Annexation and Federation.
Speech delivered by the Hon. the Premier in the House of Representatives, November 8, 1884.
.—In moving these resolutions in regard to federation with the Australasian Colonies, I regret very much that I have to bring them forward at this time of the session; but, as honourable members are aware, the session has been of such a nature that it was almost impossible, if we were to get our Bills passed, that this discussion should have been begun sooner. Seeing, also, that we have not, perhaps, a long time to consider these resolutions, I shall have to make my remarks as brief as possible. The resolutions may be divided into two heads. There are, first, the resolutions which deal generally with what was done at the Convention; and, secondly, the resolutions dealing with the establishment of a Federal Council. As far as I am able to learn, and judging by the amendments of which notice has been given, there does not seem to be objection to any of the resolutions that deal generally with the duty of the Australasian Colonies towards the Pacific Islands and towards the Mother-country. The only difference of opinion is in regard to the Federal Council. I have, however, one or two words to say about these general resolutions. They deal, first, with the question of foreign Powers acquiring dominion in the Pacific, and I apprehend that the House will at once agree with the first resolution; the second follows, necessarily, from the first; and the third deals with the question of New Guinea. It will be noticed, that the second resolution, which I ask the House to agree to, as carrying out the general resolutions, commits us to pay a share, according to our population, of the sum of £15,000 asked for by the Imperial Government. Honourable gentlemen who have followed the correspondence which has been laid upon the table are already aware that Lord Derby said to the colonies that, if they desired a protectorate over New Guinea, they must be prepared to pay the expense of a High Commissioner, and also to aid in providing him with a steamer, or some other accommodation, for getting about the islands. He proposed that they should contribute £15,000; and I think all the colonies have consented to pay their share of the £15,000—I mean all the colonies to whom the question has been put—Tasmaniat South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Fiji, and Queensland, In fact, most of the colonies have passed special Acts providing for the payment of their proportion of the amount. Since the question came up at the Convention, as honourable members are aware, the Home Government have proclaimed a protectorate, not over New Guinea, but over a part of it—the southern portion, of it; and, after that was done, a telegram was sent to the colonies by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, stating that General Scratchley had been appointed Special Commissioner to control the British Protectorate in New Guinea, and that he would sail about the 20th November, He goes on to say,—
"Please inquire, and state by telegraph, whether your Government, and other contributing Governments, agree to be represented in the Council. It is intended that Special Commissioner, who will be independent of High Commissioner, shall have jurisdiction over all, persons within British Protectorate; and that no land shall be acquired there, except through him. He also will be Deputy-Commissioner for portions of New Guinea outside British Protectorate, Admiralty recommend purchase in England, steamer for Special Commissioner; estimated cost, arrive in Sydney, £16,000 or £18,000. To make him efficient, £15,000 guaranteed must be considerably increased."
It will also be noticed that several of the colonies which agreed to pay their proportion of £15,000 have refused to give the second contribution asked; and, so far as the Government of New Zealand is concerned, we do not see our way to advise this Parliament to give any further aid than the proportion of £15,000 according to population, because wo feel that, so far as New Guinea is concerned, New Zealand has practically little interest in its Protectorate. We hope, however, that if a Protectorate is established for New Guinea that will only be the beginning of a further Protectorate that will include many Pacific Islands not now under any settled Government; and our object in asking tho House to agree to this resolution to pay a proportion of £15,000 is to see, if a proper Protectorate is created for New Guinea, whether
the English Government will not extend the Protectorate over other islands. This question touches on the relationship in which we should stand to the Pacific Islands, and how the Pacific should in future be governed. That may be termed the first question which arises before I come to deal with the question of the Federal Council; and I apprehend that to New Zealand, more than to the Continent of Australia, the future government of the Pacific Islands is of immense importance. It was pointed out long ago, by a celebrated geographer—Guyot—that New Zealand was, strange to say, the centre of what he termed "the Water Hemisphere;" and it was pointed out by him that, if New Zealand made the most of her opportunities, she would come to be looked upon as the centre of the Pacific Islands, giving to them her manufactured goods and receiving from them their raw products, being looked upon as their commercial depot. And I may point out that, in the older days, this was seen by many in New Zealand. The honourable member for Auckland East, in the grants of land which he made to various Churches for the purpose of education, put a provision in his grants that the endowment was to be held for the purpose of educating, not only the people of New Zealand, but children from the Pacific Islands; and I believe it was his intention that the sons of chiefs from many of the Pacific Islands should receive education in New Zealand, and, after they left New Zealand, carry with them the culture obtained here, and thus help to civilize the Pacific Islands. I may go further and say that this colony has enormous interest in the question how the Pacific Islands are to be governed in the future. There are three points of view from which this question of the future of the Pacific Islands may be looted at. There is, first, the danger of a foreign Power having control in the Pacific Islands, in the—I hope far remote—contingency of any troubles or war arising in which we may become implicated, There is, then, the question of danger to us through any of the Pacific Islands being made depots for European crirninals. Then, there is the third point of view, to which I have slightly referred—namely, the need of closer trade relationship. As to the first danger, of foreign dominion in the Pacific, I apprehend that we, who are laying the foundations of a new nation, must look far ahead into the future and remember this: that even a slight thing may alter what is termed the tide of history. And if we so provide that the whole of the Pacific Islands shall be united together in some bond of friendship, and that, whether they are peopled by one nationality or another of Europe, the whole of the islands shall be bound together by some tie, so that, whatever European troubles might arise, we might see no war in the Pacific—if we could lay down the lines of such an agreement, we should be doing a great deal for our future, and for the future of the race. Then, as to the further question Of criminal depots, we are met with this question now. We see what has passed lately—even since the Convention met in Sydney—in the Senate in France, where a very able report has been presented—a precis
of which has been sent out by the Agent-General—pointing out that the French must make New Caledonia, at all events, a depot for her worst—her relapsed—criminals. Of course these relapsed criminals are to be sent a thousand now and a thousand again, and they may not harm us in one sense. That is, few of them may come to New Zealand, and the few who do come may have very little influence on our population. But we must look at it from this point of view : If you have one of the Pacific Islands set apart as a depot for the relapsed criminals Of Europe, what does that mean? You have, so to speak, a centre of infection. No one, I am sure; would object to France, Germany, or any of the great European Powers having an outlet for their surplus population as well as England has. It would be a very selfish policy if we tried to prevent any European Power having colonies in the Pacific Islands. But if we have New Caledonia and perhaps other parts set aside as depots for criminals, we cannot overlook the effect of such a policy. We are to have the worst kind of criminals—not merely political criminals; they are rÉcidivistes
or relapsed criminals; and all history shows that there is a great deal of truth in the doctrine of heredity, We have not merely a savage race, but the worst kind of race—the criminal one—placed in the Pacific Islands to be a centre of infection for the whole of the Pacific; and, if this is allowed to go on without protest, we may have Germany and other European nations looking upon the Pacific Islands as a proper place to get rid of their criminals. Some may say that there has been too much made of this question; but I do not think so, and I think the Convention in Sydney, and the Hon. Mr. Service, of Victoria, deserve great credit for the stand they have taken in protesting against the French possessions being turned into more criminal dÉpots. I only regret that perhaps it was not pointed out to the French people that the making of their colonies mere depots for criminals injures their colonies, and injures the French possessions. I do not know if enough was made of that in the discussion that has taken place in regard to the rÉcidiviste
question. The other question is that of trade relationship, I shall not take up time by dwelling upon that. We have had some slight discussion on that already this session in reference to the South Sea Trading Bill, and the providing for a subsidized mail service for Samoa, Tonga, and other islands. I do not think I need refer to the New Hebrides question, because honourable members will remember that in 1878 that question was taken up by the then Government; a memorandum was written by Sir George Grey, and a short note by myself, which were sent to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, pointing out that the New Hebrides ought to bo a British possession; in fact, it once was included in the boundaries
of New Zealand. I now come to the question of the Federal Council, because, as I under stand, it is on that question there is most difference of opinion. I wish to point out that this question of a Federal Council for Australasia is not new. In 1856 the question was agitated in New South. Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and amongst colonists temporarily residing in London, It is useful to refer to what took place twenty-seven or twenty-eight years ago for this purpose : to show how our ideas on federation have grown during past years along with the growth of the colonies. In those days the question of federation was considered a small matter compared with what it is now. Take, for example, one of the speeches made by Mr. Deas Thomson, of Sydney, who pointed out what was meant by a Federal Council. To him a Federal Council meant a Council dealing with seven subjects: tariff, postal communication, intercolonial railways, electric telegraphs, lands, gold fields, and lighthouses. I find that the newspapers of that day—the Melbourne Argus, for example—thought that the other questions that would be involved in the question of a Federal Council would be the formation of Courts of Appeal, and the question of defence for the colonies. A memorial was prepared by Mr. Wentworth, of Sydney, then in London, setting forth the need of a Federal Council. I cannot do more than refer honourable members who desire to get up the history of this subject to the report dealing with the question, prepared by some of the ablest men in Victoria in September, 1857. I may simply point out that they raised the question whether there should not be a Federal Council or a Consultative Councilt or something between the two. I refer to this simply to show the changes that have arisen in our circumstances, and the changes that have arisen in the ideas of the people on this subject of federation. Twenty-seven or twenty-eight years ago New Zealand was not deemed a colony interested in the question, and there was no idea of bringing New Zealand into the proposed federal bond : in fact, Federation was looked upon more in the nature of what may be termed a continental union. What I ask this House to-night to consider is this question of union: I earnestly ask the House not to do anything that will put a stop to the idea of union. It may be that we are not ripe for federation. I do not think we are. But, whether we are ripe for it or not, we should take up this attitude: that every step we take should be taken with care, and should be taken, I believe, in a direction towards unity and towards greater amity existing between the colonies. I am forcibly reminded of this : that even we in New Zealand have no idea of what the Continent of Australia is. I do not think we have even an idea of the vast resources of one colony, looked at merely from a national point of view. I do not think we have realised what the future of Australasia must be, and I think that a few words of Tennyson are applicable to us in our position. We do not sufficiently realize—
The vast republics that may grow,
The Federations and the powers
Titanic forces taking birth In divers seasons, divers climes;
For we are ancients of the earth
And In the morning of the times.
I wish to-night to give a few statistics just to bring before honourable members what the Continent of Australia is. As honourable gentlemen probably know, I have never lived in Australia; but even passing through it as a traveller, and seeing the vast extent of its resources, makes me think that we in New Zealand do not recognize the extent of that continent. Let me give a few statistics—and I shall only give a few—showing what Australia is. Take even the Colony of New South Wales. Would any one believe that New South Wales, in extent, is as large as the whole of Germany and half of France combined? Would any one believe, again, that the Colony of Queensland is more than three times the size of the German Empire? And then, if we take South Australia, with its vast extension north wards to the Gulf of Carpentaria, it amountst in fact, to about four and a half times the extent of the whole of Germany. If you take, now, the whole of the area of Australia, including Tasmania, you will find that it means, the enormous territory of 3,053,156 square miles. The area of France, in round numbers, is about 204,000 square miles, and of Germany 208,000 square miles; while even the United States, with Alaska and all those territories added, has only an area of 3,501,404 square miles. Bearing these facts in mind, we can appreciate how enormous the territory of Australia is. And, then, one must also remember how small the United States were when they became the United States. They were not as large even as Queensland when they became States, on the Declaration of Independence day. If in addition we consider the enormous mineral resources of New South Wales and Queensland, their agricultural products, and the vast future that must lie before them, with the vast population they will sustain—if, I say, we remember these things, we should weigh carefully how we, as a colony, declare to stand aloof from the Continent of Australia. Keeping that in mind, I shall now briefly point out what this Federal Council means; because it seems to me that there has been some misapprehension as to the proposals of the Convention. I may say at once that it will be seen from our resolutions that we propose something intermediate between Federal Councils and Conventions of Delegates consulting, because we recognize that no Parliament should pass any law which goes too far in advance of public opinion, and, if it be that public opinion in this colony is not ripe for federation, it would be unwise for this Parliament to pass any law which did not carry with it the sympathies of the people. Now, what is this Federal Council Bill? Let me, in as few words as possible, bring before the House what may be termed a bird's eye view of the Bill. The Bill provides that a Federal Council shall be constituted, and that the
sessions shall be held once in every two years in some colony; but the Governor may call a special session, and the representatives of the different colonies are to be chosen as each colonial Parliament may decide. Then, there is to be an elected President, and only one Chamber; and there must be a majority of the whole number of the members of the Council for the time being, representing a majority of the colonies present, before there is a quorum. This is a very important provision. As to its legislative authority, it is to deal with the following matters:—
|"(a.)||The relations of Australasia with the islands of the Pacific;
|"(b.)||Prevention of the influx of criminals;
|"(c.)||Fisheries in Australasian waters beyond territorial limits;
|"(d.)||The service of civil process of the Courts of any colony within Her Majesty's possessions in Australasia out of the jurisdiction of the colony in which it is issued;
|"(e.)||The enforcement of judgments of Courts of law of any colony beyond the limits of the colony;
|"(f.)||The enforcement of criminal process beyond the limits of the colony in which it is issued, and the extradition of offenders (including deserters of wives and children, and deserters from the Imperial or colonial naval or military forces);
|"(g.)||The custody of offenders on board of ships belonging to Her Majesty's colonial Governments beyond territorial limits."
It will be observed that these are all matters over which this Legislature has practically no control, because we cannot deal with them without the consent of the Home Government granting us authority to do so by special Imperial Act. With regard to our relations to the Pacific Islands, we have no jurisdiction beyond three miles outside our waters, without special delegation from the Home Government. Therefore this Bill confers a power on New Zealand, for it gives it a share in legislating on matters with which at present it cannot deal. Then, as to the prevention of an influx of criminals, we have power to pass laws on the subject, but there could be no general law, and therefore this gives us greater power. In the same way, additional power is given with regard to dealing with fisheries in waters beyond territorial limits; and so it is with the subjects treated of in the remaining subsections. All these provisions confer on the Federal Council a legislative authority which we do not possess, and therefore it does not take anything away from this Parliament, It really gives to New Zealand a greater legislative power than she has at present. The only matters in which legislative power is given to the Federal Council which might be said to weaken our present legislative power are contained in subsection (h)
; of the same clause of the Bill:—
"General defences, quarantine, patents of invention and discovery, copyright, bills of exchange and promissory notes, uniformity of weights and measures, recognition in other colonies of any marriage or divorce duly solemnized or decreed in any colony, naturalization and aliens, status of corporations and joint-stock companies."
It will bo noticed, however, that none of these things can be dealt with by the Federal Council unless remitted to it by two colonies, and the law passed by the Federal Council is only operative in the colonies which ask for the interference of the Federal Council. Now, we ask, in these resolutions, to limit the power of the Federal Council to this extent: that a law passed by the Council shall not have effect in this colony, even if remitted to it by our colony, until it is sanctioned by our own Legislature. If, therefore, the resolutions which we ask the House to pass to-night are passed, it will be seen that there can be no interference whatever with our Legislature, and it would not in any way weaken our legislative power. As I pointed out before, this is a ease in which we ask for something intermediate between a purely Federal Council and some convention of delegates consulting together for some common purpose. And, now, having stated what the object of the Federal Council Bill is, and what its provisions are, I hope I have said enough to show that it does not, as has been represented by some persons, take away any legislative powers from New Zealand. The only legislative powers that could be taken away are those contained in subsection (it), and for none of those objects can a law be passed which will have effect in this colony until the colonial Parliament has assented to it. We should not be weakened; on the contrary, we should have a voice in legislation which we do not possess now, and cannot possibly possess under our present Constitution, That being so, I now come to meet some of the objections that may be raised to this question of federation. First of all, I would impress upon the House that, if we stand aloof and pass some amendment to the effect that, because we are insular, we should have nothing to do with the Continent of Australia, we shall be taking a fatal step as regareis New Zealand. Even on the narrow ground of common defence, we cannot stand aloof from Australia; and I go further and say that, if we stand aloof from Australia and break off relations with it, as some honourable members propose, wo shall have no voice whatever in the future of the Pacific Islands, and in the various questions that must arise between England and her colonies, and between these colonies themselves and the islands of the Pacific. To stand aloof and take up an isolated position will not strengthen us, but will rather tend to weaken us; and I ask the House to look upon the question as it will affect our future. No doubt if we did anything to destroy our individuality we should be doing a wrong to the colony. I admit that, at once; but, as far as this Bill is concerned, I see no risk of merging our individuality in a large Australasian Dominion, or Losing any of our power. The only danger lies in subsection (h)
, and that we have
guarded against by the limitation we have put in requiring that any law passed on those subjects shall not have any force until sanctioned by our Legislature. That would give us immunity from any peril of losing our individuality. Now, there is another objection which has been urged to this federation, and it is this: I find on the Order Paper a resolution dealing with the wider question of Imperial federation, The honourable member for Auckland East thinks that, if we take this step in Australasian federation, that may tend to destroy any hope of what is termed Imperial federation; and the honourable member for Wairarapa asks that we should add a resolution pointing out the need of Imperial federation. Sir, I believe the closer we can make the alliance between the Mother-country and the colonies the better, I believe also, with the honourable member for Auckland East, that, if we could get a close alliance amongst all English-speaking peoples, it would be an immense advantage to the race, and would perhaps prevent future wars and troubles. But I am forcibly reminded of a passage which I have met with in one of the Epistles, which I shall paraphrase. If we cannot love our Australian neighbours, who are near to us, and with whom we are acquainted and in intimate trade relationship, how can we love those of our race that are so far distant from us? I say, if we can show that we can ally ourselves with those who are near to us,—if we can come to an amicable arrangement or agreement with them,—it will be a proof that there is some chance of this Imperial federation, and this greater English-speaking federation. But, if we show by our action that we cannot unite even on such elementary matters as these provided in the Federal Council Bill, then what is the use of talking about Imperial federation? In one sense wo have now Imperial federation. We are part of the British Empire; and, although we have no voice in her foreign policy, yet I do not know that it would be wise for this colony to attempt to have any voice in her foreign policy, because we must take, along with that, a corresponding responsibility, and we must pay for it out of our taxes, and wo must be liable to all the incidents that bind one part of the Empire with the other. There is one passage in one of Mr. Gladstone's speeches, delivered something like seventeen or eighteen years ago, pointing out the strong position the colonies occupied—something better and stronger than Imperial federation—which I think appropriate, and will quote. Speaking on a Canadian Loan Bill in the House of Commons, he says,—
"We have for a full quarter of a' century acknowledged absolutely the right of self-government in the colonies. We do not expect the laws of Canada or o£ Australia to be modulated according to our own ideas. We grant them a greater freedom from interference than, as amongst the three kingdoms, the Legislature grants to the peculiar ideas that may happen to prevail in one of those three. We have carried it to this point: that, as far as regards the Administration, I believe it may be said that the only officer appointed by the Colonial Secretary is the Governor; and I believe there cannot be a doubt that, if it were the well-ascertained desire of the colonies to nave the appointment of their own Governor, the Imperial Parliament would at once make over to them that power,"
That shows the enormous power that the colonies have been given—a power such as no colonies of other empires ever possessed—a power, I may say, unique in history. And I say, with regard to this wider question of Imperial federation, that we are not ripe for that. If we are ripe for anything, we are only ripe for this Australasian federation, we are not even ripe for complete federation with the other colonies, because that would go further than this Federal Council Bill goes. But we are ripe for what is stated in the resolutions—namely, for bringing us into closer and mora intimate connection with the Australian Colonies, But how is this Imperial federation to bo brought about? How is it to be managed? The House of Commons will not give up its power; and I think that, if wo are not ripe for Australasian federation now, we shall not be ripe for Imperial federation perhaps a century hence. The objection that has been urged—namely, that this will, in some way or other, prevent Imperial federation—I think I have sufficiently answered. And, now, let me look at some of the dangers of federation. I admit that there are dangers in federation. There is always a danger of a strong Government overriding weak Governments. We saw that in Provincialism. We saw what may bo termed the federal States of Now Zealand being wiped out by the central Government as soon as there came a strong financial pressure; and I regret to notice that some Australian statesmen, who are advocating this federation, are continually using the word "dominion," as if this Australasian dominion, as they term it, is to be akin to Canada. I think we are not ripe for that. The question of dominion goes far beyond federation, and the proposals contained in this Federal Council Bill, That is one danger. There is always the danger of the central Government overriding the weaker Governments; but I do not see if we agree to this Federal Council Bill, that any danger can arise from that, because this Council is exceedingly limited in its jurisdiction; and I apprehend that the Imperial Government would never for one moment hesitate to give the right to any colony to leave this Federation, If there was any doubt about that, there could be a clause inserted in the Bill, so that on, the face of its charter there should be the right of secession granted to any colony in the event of its desiring to leave the Federation, As far as that question is concerned, I do not see that any danger can arise from it; but, if there be a danger from union with Australia, because of the Federal Council overriding us, how much
greater would the danger be if the federation were Imperial and if we were united to England I That would be a danger tenfold greater. I think I have said enough to show that it ought not to be the policy of New Zealand to at once break on negotiations with the Australian Colonies, and to pursue a policy of isolation. Of course in this respect we aro placad under a great disadvantage in discussing this question by the New South Wales representative Chamber declining, by one vote, to even discuss this Federal Council Bill. Those who know the history of New South Wales politics can, however, tell the reason why. I believe that the feeling amongst the New South Wales people for federation, for union, is far stronger than in the Parliament of that colony. Political parties ate divided there; old feuds exist; and the feeling against Victoria, and the City of Melbourne especially, is so strong with some of the older New South Wales politicians that they will have nothing to do with anything that is pressed forward by Victoria. I believe that had a great deal to do with the non-success of the resolutions in the Sydney Parliament. I have said that in that respect we are placed at a disadvantage. The representative Chamber has not concurred in these resolutions, though in the Council they have agreed to them and passed them by a considerable majority. What, then, should we do in this matter? I again urge the House not to pursue a policy of isolation, and the resolutions are so framed as to prevent this. I do not care much about Resolution (e)
—whether it be put or not; and, to allow the most ample opportunity to the members to record their opinions, I shall ask that the resolutions be put separately. This Resolution (e)
may be in one respect unnecessary, for the resolutions go on to show what alterations should be made in the Federal Council Bill, and, if the alterations are to he made in the Bill, then that simply says that, before the Federal Council Bill is passed, there must be new negotiations, or, rather, negotiations must be continued, and that we cannot agree with the Bill as at present prepared. But let me say one or two words generally about this question from a general point of view, I pointed out that, if we are to have any voice in the future of Australasia and of the Pacific Islands, New Zealand by herself can do little or nothing, I know that we have passed a Confederation Bill—I mean the Act of Sir George Greyes—which enables the Government, if it had received the Queen's assent—and we pressed the Agent-General to ask that the Queen's assent should be given to it—to deal with any island that chooses to annex itself to New Zealand. But New Zealand would require the sanction of the Imperial Government to any annexation or union of any island with us; and, if New Zealand was standing aloof from the Australian Colonies, it is not likely the Imperial Government would listen to many of our recommendations, What is to be gained by this question of federation? I ask this House to look into the future. I ask this House to remember that we have a national feeling in New Zealand weak, exceedingly weak, at present, but yearly getting stronger. There is a far stronger national feeling in Australia than in New Zealand. One cannot be in Melbourne, for instance, without realizing that there exists a feeling of Australia for the Australians such as does not exist in New Zealand, There is a far stronger national life there, no doubt caused by there being a metropolis, for wo have no centre like Melbourne. I was exceedingly struck by this in Melbourne when the Irish informers attempted to land; I was struck with the strength of feeling amongst all classes that Australia was a nation that had national life and feeling. What will the future of Australia be, if its scattered population has that feeling now? Fifty years hence how many millions of people will be there 1 And what will bo the future of New Zealand if we are to stand aloof and not live on more than terms of amity with our Australian neighbours by being allied to them, in case of war and a dozen things that may occur? At present we are on the best of terms with the Australian Colonies. For example, to show the feeling that exists between us and Victoria, there has not been a singlo casa of small-pox in Melbourne and the suburbs but the Premier of Victoria has wired across to tell us of it, so that we might take all necessary precautions. There is, from the telegrams that pass between this and the other colonies, a strong feeling of friendship existing; and I say we ought to foster it in every possible way we can. Even from a selfish point of view, we ought to encourage a friendly feeling. They have products which we have not, and we have some that they do not posseas, These we can exchange, and trade will increase. We shall not he benefited by isolation. What we require is some such alliance as is here proposed, some kind of Council, not quite federal, but yet more than consulting. And now let me say one or two words more about a general federation. It may be from my early training, but I have always had a horror of war. I look upon all war as criminal; and I have always looked with hope to the time when nations, like individuals, will be able to settle their grievances and differences without an appeal to arms. It seems to me that the very existence of war shows that our civilization is not far advanced beyond the savage state Well, how is war to be prevented in future? It is only by extending federation. Instead of war conferences we should have peace conferences; and we ought to be careful, in founding our new nation, to lay down some broad lines for our future guidance. How can we lay those better down than by having some such arrangement as is sketched forth in these resolutions? I quite agree with the honourable member for Auckland East in his aspirations for a wider union. I should like to see, in one respect, a stronger bond even between the colonies and the Mother-country. I should like to see that bond not extended to England alone, but I should like to see it extended to the United Stages. I do not see why there should
not be a federation between the colonies of other countries and ourselves. If we are to have French and German colonists in the Pacific, why should we not have some kind of federation recognized with the colonies of these countries? Whilst the colonists do not deny their allegiance to their Mother-country, they should ho united, and there should be some agreement among them, some common meeting-ground among them, on which they could discuss their grievances and their relationship, so as to prevent all war in the future. I see no difficulty in that. If there is a difficulty, then it simply means that this system of standing armies, this system of big navies, of having large sums, shall I say, wasted for the defence of our seaports—that all this is to come upon us, and that, instead of having peace in these new lands, we are to have introduced all the terrible evils of war. What has been the curse of Europe? The enormous standing armies have crushed the population. The expense of the armies and navies has had to be borne by the workers. We are, as yet, merely a handful of people; but if we could, by uniting with the other Australian Colonies, lay down some line—namely, the line of federation—to show to the older countries that, so far as we are concerned, we were to settle our future grievances, not by appeals to arms, but by mutually meeting and discussing our differences, we should be doing something for our race, and something to make us known in history. If it be that the world is so constituted that there is to be nothing but war, war, in the future, then the energies and resources of the people will be fettered. But I believe that there is progress in the world. I believe that the progress of the world is only consistent with peace—consistent with a greater diffusion of education. If you get peace notions diffused, that is, perhaps, the highest kind of education; so that what a modern poet has predicted may come true,—
There shall come a time when brotherhood shows stronger
Than the narrow bounds which now distract the world;
When the cannons roar and trumpet blare no longer,
And the ironclad rusts, and battle-flags are furled;
When the bars of creed and speech and race, which sever,
Shall be fused in one humanity for ever.
Sir, I move the resolutions standing in my name.
Motion made, and question proposed,—
"Whereas, at a meeting of delegates from the following colonies—namely, Fiji, New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia, held in Sydney, during November and December, 1883, the following resolutions were agreed to:—
|"'1.||That further acquisition of dominion in the Pacific, south of the Equator, by any foreign Power would be highly detrimental to the safety and well-being of the British possessions in Australasia, and injurious to the interests of the Empire:
|"'2.||That this Convention refrains from suggesting the action by which effect can best be given to the foregoing resolution, in the confident belief that the Imperial Government will promptly adopt the wisest and most effectual measures for securing the safety and contentment of this portion of Her Majesty's dominions :
|"'3.||That, having regard to the geographical position of the Island of New Guinea, the rapid extension of British trade and enterprise in Torres Straits, the certainty that the island will shortly be the resort of many adventurous subjects of Great Britain and other nations, and the absence or inadequacy of any existing laws for regulating their relations with the native tribes, this Convention, while fully recognizing that the responsibility of extending the boundaries of the Empire belongs to the Imperial Government, is emphatically of opinion that such steps should be immediately taken as will most conveniently and effectively secure the incorporation with the British Empire of so much of New Guinea, and the small islands adjacent thereto, as is not claimed by the Government of the Netherlands :
|"'4.||That, although the understanding arrived at in 1878 between Great Britain and France, recognizing the independence of the New Hebrides, appears to preclude this Convention from making any recommendation inconsistent with that understanding, the Convention urges upon Her Majesty's Government that it is extremely desirable that such understanding should give place to some more definite engagement, which shall secure those islands from falling under any foreign dominion; at the same time, the Convention trusts that Her Majesty's Government will avail itself of any opportunity that may arise for negotiating with the Government of France, with the object of obtaining the control of those islands, in the interests of Australasia :
|"'5.||That the Governments represented at this Convention undertake to submit and recommend to their respective Legislatures measures of permanent appropriation for defraying, in proportion to population, such share of the cost incurred in giving effect to the foregoing resolutions as Her Majesty's Government, having regard to the relative importance of Imperial and Australasian interests, may deem fair and reasonable:
|"'6.||That the Convention protests, in the strongest manner, against the declared intention of the Government of France to transport large numbers of relapsed criminals to the French possessions in the Pacific, and urges Her Majesty's Government to use every means in its power to prevent the adoption of a course so disastrous to the interests of Australasia and the Pacific Islands :
|"'7.||That the Convention expresses a confident hope that no penal settlement for the reception of European criminals will long continue to exist in the Pacific, and invites Her Majesty's Government to make to the Government of France such serious representations on this subject as may be deemed expedient:'
"And whereas, at the said Convention, a draft Bill to constitute a Federal Council of Australasia was also agreed to: And whereas, in pursuance of the undertaking given by the delegates from the Colony of New Zealand, it is desirable that the resolutions of the said Convention should be submitted to this Legislature :
"This House resolves,—
"That it agrees generally with the resolutions of the said Convention; but, in order that' its views may be specifically expressed, it resolves as follows:—
|"(a.)||That it approves of the steps taken by the British Government for the establishment of its rule over New Guinea, and hopes that like measures will be taken for a Protectorate over the islands of the Pacific Ocean not under the dominion of any stable Government:
|"(b.)||That this colony is willing to pay, in proportion to its population, a share in the sum of £15,000 proposed by the Imperial Government :
|"(c.)||That it desires respectfully to protest against the transportation of criminals to the French possessions in the Pacific :
|"(d.)||That it requests the British Government to make such representations to the European Powers as will prevent the maintenance of penal establishments in any of the Pacific Islands:
|"(e.)||That the establishment of sucha Federal Council as is proposed in the Convention's draft Bill is premature :
|"(f.)||That, so far as the Bill aims at enabling the colonies to jointly initiate legislation on questions of common interest and importance to the several colonies, it has the cordial support of this House:
|"(g.)||That, to place the proposed measure in I accordance with these opinions, it will be necessary to vary the Bill, so as to provide—First, that the Federal Council shall not make representations to the Imperial Government direct, but to the several Colonial Governments; second, that any measure it initiates shall not have any force within any colony, nor affect any colony, until it is adopted by the Legislature of such colony."—(Mr. Stout.)
Wellington; George Didsbury. Government Printer.