THE COLLECTIVE WISDOM OF NEW
"T sec a stranger in the-IIOUBC."
Ii was anticipated that there would be a most furious storm in the House when the now Ministry met lion, members for the first time after the recess. More than one lion, gentleman had talked loudly to friends 'and admirers of what he had " in store for them ; " wliilst Ministerial supporters shook their heads and looked solemn, as though prospects were more than .usually gloomy. Owing to all this, public interest was worked up to the highest pitch, and the rush for places was something as great as when a motion involving the fate of a Ministry, and expected to be (successful, was before the House. Hon. members when they first entered the chamber were some time liefotc the could sift out their places, some of them changing about uneasily from one side to the other, and not making up their minds to decided selection even to the last moment. A great number on each side crowded to the farther benches, those wliich in the old time were used to be the cross benches, as Abose desirous of wislung it to be understood that though sitting on the side they did, they were not pledged to it. The two new members, Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Lucas, took their seats very decisively im .mediately at the back of Ministers, as if they
wished there should be no mistake about what they Intended to do.
AVhen Sir James Martin rose to oifer his Miniate j-ial explanations, there was a little shuffling about in the scats, as hon. gentlemen fixed themselves into attitudes of attention, some crossed over to the Oppo- sition benches, the better to hear him ; and then there was a marked silence. The lion. Premier did not ?fuiy much. He had tried to get Mr. Piddington as a Treasurer, then Mr. King, and then he had formed his Administration, having made no other offers beyond those to lus present colleagues. Of course that did not suit the Opposition, whose only anxiety .was to hear how Mr. Robertson had got into his pre- sent company : and this point formed the main theme of all the debate which succeeded. Mr. S. Brown rose to reply to Sir James Martin, evidently by pre- concerted arrangement. Thus it may be assumed that be has been accepted as the leader of the Opposition ; and tile mantle, wliich when discarded by Sir James Martin had been carefully folded up and put by for Mr. Robertson, being declined with thanks by that hon. gentleman, has been now transferred to the shoulders of Mr. S. Brown. It is only to be hoped that the transference is permanent, and that the House will have this lion, gentleman regularly leading the Opposition. In that event there will bo some chance of business being done, and of obstruction being discarded. The Government will be attacked, of course, but public business will not be impeded.
Mr. Brown's speech was simply recrimination com- bined with an attack on Mr.Robortson for deserting his party. Mr. Samuel follovvedupon much the same track, merely diverging in order to give a flowing picture of the state ot our finances, and to quote ligures to show how correct all his statements had always
Then followed Mr. Robertson, who made perhaps .the best speech he could have done under the cir- cumstances, and gave the best answer to the charges ?against him that the shrewdebt ingenuity could have devised. It was, in fact, thus :-I did not desert my party, for my party deserted me. When I was prepared to reconstruct my Ministry, my party .would not have it, and I was left alone. I could not be a leader when I had none to follow. So being deserted, I did what I considered best for the country. But, besides this, I really believe that the hon. gentleman means to carry out the promise he made in his published address to the electors of West Sydney ; and that he intends to try and keep from haid language. Tne debate of Tuesday night was
one in which it was evident that he was to be the
principal object of attack, and that if the Ministry was to bo reached it would be through him. Under such circumstances, he might possibly have had j5ome justification for what he has been pleased facetiously to term "a go in all round," and that, .cxpcctuig hits, he should have endeavoured to get the first blow. Instead of that, he kept his temper and his language within admirable bounds, and, occasionally, had a little fun into the bargain. Having been charged with joining in an Administra- tion with Mr. Windeyer, when that gentleman had
refused to sit at the same table and take wine with -bim, he said : " I don't know that &uch a thing did happen. , I don't believe it did. I am quite sure of this, that if ever Mr. Windeyer did refuse to take "wine at the same table, it was only because the wine 'was not to his liking. He never did refuse to drink with mc, for I never asked him. Now, suppose he had been asked to take water with Mr. Wilson, and bad refused, would they have blamed him ? Cer- tainly not ! He would have been in the right of it, -and every reasonable man would have done the same, I know I would."
Tlie best speech of the evening, however, was that of Mr. Butler, who followed the Chief Secretary. It consisted almost entirely of an attack, of the moBt masterly kind, upon Mr. Robertson, and gave him one particularly hard hit, which, however, the bon. Secre ?tary brought upon himself. Mr. Butler having stated that he- had followed Mr. Robertson as. long as that gentleman deserved the following, Mr. Robertson in- terrupted with "As long as it paid you"-Mr. Butler turned with great wrath upon Mr. Robertson. " As long as it paid mc!" he exclaimed, " What does the hon. member mean ? As long as it paid me! I never #ot £2000 a year for puttbig my honest convictions into my pocket ! "
<Mr. Farnell made his explanation!, of the scene between himself and Sir James Martin, when he had understood that office had been offered him, and which .Mr. W. Forster, in his own peculiar logical style,
described as an offer which was not an offer. Mr. Farnell'described himself as most ill-used, and then, in addition, he was most unmercifully snubbed by everybody. First by Sir James Martin, who told him, when he stated that he had called several times at the . learned, gentleman's chambers, that he went there without being asked, and that he was always poking ï his nose where he was not wanted. Then he got a dig
from Mr. Robertson. That gentleman, in his speech,
was saying that the Government would not object to, fair discussion, but hoped 'there would be no ob . structioR in the shape ot speaking for eight hours at
"It was done to serve your'Premier," interpolated
"That may be, and it's -a pity that such kind o£ ßervice call bo obtained on either side of the House," remarked Mr. Robertson.
Mr. W. Forster also gave a quiet sneer at him, first by alluding to the offer which was not an offer, and next by saying that " Mr. Farnell has evidently , blundered about the trnfh.in some way."
The gem of the evening, however, was a little nar- ration of Mr. R. Hill's. That hon. gentleman does not often speak, neither when he has spoken has he much distinguished himself as an orator. On the present occasion, however, he brought down the House with laughter, first, by giving them his idea of the Irish stew on board ship, made up from scraps of all kind, and ultimately " finding its way over the side." I suppose the hon. gentleman meant a " Sea- pie," instead of an Irish stew, but it was no matter
so long as it made hon. gentlemen laugh. His next effort was to illustrate his idea of the Ministry, by relating an aboriginal anecdote, which he did in these
"A sable countryman of mine was seen carrying a kookaburra in his hand. A kookaburra, I must tell you, gentleman, is a bird, not by any means hand- some looking, better known in the colony as the Laughing Jackass. A friend of mine accosted him,
and asked him what he was going to do with it. 'All right.' said the black, 'Me sell him.' 'Sell him,' answered my friend, in astonishment, 'You will not get any one to buy him.' 'Oh, yes. All right,' replied the aboriginal ; 'I'll mix him up
along of a rosella, then I'll sell him.' The 'rosella' is another of the feathered tribe. It dis- courses excellent music, and is easily taught to talk. Well, I can just fancy the hon. and learned Premier wending his way up to Lord Belmore with his five kookaburras mixed up with the one rosella-the Robertson rosella making the rest acceptable."
The debate, however, came to nothing, though it was protracted to eleven o'clock. It showed, however, some of the feeling of the House, and a want of con- üdrnce motion, of which Mr. G. A. Lloyd gave notice on Wednesday may almost be regarded as a sequence of that debate, eince more than one lion, gentleman, m speaking, regretted that the Ministrv had not been met by a direct vote of censure.
Wednesday and Friday evenings were exceedingly dull and piofitlebs, although on the first of these there was a discussion got up on the lemoval of the Jcmain.s of the late Daniel Egan. Here again Mr. Butler made an admirable .speech, the sentiments ho express ed being loudly cheeicd by both sides of the House. It wat. only a motion for adjournment, so Imit beyond brbiging to light a number of painful circumstances, nothing carne of the debate.
A discussion on the case of a man bearing the very
suggestive name of Twaddell vi as more than the House could 6tand, and hon. members thinned off. A quorum, however, was maintained until the Twaddell case was disposed of, and then the remaining business was'rushed over. On Friday there was absolutely nothing done. _