. Some well-known faces were missed. James Service and Charles Gavan Duffy were both absent in England, E. D. Ireland and Charles Jardine Don were among the rejected, and Wilson Gray had gone to New Zealand, where he eventually became a judge.
About thirty new men appeared on the roll, some of them of an ultra-democratic type, for the addresses of many of the candidates had been quite theatrically ” liberal” in the colloquial sense of that term. Infallible measures were promised for getting the right people on the land, and driving the squatters off it. Mining legislation was to be brought up to date in the sole interest of those who followed that arduous “calling. The export duty on gold was to be abolished, and a Mint provided, whereat the miner could get the full value of his product in new sovereigns. And above all, those sovereigns were to be kept in the country, to circulate from hand to hand amongst the people who created them, and not to fall into the rapacious maw of the foreign exporter in exchange for his goods, the product of the pauper labour of the old world. The fact that Victoria was undeniably a pastoral, agricultural and mining country was ignored, and the proposal to convert her fair domain into a manufacturing centre was hailed by the mass of the population as a forward step in the race for pre-eminence and prosperity. It seemed so simple a method of increasing employment and maintaining “wages to keep out by taxation the goods which could be made locally. Therefore, the working man, looking at it only through the medium of the wages question and the widened area
AN ERA OF CONSTITUTIONAL STRUGGLE, 1864-1868 115
of employment for his children, threw in his lot vigorously with the party which then, and for many years after, had Graham Berry as its most voluble and resourceful champion.
The amount of fiery talk, the scorn of opposition, the derision of warning, the glowing pictures of “a paradise for the working man,” which irradiated the speeches of aspiring legislators during the general elections of 1864 and 1865, came as a startling revelation to the industrious but prosaic business men of the colony. In the early sixties no edu“educated man, no one with a rudimentary knowledge of the history of his mother-country, or of the operations of commerce and exchange, would have cared to pose as an advocate of Protection to native industry, which was so soon to sweep all before it at the polls. If they thought about it at all in the intervals of business, it was as a gloomy memory of desperate times in the old land, where its monopolistic tendencies drove the labouring classes to the verge of revolution: where it was a synonym of the most hateful form of the oppression of the capitalist, and was broken down and routed by the Parliamentary champions of the working man. Not a few of the colonists who had achieved prosperity in the land of their adoption had sad memories of the state of despair to which the starving operatives in the manufacturing centres of England had been reduced in 1842 under Protection, and of the rioting, bloodshed and bitter“bitterness which had accompanied its overthrow. But here, at the Antipodes, it was not the grasping capitalist who led the clamour to resuscitate the rule of Protection, but the artisan and the labourer, who had otherwhere been its irreconcilable opponents.”
Excerpt From: Turner, Henry Gyles, 1831-1920. “A history of the Colony of Victoria from its discovery to its absorption into the Commonwealth of Australia.” London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1904. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.
Excerpt From: Turner, Henry Gyles, 1831-1920. “A history of the Colony of Victoria from its discovery to its absorption into the Commonwealth of Australia.” London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1904. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.
Excerpt From: Turner, Henry Gyles, 1831-1920. “A history of the Colony of Victoria from its discovery to its absorption into the Commonwealth of Australia.” London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1904. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.
Excerpt From: Turner, Henry Gyles, 1831-1920. “A history of the Colony of Victoria from its discovery to its absorption into the Commonwealth of Australia.” London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1904. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.
Excerpt From: Turner, Henry Gyles, 1831-1920. “A history of the Colony of Victoria from its discovery to its absorption into the Commonwealth of Australia.” London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1904. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.

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