§ MR. E. W. BECKETT (York, N.E., Whitby)
asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he is aware that an announcement has appeared in the Australian papers to the effect that West Australia has received a Constitution, and is to become shortly a self-governing Colony; whether such announcement has any foundation in fact; and, whether, before granting the Constitution, he will take into consideration the immense disparity between the population and the area of West Australia, its population being only about forty thousand (40,000), whereas the area of its territory is close upon 1,000,000 square miles?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Baron HENRY DE WORMS) (Liverpool, East Toxteth)
The announcement, which I had not seen, is, no doubt, founded upon the fact that a draft Bill for the introduction of responsible government has been approved by the Secretary of State, and has been under discussion in the Legislative Council of the Colony. The Bill, if it leaves the Council in a shape that can be accepted by Her Majesty's Government, cannot take effect without legislation in this country. Her Majesty's Government have not failed to consider the disproportion of population to the size of the Colony, and have made it a condition that they shall retain the control of the Crown Lands in the northern part of Western Australia.