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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55

The Australian Colonies

The Australian Colonies.

In Victoria very little organised progress has been made in the direction of the aims of this Society. True a Land Nationalization Society exists whose "objects" are a copy of our own, but we see nothing to show that it is vital. The death of the late Mr. Greaham—a man whose memory we must ever respect for his ability, his great earnestness, and his unselfish advocacy of an unpopular cause—was, without doubt, a serious blow to the spread of our principles in the sister colony. Nevertheless, there are signs of reviving activity in Victoria. Two public meetings have been held in Melbourne during the past year to discuss the question of land nationalization. Dr. Quick and Mr. Mirams, both members of the legislature, have published able pamphlets on the subject. Dr. Quick says—"The wholesale alienation of the public lands and their stealthy but rapid absorption into large estates, is a crime and a calamity which can only be averted by the steady, intelligent, and irresistible opposition of the people of Victoria to a policy at once demoralising and destructive. The People's Tribunepersistently advocates nationalization, and the Ageexpressed satisfaction with the Bill providing for the substitution of leasing for sale of some portion of the limited area of land still owned by the people of that colony. Within the past month we have heard that a Society has been started in Sydney, N.S.W., with like objects to our own. It will advocate the cessation of sales of the Crown Lands and the substitution of leasing, and proposes to restore to the State the ownership of land already sold by such means as the people, or their representatives, may deem best. On behalf of the S.A.L.N.S. I have communicated with the gentlemen who are taking an active part in the matter, and we have sent them a parcel of our manifesto, the lay sermon, and other publications. About a year ago a number of powerful contributed articles on the land question appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, and were followed by others in the Evening News, but, so far as I have noticed, the only journal whose editorial utterances on the subject are in our favor is that very ably conducted and liberal paper, the Sydney Bulletin. In Queensland members of the Ministry have spoken, and a section of the press has written in favor of State leasing and nationalization, but, so far as I am aware, there is no organized movement afoot to further those objects. In New Zealand much more activity prevails, and during my recent visit to those islands I was pleased to find a wide-spread, although passive, feeling against private property in land. This is doubtless in great measure owing to the teaching of Sir George Grey, and more recently to that of the present Premier, the Hon. Robt. Stout, who is an earnest and able advocate of land nationalization. There is a society in existence in Auckland doing good work, and there had been another in Christchurch. I was told that efforts to revive it would be made during this winter. Many pamphlets bearing on the question, written and published in the colony, were presented me, and I have circulated them among the members of this Society. Sir Julius Vogel, with his scheme for a State pawnshop, will probably be one of the greatest opponents to radical land reform in New Zealand. I now have to speak of