Lead up to 1864 election

“On the same day that the Governor was installed, and immediately after that ceremony, he was escorted to the Legislative Chambers and formally prorogued the House. He had thus a few months to familiarise himself with his surroundings during a lull in the normal conditions of pohtical strife, for ParUament did not resume its sittings until the 26th of January, 1864. The first session of which he had experience, and which closed on the 2nd of June, was both brief and colourless. On the 2nd of February Mr. Heales brought in a Bill to amend the Duffy Land Act, which afforded a jaded discussion for a couple of months, and then went to the Council to meet the fate which had befallen a similar effort in the preceding session. It was no great loss, for it was but a feeble attempt to cm^e an incurably bad piece of legislation, by increasing stringency of supervision over the selector dm-ing a period of five years’ probationary leasing, and by making the Minister of Lands the judge of his bona fides. It proposed to extend the Parliamentary generosity, hitherto confined to the ” poor selector,” to the creation of a race of ““poor squatters ” by granting ten years’ licences of blocks of 2,560 acres at a trifling rental. The holders of these “grazing farms,” when the capitalistic squatters, with their flocks and herds, had been “driven across the Murray with their own stock-whips,” to quote a favourite figure of the day, were to provide the local supply of meat, and the exportable quantity of wool which had been wont to give an air of commercial prosperity to the colony abroad. Mr. Duffy opposed the Bill on the ground, amongst others, that there was no prohibition of the present pastoral tenants of the Crown becoming tenants of these “grazing farms. So strongly did he feel in this matter, that he said he would vote for the Bill, much as he disapproved of some of its provisions, if clauses were introduced making it impossible for a squatter to acquire a lease, and rendering its future transfer to such a person illegal! But the session passed away and the perennial
114 A HISTORY OF THE COLONY OF VICTORIA
question of the Crown lands was relegated to the next Parliament. The remaining measures of the short session of 1864 were unimportant, and though some five and twenty Acts were assented to, they were mainly machinery Bills.”

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