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3 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

- Queensland Notes.

BRISBANE, September 5.  

"Whatever the other States may do in the matter of reducing their legislative expenses, Queens- land is not going to do anything of the kind. Other States may bow their diminished heads be- fore the Federal Government, but Queensland will make no obeisance. Other States may whittle away their legislative dignity by reduc- iug the numerical strength of their Assemblies, but Queensland will have none of such cheese- paring and questionable economy. As this State entered the Commonwealth, so she proposes to remain, abating not a jot of her status as a sove- reign State, admitting neither superfluity nor ex- travagance in her governing machinery. That, at any rate, is the position taken up by the pre- sent Government, and, as there is no immediate probability of the present .Government becoming the past Government, it may be assumed the   State policy is definitely settled. The Govern-   ment were asked in Parliament the other day if they intended taking steps to reduce the num- ber of members in the House, and to provide for the redistribution of seats. The reply was a plain and emphatic "No," and many legislators breathed much more freely after that assurance.   The propriety of a reduction at any rate equiva-   lent to the number sent to the Federal Parlia   ment had been urged both inside the House and   outside, and as the Government had maintained   a Sphinx-like silence on the question, there was  

room for the suspicion that they might have a reform of that description up their sleeves. The   straight, blunt monosyllable, showed that that was  

not the case, and members, who would have   .felt it bad form to oppose any proposal of the  

kind, felt that a load had been removed from their minds. If the truth were known, the few members who suggested that Parliament offered good scope for the pruning knife were, doubtless, pleased that no surgical operations were contemplated. It is possible that Queens- land could get along with fewer legislators-some iconoclasts would cheerfully part with the lot of them-but when you consider the area of the State, its scattered population, its gnificent distances, Parliament is not seriously over-man- ned. It would be difficult, unless no constitu- ency were allowed to have more than one mem- ber, and that would give the sheep walks and the wilderness the same representation as the crowd- ed centres of population, to decide where to economise. On the whole, the Government have probably adopted the wiser course in resolving  

to maintain the strength of the Legislative As- sembly at 72. They have certainly escaped many a pitfall by doing so.

* * * * *

A peculiar departure from the ordinary course of Government has been suggested in the Legis- lative Council of the State, and has received the general approval of the representative of the Government in that Chamber. The idsa is to es- tablish a joint committee of .both Houses to look after Federal matters. Its originator is the Hon. A. H. Barlow, one of the strongest opponents of

                         

the Federal union which the State possessed prior to the consummation of the union, Mr, Barlow's scheme is probably deeper than it ap- pears to be at first glance. It is not born of any love for the Commonwealth, because Mr. Barlow is probably, a firmer believer in Queensland as a separate and sovereign State than ever he was. Apparently, he wishes to create a body which will watch the doings of the Federal Govern- ment with greater vigilance than the Executive do at present. On the face of it, that might appear to he a sort of reflection upon the Executive, but it is evident that the Govern- ment do not regard it in that way, or they would not have given Mr. Barlow their support. They have really done more harm than that, for the Minister for Education, who leads for the Govern-

ment in the Council, has taken over Mr. Barlow's

proposal, and undertaken the selection of the per-   sonnel of the committee. Evidently, the latter is   designed to be an auxiliary, rather than a rival of   the Executive. It will be interesting to see how   the experiment will work. The first experiences of

Federation do not appear to have occasioned any-   thing like elation in Quensland, and this constitu-  

tion of a sort of Council of State to watch Federal matters is rather an evidence of discontent than one of satisfaction.

* * * *

A comprehensive slang dictionary is not pre- sumed to be an essential volume in a lawyer's library. Possibly, it is thought they pick up enough, in their callow days in the police and criminal courts to serve all ordinary purposes. Those, however, who watch the proceedings in

the higher courts frequently have occasion to doubt   the sufficiency and accuracy of the judicial- know-   ledge of this branch of learning. Not to put too   fine a point upon it, judges and lawyers are often   nonplussed by the lingual peculiarities, or vagaries,     of witnesses. A judge may know all the intri-  

cacies of the criminal law and all the "nice" points   in Equity and common law, and be lament- ably ignorant of the slang terms, or the cherished colloqualisms, of a section of the people. This, of course, is to be regretted, and no doubt detracts from the respect with which the criminal class regard the bench and bar. Mr. Justice Power, who presides over the Supreme Court in the Central Division, was recently compelled to confess a lack of knowledge in this respect; and there are not many subjects over which his Honor would admit a want of jurisdiction. The case was redolent of slang terms, curiously illustrative of the perverse way in which the language is corrupted, or amplified. One witness said the constable "had been sling- ing off" at him about a dog. His Honor did not quite grasp the point of the remark, and the

witness simplified it by substituting the words  

"throwing off." "Does that, mean 'letting the  

dog loose?' " asked the judge. "No," said the     witness, "it means talking about a dog." The    

next difficulty was a statement that the prisoner   had won a cheque at "gaffing," and this upon inquiry his Honor ascertained meant "gambling."

Then came a complete poser in the sentence,

"Seeing that I was shiggared, rung it on to me." The judge, to vary one of Gilbert's heroes, "was not quite equal to the intellectual pressure of the remark." "Shiggared" was a word hitherto new

in ais court, and he was somewhat surprised when he learned that it was slang for "drunk." There was also some doubt as to the spelling and derivation of the term-which apparently is of- ten pronounced "shickered," and probably should be spelt "shikareed"-a by no means uncommon word in the lower stratum of society. There were other more or less puzzling departures from thé King's English; and it was only natural that   the judge should have remarked that he would have to obtain a "slang dictionary."

* * * *

In one of the Brisbane papers recently a critic has rebuked the members of rifle clubs for their luxurious habits, and questioned their utility as a branch of the defence force. He demonstrated by figures and arguments that they cost a great deal more than they are worth. That, however, is still a matter of opinion. There are some people who consider that the armies of the world are a monstrous waste of money, and from one point of view they are probably right. Apropos, however, of the suggestion that riflemen are too fastidious, it is worthy of remark that their of- ficers are not unanimously of that opinion. At a meeting of the Townsville Rifle Club the other day the referee rebuked some of the men for coming on the field unshaven; and was so dis- gusted with their bristly appearance that he de- ducted some points from their totals by way of  

punishment. It is not stated whether he was equally solicitous about the matutinal bath. A Charters Towers paper, in its anger at the of- fucer's "ultra particularity," if the term may be  

used, suggested that his ideal probably was a   team composed of Chinamen, or, better still, that   he should be elected president of the Ladies'     Rifle Club. It also somewhat angrily explained   that, as the competitors had to be on the range   three miles from town-from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,  

they had little time for personal adornment.  

The opinion with regard to rifle-  

men would herein appear to be varied. While in the south it has been averred that they are too particular, in the north a referee considers them too careless of personal appearance; and a paper opines that efficieney is more to be valued than strict attention to the morning toilet. It certainly does seem hard that good shots should be discounted by unshaven

chins.

* * * *

Till the Federal tariff has been promulgated, it will be impossible to guess with any certainty the financial position in which Queensland will stand at the end of the financial year. Queens- land stands to lose most by the changes which will be made in her Customs duties, which are bound to be considerably lowered. West Australia would be in a worse plight, but for the fact  

that the compact made with her places her in a   better position. The Estimates for the current

year have been*framed on the same basis as last year.jftfiutJ*he!.^r eásúiser does not profess to know 'fypWjbe^ilïï^ Federal tariff is de ! ¿cÍ3?drfUrjpn. Meanwhile, while the revenue for fthfe tâffîirfb/"ÍJWQthVV&aá been less than it was j inStbe JíQigésé'óÜAipS }rh'ohj;hs of last year, it com vp'aîr^3Nmore^^crrably/w'îth other months; and this só! rarva^.4t^_Qes,ri'â(i^as^uring. The total revenue laät^bni^/' irrespective of the departments taken over^^y^fiê^Oommonweaith, amounted to

£230,008, and for the two months to:. £52Í,812jr while the ^expenditure respectively waaf£2J0,633

and £411,495. Th$ saving'is"more apparent'lhaa real, for of course thi> expenses of the departments taken over'have to be taken into accoun*. ; Siw poFins the Commonwealth to have been in exist encn in July and August last year, and the pro portion of expenditure to have been the same, the* comparativè .position would be this: In those) months the collections of revenue came to> £648,044; whereas in the corresponding period of this year they have totalled £634,914, a consider able but not alarming difference. The excess of revenue over expenditure shown in the Trea surer's statement is £110,317, and no doubt he? would be a very happy man if he had already a surplus of that amount. It is apparent, however, that a tight rein is being kept upon expenditure. Some abnormal calls on the revenue, such aa plague and war expenditure, have disappeared, and elsewhere economy is being strictly enforc

ed, so that tho prospects oh the whole may ba' " said to be fairly satisfactory.

* * * *

The Governor-General is still a sojourner in the northern portion of the State, and, according to all accounts, is finding his residence in the vicinity of Cairns very agreeable, and from a health point of view decidedly beneficial. He could not have chosen a better time for his visit, for the climate even of Cairns is balmy and re- freshing at this season of the year. There is much to see at no great distance. There, are

the sugar plantations, the Cairns railway, and     the Barron Palls, and the conditions of life and     work generally, all of which must appeal with peculiar interest to a visitor. Perhaps His Ex- cellency's recognition of North Queensland as a desirable place to visit in the winter and spring will induce southerners, who often seek change

of scene away from the continent, to spend their   holidays nearer home. There are few coast- lines which can offer the same variety, and un- varying picturesqueness of scenery that the northern coast of Queensland affords. Once within the Barrier Reef, it is veritably sailing in summer seas, amid some of the most charming pictures that nature has painted. The beauties of Whitsunday Passage and Hinchinbrook Chan- nel need no puffing in these days. They speak with an unfailing eloquence of their own. Lord Hopetoun will soon pass through the former on his way south, and as he has decided to re-as-

sume his official character, elaborate preparations   have been made to welcome him both at Towns- ville and Brisbane. He is expected to arrive in Brisbane on Thursday week, and as he will come overland from Gladstone, he will be met at the the railway station by the Ministry, members of Parliament, and the Corporation. He will then be driven to Government House, where he will rest for the remainder of the day. On Friday he will hold a levee, and on Saturday will attend a picnic given by both Houses of Parliament in the steamer Lucinda. In the evening there will be a citizens' banquet in his honor. His Excel- lency will resume his southern journey on the

Tuesday.  

"GAETA."

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