HC Deb 09 February 1860 vol 156 cc719-20

said, he rose to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies if any and what proceedings have taken place consequent upon the transmission of a Petition to the Queen, signed by more than 5,000 inhabitants of Hobart Town, Tasmania, complaining of an Act passed in great haste by a minority of the Legislative Council, affecting the Constitutional privileges of the Electors.


said, that the facts with respect to that Tasmanian Act were as follows:—An Act had been passed to amend the constitution of the Legislative Council of Tasmania; and among other provisions, but not the most important of the whole number, was one which for the future would exclude all the Judges of the Supreme Court from seats in the Legislative Council. The immediate effect of that provision was to exclude from the Council a gentleman of great distinction and influence in the colony, Mr. Justice Home, lately Member for Hobart Town. That exclusion had been very much objected to by the constituents of the learned gentleman, and the petition presented that evening by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington), and very numerously signed, proceeded solely from those constituents. The provisions of the Act had nothing in them objectionable, and they probably formed an improvement on the pre-existing law. With respect to the mode in which the law was passed, he had to state that it was passed legally when a quorum of the Legislative Council was sitting; and although passed in a way which we should consider in this country as rather sharp practice, yet the Government thought it was not a case in which Her Majesty should be advised to inter- pose her veto, and especially inasmuch as if there were anything substantially unfair in the way in which the law was passed, the constituencies of Tasmania had in their own hands a remedy in the powers which a free constitution gave them.