No corrections yet
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
BRISBANE, Nov. 1.
The Parliament of Queensland is to meet for the despatch of business next week, and will havo its hands full of work for the remainder of the year. Of the members returned at the general election, three have already resigned, of whom one, Mr. Tozer, was elected by the constituency of Wide Bay, on the understanding that if Mr. King, who oat for Wide Bay in the last Parliament, should fail in his attempt to wrest the repré- sentation of Maryborough from Mr. Walsh, Mr. Tozer should resign in his favour. Mr. Walsh succeeded in beating Mr. King by a veiy narrow majority, and Mr. King has since been returned for Wide Bay without opposition. One of the seats for the Burnett is vacant by the resignation of Mr. Moreton, a Ministerialist, who will probably be suc- ceeded by a member of the same party ; and one of the seats for Hast Moreton by the resignation of Mr. Jordan, whose name is identified with the question of Queensland immigration, but who is now largely engaged in sugar-planting, and finds that his business requires his undivided attention. Por East Moreton two candidates are in the field-one, Mr. Douglas, late agent-general of the colony, who has announced himself as an independent candidate, with private griev- ances against the Palmer Administration, opposed to their general policy, yet prepared to support them in any lona fide attempt they may make to grapple with the difficult question of re-adjusting the representation of the colony on a fair basis. The programme of the Opposition comprises the resumption of immigration on a large scale; tho ex- penditure of money on what they describe as remunerativo public works, especially the extension of tho South-Western Railway from Ipswich to Brisbane ; additional repre- sentation, the readjustment of the electorates, and the imposition of a tax on the occupied lands of the colony. Mr. Douglas holds that the questions of readjusting the boundaries of the present electorates and of providing 'additional representation for the present population ought to take precedence of all other business, but on general questions he expresses himself as quite prepared to give his [support to the Opposition. His viows, however, are not sufficiently thorough to satisfy tho leading members of tho Opposi- tion, whose chief, Mr. Lilley, is in want of a " mon verymuch in earnest, who will be as hot as fire, consuming every evil principle ho finds before him." Mr.Douglos, therefore, is opposed by Mr. Hemmant, who has Mr. Lilley's hearty support, and is working very hard, and re- peating his hustings speech night after night in various districts of the eloctorate, with the view of securing the vacant seat. It is diffi- cult to estimate the chances of the rival candidates, but on tho whole it is not improbable that the verdict of the East More- ton constituency will bo in favour of Mr. Douglas.
The ponding elections will havo littlo ap- preciable effect on the strength of the opposing parties in tho House. Of the 30 members who aro ready to take the oaths next week Mr. Palmer's supporters number l8. Even supposing him to lose tho Burnett, he will still have a sufficient majority to carry on the business of the country against all fair, as distinguished from factious, opposition. His policy has not boen declared, but as it is currently bo lieved that tho 10 Ministerialists who wore returned a few weoks ago represented tho viows of under 6,000 electors, whilst the 13 members of the Opposition reprobated the views of over 13,000, it is morally certain that Mr. Palmer will invite Parliament to consider the question of readjusting tho re- presentation, either on a basis proposed by himcolf a few months ago, or on some other basis more likely to give general satisfaction than his former idea of splitting up the colony into 40 electorates, each to return a single member. Probably, also, the question of separating tbo colony into financial dis- tricts will bo brought forward again by the Ministry ; whilst the land acts of the colony aie not unlikely to requiro further amend- ment, especially in respect to providing
some plan for the proper classification of nnalienated public' lands. It is pretty cortain, again, that Mr. Pring's report on the Queensland gold-fields will be con- sidered, and that a new gold-fields act will ho passed, embodying the' result of his inquiries, at tbe beginning of tho year. Pos sibly, also, the fact that the revenuo of Queensland for tbo current year is almost certain to exceed tho expenditure may induce Mr. Palmer to waive his objections to the construction of tho Brisbane and Ipswich railway, about the effect of which on the general prosperity of the colony most extra- vagant expectations aro ontertained by the leaders of the Opposition. At the worst, tbe construction of that line would entail a small annual increase on the expenditure of tho colony ; and even if the gradual growth of the population were not cortain to lighten the an- nual burden per head of the loss from Queens- land's premature investments in railways, it is desirable that provision should be made for continuing the Southern and Western Railway to Brisbane, so that Parliament might be relieved of a question which, so loug as it remains unsettled, will stand in the way of legislation for the general-good. If Mr, Palmer yields on the question of the Brisbane and Ipswich Railway, there will bo no factious opposition on the Estimates for the coming year, including provisions for tho postal -arrangements suggested by the Mel- bourne Conference, which seem to bo in accordance with the wishes of the English Postmaster General, and to meet the approval of the people of Queensland.
Mr. Macalister, the Speaker of the late Parliament, is without a scat in the present Assembly, and is said to be unwilling to sit for a squatting constituency. It is possible, howover, that ho may bo brought forward for the Burnett, in which event some tcmporaiy arrangement may bo mado about the Speakership of the new House, for which Mr. Forbes, one of the members for Ipswich, is understood to be a candidate. Mr. Forbes was chairman of committees in the late Houso, and has claims on his party which would be cheerfully acknowledged if his selection as Speakor were likely to give satisfaction either to the House or to the colony at large. The appoint- ment of Mr. Ramsay, whose indifferent health compelled him to resign tho Colonial Trea. surership in the present Administration in favour of Mr. J. P. Bell, would be much more popular ; and though it has been lately stated that Mr. Ramsay does not desire to be Speaker, it is possible that he may be selected to fill the chair, at all events during Mr. Macalister^ absence from the House. Mr. Pring, who is a member of the Opposition, would make a capital Speaker, if he were free to accept the office. But ho has accepted retainers to appear at the Roma District Court next week, in some important cases of cattlestealing, and will bo out of the way of temptation.
The Queensland Statistical Register for 1870 has just been issued, from which it appears that the present population of Queensland is estimated at 120,000. The area of land under cultivation in 1870 was over 52,000 acres, of which nearly 15,000 acres were under cotton andoverG.OOOacreswereundersugar cane. The bonus on the production of cotton ceases this j ear; notwithstanding which, it is expected that the crop will continue to increase in im- portance year by year, towards which result ex- periments now being made to utilise the cotton seed, and likely to be successful, will doubtless contribute. For the present yoar, the yield is estimated at 8,000 bales. The production ol sugar is already in excess of the local demand, and anattemptis about tobe mado to introduce Queensland sugar into the home market, with every prospect of remunerative returns, Fresh discoveries of gold reefs aro reported avery week ; and satisfactory accounts of the 3 ield of gold continue to bo received from all the established gold-fields, as also of the yield of copper from tho copper minos of the north Tho wool clip of the present yoar is fast comioi to hand ; and though the year has been i (lying ono to those interested in pastora pursuits, satisfactory îeturns are expected whilst the improvement in the prico of thii stpale makes the prospects of the squatter) higher than thoy have been for severa
The incoming mail has brought the intelli genco that the Marquis of Normanby is likob to succeed the Earl of Belmore as Governoi of New South Wales. His Excellency hoi justreturned from the North, whore ho visitée most of the towns of importance as far ai Caldwell. At Rockhampton, tho question o Separation was brought before him by Mr Shaw, the chairman of the local Soparatioi Committee ; but his lordship, whilst doclininf to commit himself, did not oxpress an: sympathy with the viows of which Mr. Shav was the exponent. Elsewhere tho Marquis o Normanby made some remarks in referenoi to the duties incumbent on the employers o Polynesian labour, to which exception wa taken a day or two ago by Mr. Hemmant tho opposition candidate for East Moreton But as his lordship seems to have sait little more than that, in his opinion, the dut; of the employers of Polynesian labour is ti endeavour to civilise and christianise thi Polynesians upon whom their influence ma; bo exerted, Mr. Hemmant's strictures migh very well have been spared. Tho question o what is the duty of tho employers of Poly uesian labour to Polynesians already ii Queensland, has littlo bearing on the ques tion, with which the present Parliamen ought to deal without dolay, as to whetho Queensland _ ought to be rolioved from th stigma of encouraging a form of slavery oi her sugar plantations by the repeal of th act under which Polynesians are brought ti the colony ; and which, whatever its inten tion, was powerless to prevent the cnormitio lately forced on the attention of the Queens land public by tho report of tho Govornmen aaont on board the Jason.