THE CONSTITUTION OP THE TWO HOUSES.
Because the Victorian Upper House has b.'ea a stumbling-block to McCulloch and his followers the Ministry of tar's colony would nlace the South Australian UoDer House at
the mercy of the Assembly. They do not admit thia, but such would have been the effect of their BilL That measure, however, is at present set aside owing to the want of an absolute majority at its second reading. The faint praise which it received from several parts of the House was not enough to save it from the condemnation of those members who disapproved of numerous ' unnecessary altera tions,' and, above all, of the proposal to destroy the constitution of the Legislative Council. That 'our own house is in danger when oar neighbour's house is on fire' is a maxim commended to us by an 'an ent' of high authority. But the illustration at present ?applied by the Chief Secretary is not a g?od one. He points to Victoria, reminds us of the deadlock which has taken place there, and quotes from a Melbourne journal to the elect that the new Bdl might be a useful maaure, inasmuch a? it would open the Legislative Council to a moderate and whole some amount of popular feeling at every general election of the House of Assembly. What harm could result— asks the Melbourne critic— from one-fourth of the Council being elected once in three ^yean concurrently with
the members of the other House ? But hi does not see — and the Chief Secretary does not acknowledge — that this is only a minor part 0: the evil. If the Government proposal weni no further than this it might receive tht support of some, members who now object to it for it would not make the tenure of seats ii the Council less secure than at present it ffould only cause the vacancies to fall on al occasions at the time of a general election This is objectionable enough. But the ner part of the scheme— a part which the Mel bourne journalist has entirely overlooked — ii far worse. It proposes that, in addition t- concurrent elections every three years, then shall be a dissolution of one-fourth of thi Legislative Council every time there is a dis solution of the House of Assembly. Thin is 1 new principle altogether, and it is one whicl is dangerous to the existence of the Council as an independent legislative body. To estimate the effect of thia power of dia solution we need only imagine a state of thing] like that which has recently prevailed in Vic toria. The Assembly has been thwarted bi the Council on a question of taxation, anc has therefore legislated unconstitutional!] without the aid of the Council. Bu if two, or even three, dissolutions coulc have been resorted to as a means 0 making the Council act with the Assembly, di our readers suppose that those dissolution] would not have been tried? Undoubtedly they would, and some persons may eay ' il would have served the Council right.' Thi», however, cannot be the opinion of people whe eee any u*e in the Upper House, who think that its duty is to resist what it considers to bi ill-judged measure.', and who believe that i may often do a service to the country b; making a stand against extreme legislatioi until the electors have had time to grow cool It is to exercise this power that a seconi Chamber has been established. It woul- therefore be a farce to Bay that the iiBembl; should be able to usurp such power wheneve it thought proper to do so— that the Counci should retain ita privileges as an independen Chamber in little matters, but that as soon a the Assembly Baw fit to grasp everything i should be able to insist upon dissolution aftc dissolution until the popular voice, excited fo the purpose, had made both Chamber* alike. The only answer which has been made t- this objection is that 'it is not likely' thi Assembly would ever advocate so extreme 1 course as two or three dissolutions. Tnis ma; be applicable, perhaps, to our present lamb like legislator?, though Mr. Strangways his spoken in favour of this very echemi on the ground that it would admit 0 the Council being ventilated by more thai one dissolution in case of emergency. Bu! what the framers of a Constitution have to look to is not what may be ' likely' at tht present moment. They have to consider tht tendencies of popular assemblies in moment of excitement, and to ask themselves wbethe it would be wise to place the one House s- much within the power of the other as t- enable the Assembly to bring about the disst lution of one-half or two. thirds of the Counci whenever it thought fit to do so. Undoubtedly the Assembly is the ' people' House,' and the demands of the people mus be listened to. But it makes all the difforenc as to whether the tfll-ct of popular feelinj upon the legislation of a country shall be direc or indirect. Our Constitution at present pro vides— and thia is a matter which the electon hate not complained of— that the Council shal be a check upon the Assembly— a fiaftgbard, i neceBsary, against Lasty and reckleBS legisla tion. Why, lien, alter this ? The Ccunci has never abused its power in this colony; an- even as regtrds Victoria, wnere the members 0 the Upper House are elected on a high qualifi cation and a nat row franchise, the publii opinion of other countries 13 strongly in fuvou: of the Council as against the Assembly. Bu even if lhe,ch»e were ether wisp, no experienci drawn from Victoria, whose Upper House— consisting solely of landed proprietors— repre sents but a small number of tbe community should be used as art argument against oui Upper House, whose members belong to al classes, and whose constituents number, al least 15,000. The fact that the Legislative Council 0 this colony is elected 'on a low franchisi is an additional reason why the tlectior of its members should not take place undei the eatne circumstances as the election ol members for the Assembly. If a Senate is to be of any use at all it must differ, al least iu this matter, from a House of Repre sentatives. But for this we might as wel have only one Chamber. There is no one however, who now advocates legislation bj an Assembly alone. Young Colonies anc long-established States, Bepublics anc Monarchies, have nearly all found it desirablt to adopt the ' bicameral' form of Legislature All kinds of expedients have been tried, anc many failures have occurred from the abeeno of suitable taw material of which to make Uppei Houses or Chambers of Peers. Still ' the othei branch of the Legislature' has been found 1 necessity. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island which tried single Chambers after the otkei American States had adopted them, soot came round to the general practice. Franc* is obliged to tolerate its Senate, anc Prussia its Herrenhaus; but perhap3 tht oddest 'other House' at present to bt met with is the one owned by the sturdj Norwegians— an Upper Chamber chosen cul of the Lower Chamber by the people's repre sentatives themselves. That the Legislative Council is a valuable part of our own Constitution is now admitted by all classes of politicians. Its occasional quarrels with the Assembly have been in reference to matters of privilege. So increase of harmony would theiefore be gained bj leisening the independence of the Council; for disputes as to the relative powers of the Chambers would be still just as likely to occur as they are now. Stathaibyx Tkamwat Bill.— This BUI, which Daa fortunately not been arrested in its course by any fresh proposal to hare a Select Committee ou routes and deviations, ia now in a fiir way of being Bent to the Legislative Council. The whole of the clauses have been passed by the Assembly, and the third reading will probably take place to-morrow. Ocbax Postal Sbbtick.— A further despatch has been laid before Parliament, containing a letter from Lord Stanley of Alderley, in reply to the complaints from this colony. He states that he shall be prepared at all times to con sider an oiler from any Company desirous of performing the postal service, and says, in answer to the address of our 'House of Representatives,' that he had no intention of intuiting the colonists by threjtening an in crease of postage. We subjoin two paragraphs of the despatch : — 'As regards the alleged insult, I need scarcely observe thai none such was for a moment intended ; and I trust that the House of Representatives will, on reconsideration, be of opinion that the course which was adopted (and which is the same as in the case of such ot the other Australian Colonies as demanded provisions which, with a due regard to the general interests, could not be allowed) was the only proper course. 'Merely to h&ve pointed out that the reply from the colony was not in the form required, and that the stipulations could not be agreed to, without apprising the colonists of the results that would 'ollow an adherence to those stipulations, would have given real cause of complaint, seeing that by -uch a proceeding the new contract might have pome into operation while the colony was still in the dark on the subject, and thus the first clear announcement to it might have been that the postage had in fact been raised to the extent mentioned.' The Gold Regulations.— We understand that £e new Gold Regulations will probably be gazetted (his week. It will be seen, however, that Mr. Strangways has given notice of motion to the effect that they ought to be laid on the table of the Assembly before they are gazetted, which may :ause some delay.
The Corokeb.— We understand that Dr. Wood forde's resignation of the Coronership was accepted in Cabinet yesterday. There are several applica tions for the office, which, however, has not yet been filled up. The Camels ajjd DoxsKra.— As to the voyage of these interesting and likely to be useful new chums, we have learned that the entire mortality between Kurrachee and Port Augusta was three camels and two donkeys -certainly much less than might have been expected. The English November Mail— In 1851 the November 'mail arrived January 12; in 1862; on January 11; in 1863, on January 12; in 1864, on January 21 ; and in 1865, on January 16. The Designs for New Gejterai, Post and Telegbaph Offices.— We understand another handsome design (from Sydney) has been received by the Government, and is no w exhibited with the others. White Trousers for Volunteers.— We be lieve that white summer trousers will be issued to day, at the Staff Office, to the members of the First Adelaide and City Rifles calling there foi same. Those two companies meet for drill this evening. Horticultural and Flobicultural Society. —The annual meeting of the Horticultural and Floricultural Society was to have been held on Tuesday ; but there not being a sufficient numbei of members to form a quorum, it was adjourned to February 6. Port Wakefikld.- We understand that Captain Douglas is at present engaged with H.M.R.C Flinders in surveying Port Wakefield-an im portant and useful work. The Weather in the South-East.— A corre spondent writing from Narracoorte, January 3, says :— ' The last rains did a great deal of good to tbe crops at Mount Gambier; but unless early rainf fall in the district, stockholders will suffer verj much, as the country is fully two months in advance of the usual Beason.' Vital STATi3Tics.-The number of births and deaths registered in the District of Adelaide during the two weeks ended Saturday, the 6th of January, were:-Birthj-85 males, 58 females; deaths-5e males, 57 females. Total, 143 births; 113 deaths. Excess of births, 30. Printing for the Municipal Council.-!] our report of the Town Council meeting on Mon day, it should have been stated that the Fmanw Committee reported on the contracts for printing as well as for stationery. The lowest contract foi printing was Mr. Sherring'a, which was accepted ou the recommendation of the Committee. The Marino Boat Accident.— a very full meeting of the Committee was held at the Pier Hotel on Monday evening, January 8, when the Treasurer's accounts were passed and the question of appropriation of funds was considered. The total amount in hand, after deducting all was Bhown to be £410, out of which a former meeting had decided that £25 should be assigned to Biddle's posthumous child, for which no provision had been made in the Parliamentart grant. It was unanimously resolved that the balance of £385 should be appropriated at the rate of £41 5s. to each widow and £20 to each orphan. This, with the Parliamentary grant 0f £100 to each widow and £25 to each child, will make the several amounts as follow: — Mrs Biddle and three children, £276 5s.; Mrs. Skull and three children, £276 5s. ; Mrs. Barber and children, £231 5s. ; Mrs. Gard and three £276 5s. -total, £1,060, being £630 from tht Parliamentary grant and £410 from the public subscription. Immigrants for the South. — The Eclal arrived at Victor Harbour on Saturday, January 6 from Port Adelaide, conveying immigrants fo engagements in the South. There were 41 in all the adults, about 30 in number, chiefly consistinf of married couples. Considerable interest wai evinced in the disembarkation of the novel cargo which was handed over to the care of Mr. B. Mein and by him conveyed to Port Elliot and located ir the Govemment.Stores. We were pleased to lean that on Monday last nearly all of them had beei engaged, and that it was expected not one woult be left unemployed after Tuesday, Caution to Parents.— On Tuesday morning s little boy, about eight or nine years of age, whe was hanging behind a railway. ran proceeding ui King William-gtreet, by some means missed hL hold and fell, striking his temple on a stone causing a serious-looking gash. He was taken into Alain &Geyer's shop, where he was at once attended to. He was able shortly afterwards tc leave, without having sustained any other injurj than that alluded to. Collision.— On Tuesday morning about a quarter past 11 o'clock the horse attached to a dog cart, the property of Mr. J. Hawkins, of Payne ham, bolted from Dunn's store, Freeman-street. In turning the corner of Victoria-square, by the Government Offices, it came into collision with a North Adehide cab. belonging to AL O'Loghlan, which it knocked over on its side. The driver and a female passeneer were thrown out, tbe lattei escaping with a few not very severe bruises and scratches. The trap, however, was considerably damaged, and the horse in it had its knees grazed. The deg-cart, by the force of the shock, was turned completely upside down and 6mashed in front ol the Town Hall. Insolvency CouRT.-The case of Renjamin Pascoe came before the Commissioner of Insol vency on Tuesday, and after a brief examination of Mr. Meredith (an opposing creditor) and the insolvent, the meeting was adjourned to January 16. Adelaide Police Court.— On Tuesday there were several cases of assault and battery coupled with provocative language, the heaviest infliction being a fine of £5. Port Corporation.— The Council met on Mon day evening, January 8, all the members being present, for the purpose of hearing appeals against the new assessment.. Several were received and considered, but, with one exception, all the assess ments were confirmed. The consideration of several oriier notices of appeal was postponed, and the meeting was adjourned to Thursday next. The Semaphore JEm.-The addition to this Important public structure is becoming an accom plished fact, the piles for two of the bays being driven, and the steady operation of the men employed promises fan-, should favourable weather ensue, for a finish in about six weeks. It was ex pected some steps would be taken to procure an additional 60 feet, so as to aflord 120 feet of shelter from westerly gales; but the matter has not yet been brought before the Marine Board, though, of course, there is still ample tune. Railway PLANT.-Many years have elapsed since the Theodore brought here the first locomo tive engines for the railway, and Mr. Clark, the Superintendent, had no small anxiety in landing those ponderous machines under the management of Mr. J. Haius; but the colony has somewhat progressed since then. The Lincoln has on board the fifteenth importation of a similar character. It is oae of Stevenson's bogie engines, and is com puted to weigh about 11 tons; but the ingenious sheers and tackles of bygone days are superseded by the Company's crane, under which the vessel will be hauled on Monday, for the purpose of weighing the engine from her hold. Ic will be placed on the rails and towed to the fitting-shops in town preparatory to being completed. It will be one of the best of the kind ever brought into the colony. A New Colonial Manufacture.— Now and then we are called upon to give a description of some addition to the list of our colonial manu factures; but it is seldom that we have to chronicle one of so much importance to the general com munity as that which has recently been under taken by Messrs. Bean Brothers, namely, the manufacture of uppers of boots and shoes of various descriptions, instead of importing them from England. For some considerable tims the desirability of manufacturing uppers in the colony has been spoken of; but no person appeared to be willing to venture on such an undertaking, taere-being grave doubts as to whether such would prove successful. However, some time since Messrs. Bean Brothers determined to make the attempt. The first difficulty which they ex perienced was that of obtaining the services of persons acquainted with the work. By-and-by two new arrivals from England were secured, and set to work. Orders began to flow in to such an extent that the enterprising manufacturers found it necessary to engage other workmen, and they have at present 14 hands, but with this number Messrs. Bean Brothers find it difficult to supply all their customers, so it is their intention to have two or three other machines. Many persona have hitherto entertained a decided aversion to colonial made boots, in consequence of the .workmanship having such a rough appearance; bqt this ob jection is overcome by Messrs. Bean Brothers, who showed us on Tuesday some uppers with spring-sides and various other t boots and shoes which we should think would please the most fastidious. As to their durability we may state that those who have worn them Bpeak highly of their wearing qualities. Patent Blasting Compound Company.— The shareholders in the Australasian Patent Blasting Compound Company held their half-yearly general meeting at the Teiminus Hotel North-terrace, on Monday, the 8th instant; Mr. Thomas Martin in the chair. The report stated that the manufacture of the patept safety compound had been very satis factorily commenced in Melbourne, and nearly 20 tons had already been made. The testimonials from various captains and managers of quartz reefs, mines, and quarries were very flattering, and it was thought, from what miners generally said about its safety and strength, that it would soon come into general use. The price (Sd. per lb.) had militated agamst its sale, blasting powder being sold at present at the low price of Bd. per lb., on account of the great quantity of that article now in the market. The Directors had now instructed the Manager to sell the compound at 6d. per lb., and in future to allow the price to fluctuate with the market to a certain degree. Thu Director were re-elected, Mr. Samuel Cornish being added to their number. The balance-sheet was adopted by the shareholders, Bubject to its being passed by the Auditors.