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T H E Kalgoorlie Miner PUBLISHED DAILY. TUESDAY, JANUARY. 3o, 1900.
LION, OR WOLF ?
It was surmised lately that Mr Hacket in his interview with the 'Melbourne' Argus,' had detected a Lion in the Path -of the ' Separation ists. The trouble is that the new State, though it may pay- over its proper share of the loan money, will have no guarantee that the old colony will devote the funds thus paid- over to their legitimate purpose —
that is to paying so much off to the British money-lender. The Constitu tion of West Australia provides that any portion that may at any time be come separated from the original colony must pay back to that colony the sum agreed oh as having been expended out of loan money in the territory separated/ And here is 'where the difficulty comes in :— iThe. new State will still be liable for' the whole- of the debt up to time of Separation — that isjliable in conjunc tion with the old colony. And though it may at once pay off the amount ' of the debt expended within its borders — pay it off to the old colony— should 'the latter misappropriate the money — a very possible contingency — the new State would still be responsible to the British creditor and might be called on to pay the money again. This is some what serious, and Mr Hackett, than whom no one is a better judge of the peculiar ways of West Australia under the existing regime, is to be thanked for his timely warning. Of course Auralia — if it be not premature to use the sug gested name — of course Auralia would have to bear her share of responsibility for payment of the money borrowed up to date of Separation. The money was lent on the guarantee of the whole pro vince, and John Bull is not likely to re lease the best part of his security. By and-bye,when the whole of Australia has been brought into the Commonwealth, the latter will be responsible also. In or dinary circumstances, when one partner withdraws from a firm — as will be the case when Auralia severs her connection with the old Gropers — arrangements are made to release ' the retiring partner from his shai£ of the firm's debts, if any, and the latter is able to make him self quite safe. -The conditions, how ever, are totally different here, as Mr Hackett has so thoughtfully and so kindly pointed out. It will not be sufficient to advertise in the local newspapers that Mesdames Auralia. and- r-oper have dis#?lyj4
partnership and that all deits will be paid by the latter. John lull would only laugh, and take iVo notfle till he called round with his bill. \j[jfif'ortu nately, when the Constitution.ef West Australia was framed, certain )fdinary customs as to com-mefciai Integrity were relied onj and it was not [contem plated that, in a separated por,tbn pay ing over its share of the debt \o the original colony, any risk would ^be in curred. Mr Hackett, a shrewd and far-seeing man, and knowing so well the parties concerned, has laid his finger on a certain weakness that, when the proper time comes, will have to be car.efully guarded against. It would never do for Auralia to make a bad debt at the start, and forewarned is forearmed. But although Mr H&c- kett's warning may set people think ing seriously there is really nothing in it to imperil the consummation of Separation — it merely shows that great watchfulness and care will have to be exercised, at the time when Sep aration has become an accomplished fact The Commonwealth itself, and each individual State thereof, will use its moral and other influences to pre vent any misappropriation of trust funds, the possibility of which is so plainly indicated. ' It would be a very bad joke indeed to play off on a young country, to take its money and keep up' its responsibility for the same as though it had'neye'r been paid. Mr Hackett, while giving the old Settle ment due credit— or . discredit— for ' the methods it acquired in the old convict days, must not underrate the capacity ,of the people who will have the con duct of affairs under 'the new order of .things to take all^ possible care of their own. At' a first glance it might appear that Mr Hack6tt — to, whom all credit is' due for his friendly caution — had discerned a Lion in- the. Path. ? But on .closer inspection 'it is'discerned that the thing is not a Lion at all, only a Wolf, a very hungry , one certainly, and rendered still more ravenous 'be cause it has. tasted so much blood — only a .Wolf, and a very scurvy and cowardly one at .that! ' ' . ' . ? - l