HC Deb 26 August 1889 vol 340 cc489-91

I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Western Australia Constitution Bill will be taken after 12 o'clock tonight?


I should wish, in reference to the question of the hon. Baronet opposite, to ask the permission of the House to move to discharge the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of this Bill. I cannot but recognise that the Bill is a very important one in more ways than one. It affects an important community, and it is a measure in which the Australian Colonies take the deepest interest. If at the end of a Session and in a very thin House we were to ask that the Bill should be read a second time we should be scarcely doing justice to a question of this gravity. It is, therefore, more respectful to the colonies themselves, and in accordance with the interests of Western Australia, that I should ask that the consideration of the measure should be postponed until the early part of next Session, when we hope to reintroduce the Bill, and, if necessary, to refer it to the consideration and examination of a Select Committee. I beg to move that the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Bill be read and discharged, and that the Bill be withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Order of the Day for the Second Reading be discharged, and the Bill withdrawn."—(Mr. W. H. Smith.)


It is well known that this subject has excited much interest in Australia, and unless some progress is made with the measure the greatest difficulties may arise not only in Western Australia, but in other colonies as well. I hope that before next Session the Government will consider the propriety of separating the waste lands from the rest of the colonies. There is the strongest feeling in this country against depriving the poor man of his right to the waste lands in the colonies, and as to the necessity for Home Rule in the colonies in this respect.


The question of Home Rule does not arise on this Motion, which is merely that the Order be read and discharged, and the Bill withdrawn.


Then I will only express the hope that the Government in re-considering the matter will make a proposal which shall form the basis of a real settlement. I also hope that their proposal next Session will be brought forward sufficiently early to ensure its full discussion.


was understood to say that he doubted the propriety of withdrawing the Bill.


If the matter is to be discussed it would be better that I should withdraw the Motion for the discharge of the Order.


Hon. Members may remember that I have devoted some time to the consideration of matters relating to Australia, and I confess that the delay which has occurred in settling the question is a disappointment. I think the Government in postponing the settlement are incurring very great responsibility.

MR. GILL (Louth, S.)

I think the Secretary for the Colonies would have best consulted the interests of the Colonies if he had brought in the Bill at an earlier period of the Session. It is loudly called for by the people of Australia win have already received Responsible Government, and by Western Australia itself. I think the Government have done anything but treat the Colonies to that respectful consideration to which they are entitled.


The question is certainly one of enormous importance, and it must be dealt with by the Government at an early day.


I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give an undertaking on the part of the Government that the Bill will be re introduced at an early period next Session, and in this House, so that there may be ample opportunity for discussing it.


The hon. Member has failed to observe that I have already given that pledge.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill withdrawn.