Earl Grey 1880

Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 – 1934), Saturday 17 April 1880, page 8

THE Victorian REVIEW
The April number of this review opens With a paper by Earl Grey, on “Victorian Politics,” that is well worth reading. The right hon. gentleman was at the head of the Colonial Office nearly half a century ago, and has taken a lively interest in the progress and development of representative Government in the Colonies from that time to the present. Surely if any one can speak with some degree of authority on such a subject, it is Earl Grey. And his utterances in the paper under notice impress us with the fact that he speaks as one having) authority, and not as the Scribes—more especially the Scribes who rave about protection, prohibition, monopoly of the local market for local industries, keeping the money in the colony, and mischievous nonsense of that kind. He traces all the evils which have fallen upon Victoria to the “first deviations from wise policy in the measures of the Legislature ” by the initiation of that “mild” form of protection which our present Premier seems to be hankering after, judging from his recent utterances in London. Because, as Earl Grey very logically observes: “I do not mean to deny that the mismanagement complained of may have been aggravated in the last two years; the accounts

which have reached me of what has taken place in the colony lead me to believe that it has done so. And this is only what was to be expected in the conduct of public affairs, every error fallen into, and every abuse of power committed, has a tendency to become the cause or the excuse of still greater errors and greater abuses afterwards.” On the “Constitutional difficulty” in Victoria, the writer says,—”My own opinion is that what would be most likely to bring about an improvement in the future management of the affairs of Victoria would be to abolish the Legislative Council as a separate branch of the Legislature, at the same time introducing into the Assembly a certain number of members not owing their seats to direct popular election. ‘ I have long thought that the division of the legislature into two chambers in the Australian colonies was a mistake”—and he goes on to give the reasons why, which are well worthy of careful examination. It is one of those questions on which a great deal can be said on both sides, as old Sam Johnson used to say when he was yearning for a discussion and opponents were chary of committing themselves to a positive statement for fear he should come down upon them with crushing effect.


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