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intimating a desire for reciprocal agreements, and had received reserved Bills from New Zealand and Tasmania dealing with the subject. Like the Duke of Buckingham, he objected to conceding a general power to make reciprocal arrangements, but was favourable to a Customs Union with a uniform tariff. He cited the British treaty with the German Zollverein, to show that differential duties in the colonies would infringe the treaty obligations of the Empire.

Thereupon a further Conference was held at Melbourne in September, 1871, at which New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania were represented. Lord Kimberley's despatch was discussed, and some very plainly-worded resolutions were passed, claiming that the colonies had a right to enter into arrangements for reciprocity, that no Imperial treaty should limit this right, and that Imperial interference with colonial fiscal policies should absolutely cease. Lord Kimberley replied in a lengthy despatch of 19th April, 1872, in which he invited a “friendly discussion” of the whole question. He argued that compliance with the request would involve not only the repeal of the prohibition in the various Constitutions, but also the exclusion of the colonies from future commercial treaties containing stipulations against differential duties. (Votes and Proc., L.A. of N.S.W., 1872, i. 1015.)

Finally, a Conference, convened by Sir Henry Parkes, was held at Sydney in January and February, 1873, at which all the seven colonies were represented. With regard to intercolonial reciprocity, it was resolved to urge on Lord Kimberley the claims of the colonies, and to adopt a memorial to the Home Government for the removal of the restrictions which prevented the colonies agreeing to admit the products of any colony into any other colony free of duty.

As to a Customs Union, it was resolved by a majority of one that such a union would be desirable, on the understanding that customs duties ought only to be levied for purposes of revenue, and not for purposes of protection. (Votes and Proc., L.A. of N.S.W., 1872-3, i. 1161.)

Lord Kimberley, though he maintained his own opinion, yielded to these repeated demands of the colonies, and introduced the Australian Colonies Duties Bill of 1873, which was passed, though Earl Grey and others opposed it as a step to commercial disunion. It merely provides that the legislature of any of the Australian colonies shall, for the purpose of carrying into effect any agreement with any other of such colonies, have full power to make laws for the remission or imposition of import duties on articles imported from such other colonies.

The colonies thus obtained full statutory powers to enter into arrangements for reciprocity, but the power was never used. The constitutional obstacle was removed, but the practical difficulties in the way of any customs union, short of the establishment of a Federal Parliament, remained.

VICTORIAN ROYAL COMMISSION, 1870.- After the failure of DeasThomson's and Duffy's Select Committees, very little was heard of any real proposal for Federation until 1870, when Mr. Duffy made a final effort. He secured the appointment, on 31st August, of a Royal Commission “to consider and report upon the necessity of a Federal Union of the Australian colonies for legislative purposes, and the best means of accomplishing such a union.” On 3rd October the Commission brought up a “first report.” As usual, there was unanimity as to the advantages of a Federal Union. As to the means of effecting a union, it was recognized that the form of union must be left to be decided by an accredited intercolonial Conference, and by the several legislatures. Opinion in the colonies seemed to be divided between a Constitution like that of the recently created Canadian Dominion on the one hand, or a mere Federal Council on the other. But they thought that a preliminary step, as to which there would probably be little difference of opinion, would be a permissive Imperial Act, authorizing the Queen to establish a Federal Union of any colonies which should agree upon terms. They thought that the best means of accomplishing a union was to remove, by such an Act, all legal impediments to it, and leave the colonies to determine, by negotiation among themselves, how and when they would avail themselves of the opportunity. They proposed to frame, and print with their second report, a Bill of this kind for transmission to the Imperial Parliament. Then followed some rather startling suggestions as to granting the colonies “sovereign rights” of making treaties, and remaining neutral in time of war-suggestions to which some of the delegates declined to subscribe. Neither the promised "second report” nor the proposed Bill were ever issued; and though the above report was circulated, no further steps were taken.

CONFERENCE OF 1880-1.-A distinct stage in the Federal movement is marked by a Conference which met at Melbourne in November and December, 1880, and afterwards at Sydney in the following January. (Votes and Proc., L.A. of N.S.W., 1881, i. 329.7 At its first meeting only the three colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia were represented. Sir Henry Parkes submitted the “ basis of a possible agreement as to customs duties." Briefly, it was to the effect that uniform duties of customs and excise should be levied on spirits, tobacco, and beer such duties to be fixed, for the most part, at the highest rates then prevailing; that no customs duties should be levied except at the seaports; and that balances should be adjusted between the Governments on the basis of the intercolonial trade statistics of 1878-80. He declared that New South Wales was prepared to sign a Convention for three or five years on such a basis. The restriction of uniformity to the articles mentioned, of course, shirked the burning question of freetrade and protection. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Graham Berry, for Victoria, maintained that the only satisfactory solution of the border question was a completely uniform tariff-more than hinting, however, that the tariff must be mainly that of Victoria. The matter was discussed, and postponed to the Sydney session.

Resolutions were also passed, at the instance of Sir Henry Parkes, affirming (1) that the time had arrived when a Federal Council should be created to deal with intercolonial matters; (2) that such Council might be constituted, with limited powers, by Acts of the several Parliaments, each colony having an equal number of representatives : (3) that the control of each colony over its own revenue should be preserved intact; and (4) that New South Wales should be requested to prepare the necessary Bill, to be submitted to the Conference at its next meeting

The Sydney session in January was joined by delegates from all the seven colonies. The proposal of a uniform tariff ended with a mere recommendation that a joint commission should be appointed to frame a common tariff, and that the number of commissioners from each colony should be-Victoria, three; New South Wales, New Zealand, South Australia, and Queensland, two each; Tasmania and Western Australia, one each. No such commission was ever appointed, so that the proposal, like every other proposal for a uniform tariff, ended in talk.

The scheme for a Federal Council got a little further. Sir Henry Parkes brought up the promised Bill, together with the following interesting memorandum: “In respect to the Federal Council Bill now submitted, the following positions are assumed as hardly open to debate :“1. That the time is not come for the construction of a Federal

Constitution, with an Australian Federal Parliament. “ 2. That the tiine is come when a number of matters of much

concern to all the colonies, might be dealt with more effectually by some federal authority than by the colonies

separately. “3. That an organization which would lead men to think in the

direction of federation, and accustom the public mind to federal ideas, would be the best preparation for the foun

dation of Federal Government. “The Bill has been prepared to carry out the idea of a mixed body, partly legislative and partly administrative, as the forerunner of a more matured system of Federal Government. Care has been taken throughout to give effective power to the proposed Federal Council within prescribed limits, without impairing the authority of the colonies represented in that body.

“No attempt has been made to constitute the proposed council on any historical model, but the object has been to meet the circumstances of the present Australian situation, and to pave

the

way complete federal organization hereafter.”

This memorandum, and Sir Henry Parkes' previous resolutions, define very clearly his federal policy at that time. The main obstacle to complete Federation was the difference in fiscal policy between New South Wales and Victoria. Victorian statesmen would not listen to any uniform tariff proposal except on the basis of protection ; New South Wales statesmen were equally determined to maintain freetrade; and neither were willing to entrust the question to the free decision of a Federal Legislature. Neither a simple customs union, nor a Federation involving a customs union, was for the time attainable. Sir Henry Parkes believed that a time would come when the people of both colonies would place Federation above the fiscal question, and would be ready to entrust the settlement of that question to their joint representatives; but meanwhile the only

to a

form of Federation possible would be one which left the fiscal question out altogether. He believed that such a preliminary union would prepare the way for a more complete Federation.

The correctness of Sir Henry Parkes' judgment, that the time was not come for a more complete Federation, was strikingly shown in the Conference itself. An apple of discord was thrown into the discussion by Mr. Graham Berry, who made the startling proposition that, as the Council would need revenue of some kind, the revenues arising from the sale and occupation of public lands should be transferred to it. This suggestion received no support except from the Victorian delegates. It was presumably intended to prove, by a reductio ad absurdum, the uselessness and impracticability of a Federation which did not control the customs revenue.

A motion, that the Conference should agree to the Bill, and recommend it to the legislatures, was then put, and resulted in an equal division. New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania voted for it; Victoria, Queensland, and New Zealand against; whilst the West Australian delegates did not vote at all. The proposal for a Federal Council had, therefore, to be abandoned.

The only federal institution as to which the Conference could agree was an Australian Court of Appeal. A Bill for this purpose was framed and approved, and a resolution was passed recommending the Legislatures to memorialize the Home Government with a view to Imperial legislation on the subject. But recommendation is one thing, and action another; nothing further was done.

(6) THE FEDERAL COUNCIL.

Events Of 1883.–Up to the year 1883 every proposal for any kind of Federation--complete or partial—had failed altogether. Some small degree of uniform legislation had been attained by conference; some temporary border treaties had been entered into between individual colonies; but no basis had been agreed on for any form of political union. But the events of 1883 helped to draw closer the bonds between the colonies, and to emphasize the need of joint action.

In June, 1883, the last section of the railway line between Sydney and Melbourne was completed, and the long-delayed junction between the railway systems of the two colonies was thus effected at the Murray River. A banquet held at Albury on that occasion, and attended by the Governors of both colonies and by many prominent statesmen, affords an interesting historical record of the after-dinner views of prominent men on the subject of Federation. The union of railways irresistibly suggested the greater political union; but most of the speakers spoke of Federation as a “far-off divine event” rather than as a practical policy. The Governors, of course, welcomed the joining of hands across the Murray as a step towards Federation. The speakers from the mother-colony did not respond very heartily. Sir John Robertson, in a characteristic speech, alluded to a "something called Federation,” said that Victoria had separated of her own free will, and invited her to return as a repentant child to her mother. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Alexander Stuart, the New South Wales Premier, expressed his belief in slow development, and did not think that Federation could be "precipitated in a moment.” Mr. James Service, the Victorian Premier, was the most ardent federalist of the gathering. “We want Federation” he said, “and we want it now. I have been now 30 years almost in public life, and I decline to subscribe to the doctrine that I am to die before I see the grand Federation of the colonies. There is no earthly reason for its being delayed. We imagine there are supreme difficulties in the way, but I believe they will crumble into dust; and I take this opportunity of telling my friend, the Premier of New South Wales, that we intend to test the question.” Other Victorian speakers were less definite. Mr. Duncan Gillies said that a customs union must precede any other kind of Federation ; whilst Mr. Graham Berry, though announcing that Victoria was “quite ready to unite," stipulated that Victorian manufacturing industries must be considered. In a word, every one was willing to federate; but Sir John Robertson's idea of Federation was the re-annexation of Victoria, Mr. Berry's idea was union under the Victorian tariff, and most of the others regarded it as a topic of after-dinner oratory rather than a matter of practical politics.

But whilst the development of intercolonial relations was deepening the conviction that union was needed, the real motive power-the stimulus to an active public interest-came from outside. Hitherto Australia had regarded foreign complications as antipodean matters which did not much concern her; but the external need of union was brought home to all the colonies by the increased activity of foreign Powers in the Pacific. In 1883 rumours became current of intended annexations by France and Germany. The Germans were credited with designs on New Guinea ; and to forestall them Sir Thomas McIlwraith, Premier of Queensland, sent a magistrate to that island in April to take possession in the name of the Queen. His action, though generally approved in the colonies, was disavowed by the Home Government. The French, moreover, were openly coveting the New Hebrides, and were reported to be arranging to transport to New Caledonia a large number of recidivistes, or habitual criminals.

In this emergency the colonies found that disunion hampered them in making proper representations to the Imperial Government, and weakened the effect of what representations they made. Here was a practical and convincing argument for Federation; and it was made the most of. The Executive Council of Queensland, on 17th July, 1883, resolved that the Home Government should be invited to move in the direction of a federal union. What was wanted, however, was not Imperial action, but Australian action ; and Mr. James Service-true to his promise at the Albury banquet-took the more practical step of urging an intercolonial conference. Accordingly, on 28th November, a “Convention” met in Sydney, at which the seven colonies were represented, and also Fiji.

Mr. Service immediately submitted a set of resolutions urging the annexation of, or a protectorate over, East New Guinea and the

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