HC Deb 09 March 1891 vol 351 cc484-5
MR. W. PRITCHARD-MORGAN (Merthyr Tydvil)

I beg to ask the Attorney General, as regards the colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia, has the Crown parted with or transferred to the Legislatures of those colonies, not only the management and control of the waste lands of the Crown, but the gold and silver contained therein in such a way that the Crown cannot ever again make any claim to the gold and silver or to royalties thereupon; whether the Government is aware that the respective Governments of the colonies referred to insert in leases to work for gold a reservation that the grant is made "except as against Her Majesty," or "subject to Her Majesty's rights;" whether the effect of such reservations would enable the Crown, during the existence of such leases, to terminate such leases or resume possession of such mines; whether, on the termination of any such leases in the colonies referred to, Her Majesty could refuse to renew such leases, and take possession of such mines without compensation; whether the Crown is in receipt of any royalties from the gold and silver mines in the colonies referred to; and does the gold and silver in all Her Majesty's possessions, except the colonies referred to, still belong to the Crown; and, if so, does the Crown charge or receive any royalties from gold or silver mines in such possessions outside Great Britain?


The hon. Member appears to confound the rights of the Crown as represented in the United Kingdom by the Imperial Government and the rights of the Crown as represented in the colonies by the several Colonial Governments. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the laws and practices of the different colonies to say more than that the Imperial Exchequer is not in receipt of any royalties from the gold and silver mines in the colonies named. By the Act 18 and 19 Vict., cap. 56, Sac. 4, the Legislatures of Tasmania and South Australia are empowered to regulate the sales and disposal of the waste lauds of the Crown and the disposal of the proceeds arising there from for the public service of those colonies respectively. By the Act 15 and 16 Vict., cap. 72, Sec. 72, the General Assembly of New Zealand is empowered to make laws for regulating the sale, disposal, and occupation of the waste lands of the Crown. The different Australasian Colonies have, therefore, it would seem, power to deal with the Crown's royalty of gold and silver, but I am unable to tell the hon. Member in what way that power is exercised. In other colonies I understand that the Legislature, under its general powers of legislation, enacts its own regulations for gold fields, which, if assented to and not disallowed by Her Majesty, form the law of the colony upon this subject. I am informed that the Imperial Exchequer receives no royalties from the colonies in gold or silver.

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