HC Deb 24 November 1884 vol 294 c280

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, as five of the Australian Colonies are willing to confederate, he will now propose the Enabling Bill which, in reply to the then Member for Waterford County, he expressed his readiness to introduce in the closing days of the last Session?


I will not say that the expressions used in the Question are incorrect, but they might; mislead. The draft Bill which was under consideration is not what is commonly understood by a Bill to enable the Australasian Colonies to confederate. The word "confederate" is too wide. It is a Bill to enable them to establish simply a Federal Council for the purpose of dealing with certain questions of common interest, leaving Colonial institutions intact. It is more limited, then, than what is commonly understood by confederation. There is, however, such, a Bill; and the opinion of the Government about it is this. It is tolerably clear that if it were introduced it would require amendment in certain respects. That being so, the Government consider it would be the much more convenient course to have these amendments considered, in concert with the Colonies, before they produce the Bill in the Imperial Parliament.