HC Deb 28 February 1888 vol 322 cc1637-8
MR. KING (Hull, Central)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether there is any truth in the rumour that it has been in contemplation to grant responsible Government to Western Australia, having a population of under 45,000 souls, and a territory of 1,000,000 square miles, and whether Parliament will be consulted before any steps are taken to encourage or approve any such movements by the Colonial Office; whether he will state the quantity of Government lands which have been already alienated by the Goverment of the Colony, with the approval of the Colonial Office, distinguishing land sold from land leased, and will state the average price obtained per acre in each case; and, whether he will lay upon the Table of the House, a Return of all land grants, sales, or dealings by the Colonial Government during the past 10 years, stating the names of the grantees or lessees respectively, and, in the case of Sydicates or public Companies who have been Concessionaires, giving the names of the members of such Syndicates or Companies, and the terms and conditions of the Concessions in each case?


In reply to the hon. Member, I have to state that it is not proposed, in the event of responsible Government being introduced into Western Australia, to give to the present population the control of the whole of the Crown Lands within the boundaries of the Colony. It would be necessary to pass an Act before responsible Government could be established, so that Parliament will have full opportunity of considering the proposals, should they be proceeded with, before they can be carried out. Her Majesty's Government cannot, however, undertake to consult Parliament before deciding whether a Bill for the purpose should be introduced. The particulars of leases, sales, and grants of Crown Lands in Western Australia are not recorded in this country, and would, therefore, have to be obtained from the Colony. There would be no objection to procure them, in the event of a proposal being made to Parliament for legislation on the subject of the hon. Member's Question.

In further answer to MR. KING,


said, he was not able to lay the Returns asked for on the Table, but would make inquiry.

In answer to Mr. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.),


said, the approval of the Colonial Office would be necessary to any scheme proposed.