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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 50

The New Guinea Question

page 107

The New Guinea Question.

Mr. Griffith, in resuming the adjourned debate on the motion proposed yesterday by Mr. Dickson,—"That an Address be presented to the Governor of Tasmania, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to cause to be laid upon the table of this Council all despatches and other papers relating to the establishment and administration of Her Majesty's Protectorate in New Guinea," said: Mr. President, I wish to take the opportunity of saying a few words with respect to the general question of New Guinea. This motion has reference only to despatches and papers, and I think it would be very convenient that the volume containing the proceedings of the first session of this Council should contain the papers relating to the protectorate of New Guinea up to the present time. We are all of us aware of the present position of affairs in New Guinea. It is extremely unsatisfactory. The colonies were extremely disappointed that only a portion, instead of the whole, of the eastern half of New Guinea was taken under the protection of the British Crown. It is not worth while, however, I think, to discuss now the unfortunate causes which led to that result. They are disclosed in the correspondence which is asked for, and we can only deal with things now as we find them. Not only have the proceedings been unfortunate with respect to the extent of New Guinea to be taken under the protection of the British Crown, but the arrangements that have been made for administering the affairs of that protectorate seem to have been equally unfortunate. It was a long time before we received copies of the instructions that were given to General Scratchley, and when we received them they were found to be so meagre that from that time up to the present practically nothing has been done. The Special Commissioner has only two powers conferred upon him by law. One is to appoint officers, provided their salaries are provided for, but not to confer any power upon them. The other is, as Deputy Commissioner for the Western Pacific, to order the deportation of obnoxious persons, but only after obtaining the previous sanction of the High Commissioner in Fiji. A more disappointing state of things cannot be conceived. The result is, as I have said, that nothing whatever has been done. There are ample powers under the Imperial Acts by which Her Majesty might have conferred authority upon the Special Commissioner, but it has not as yet been done, nor, I think, is it likely to be done until something more is done in another direction. What has been the reason for so much delay I am not prepared to say. At the present time, however, it is clear—I know it as a fact—that the Imperial Government do not propose to come to any conclusion until something more has been done by the colonies. Hon. members are aware that Mr. John Douglas, formerly Prime Minister of Queensland, has been appointed Special Commissioner in succession to Sir Peter Scratchley. He has been appointed, as I know from official communications, under the same conditions as General Scratchley, and as a temporary measure pending the consideration of arrangements with the colonial Governments for the future. I am quoting from a communication from the Secretary of State to the Governor of Queensland. The matter now is entirely in abeyance, and I am under the impression that the Imperial Government will be guided to a great extent by the recommendations made by the colonics in coming to a conclusion. If all the colonies were represented in this Council I think it would have been advisable to have formulated a definite scheme laying down the conditions on which New Guinea should be administered, and I have reason to believe that if that had been done the recommendation would have been adopted. At the present time, however, we know that things are in a transitory state in Great Britain. The matter had been under the consideration of Colonel Stanley, and this morning's paper contains a brief communication of what would probably have been the intentions of the late Government. It appears that Colonel Stanley was of opinion that New Guinea might be attached to one of the Australian colonies for the purposes of administration, the joint responsibilities of administration being taken between the Imperial Government and that colony. Upon that suggestion I should like to say a little. That form of joint administration has been tried in various places, and in various forms. At the Cape at the present time, some of the recent annexations to the British possessions are, I believe, under the control of the Governor of Cape Colony, with an administrator under him. It is said, however, that this arrangement does not work very well. I believe that some similar arrangement exists in some of the West Indian Islands, or has existed there, but although the arrangement has not worked well in one place, it may in another. The position of New Guinea at the present time appears to be this—the Imperial Government are not prepared to take all the financial responsibilities. The Australian Governments undertook to bear a certain share of the financial responsibility but one of them has already drawn out from that agreement. Some others, I am sorry to say, appear to contemplate doing the same thing, but I think that the Imperial Government may fairly expect that we shall keep our word to them as far as that goes. But the colonies naturally ask, what is it we have to pay for? and the Imperial Government say they won't tell what it is for until you pay the money. It is difficult to come to any definite conclusion just now, but under the circumstances, probably it will be necessary for the colonies, or some of them, to submit to the Imperial page 108 Government an undertaking to defray the necessary expenditure, and at the same time a proposal as to how the country should be administered. I think the administration proposals should, if possible, come from all the colonies, and, as we only represent some of the colonies here, it is impossible now formally to deal with the matter. There seem to be two alternatives. The one seems to be a Crown colony, administered by the Crown, to which we could make a money contribution; and the other alternative appears to be what is suggested in this morning's paper, to attach New Guinea as a dependency of Great Britain to one of the Australian Colonies. That is to say, that the administration of affairs there should be subject to the direction and control of the Governor of one of the Australian Colonies. I do not think it is likely that New Guinea would be annexed to any one; the only one it would be at all likely to be annexed to is Queensland, and I do not think that the Imperial Government would favour that. Speaking as a Queenslander, I think it is undesirable that it should be annexed for many reasons which I need not mention, except to say that considering the position of the native population of New Guinea, I think it is very undesirable. If it is to be annexed as a Crown colony, of course we should have nothing to do with the administration, but I do not think that a colony should contribute large sums of money without having any voice in the management of affairs. The only way the colonies could have a voice in the management is to have it administered under the direction of the Governor of one of the other colonies, and I should consider that Queensland might be the most suitable. But then comes the question how far the Governor should act with the advice of his Ministers in a matter not concerning the colony itself, and how far the Governor would be bound to take that advice, if he did not agree with it. These are difficulties that present themselves, but so far as formulating a scheme is concerned, it may be arranged without much trouble. The principal question is that of finance. Would the colonies generally consent to contribute towards the administration of the affairs of New Guinea, if they had no control of those affairs? Would they be content to trust the Government and Ministers in one colony to control the administration? These are matters which require to be discussed. We cannot discuss them fully here because all the colonies are not represented, but the matter will have to be considered from that point of view, and I am disposed to think that the question will eventually be solved in that way. I am in a position to say that a proposal of that kind would probably have been approved of by the late Government in England. As they are no longer in office, their opinion is no longer of so much consequence, but so much I am authorised to say. Of course, any proposals will have to be considered by the colonics generally before they are made to the Imperial Government, unless one colony should agree to bear the whole burden. As to the principles on which the administration should be conducted, we have to thank the hon member from Fiji for the information he gave us yesterday, and the clear exposition of the principle which he laid down as to how the country should be governed, for the benefit not of exploiters, but of the native races. I trust that whoever is charged with the functions of administration in New Guinea, will administer the country on these principles, and by that means the country will become an advantage to the Australasian people, and in time a valuable acquisition to the British Empire. I feel some difficulty, Mr. President, in discussing this matter, because we are not in a position to lay down any definite scheme; but I have endeavoured to suggest a kind of Administration that might be adopted. I think I am at liberty, also, to add that if such a scheme as I have suggested is adopted, the Imperial Government, or rather the late Imperial Government, would probably have been willing to have assisted the undertaking in the first instance by the advance of a considerable sum of money. But as they are now out of office, the scheme is merely one which may be made as the proposal of anyone, and, if adopted, it will he because it commends itself to the sense of the colonies on its own merits. I am disposed to think we shall have to do something of that kind, that New Guinea will have to be attached to one or other of the colonies, whether the Governor is to act with the advice of his Ministers, or whether other persons are to be associated with them as his advisers, such as representative Ministers from the colonics contributing towards the expense. For instance, if the whole colonies were represented here probably the Standing Committee of this Council might be chosen as standing advisers of the Governor, or, as I have said, a Council of Advice might be composed of representatives of the colonies contributing towards the expense. As, however, it is not known what colonies will contribute, it is difficult to say at present how that committee should be constituted, or whether the Governor should be left to be advised by his own Ministers only. I do not think I need say more, or that more could be usefully said at present on the subject. I think the only satisfactory element in the matter at present is that the Imperial Government seem now to be willing for us to propose a reasonable scheme, and I believe that any reasonable scheme proposed by the colonies will be accepted by them.

Mr. Berry: Mr. President,—It is unfortunate that in a question of the supreme importance of the one we are now discussing, and which forms, undoubtedly, a legitimate subject for discussion, that the condition of page 109 this Council is in that state, that it is impossible to come to any definite conclusion. We can all agree with the statement that from the beginning the whole affair has been muddled, and unfortunately so, I think, for the interests of this part of Her Majesty's dominions. From the very beginning we were led to expect much more satisfactory results than have been achieved. Not only, as the hon. member for Queensland has said, a portion of New Guinea has passed into the hands of a foreign power, but the subsequent arrangements are of a character that leaves the matter in a most unsatisfactory state. And yet, sir, it is important, I think, that this Council at its first session should endeavour, if possible, to deal with the question in some way and throw some light upon it, and as a representative body endeavour, if possible, to indicate some practical mode for the solution of the difficulties that surround it. I have seen by the morning's paper a telegram which, I believe, is correct, and can be confirmed by the hon. member for Queensland, that the Government which has just vacated office in England contemplated a proposal by which one of the Australian colonies might have been requested to take some hind of responsibility, not clearly defined, but hinted at, for the administration of affairs in New Guinea. The hon. member who last spoke alluded to this matter, and he appears to see difficulties in the way. He expressed the opinion that he does not think that they are insurmountable, but at the same time he fails, to my mind, to give any possible intention of any suggestion that can be in any way satisfactory. I am of opinion that there has been a governor—Sir Win. Gordon, I think—who was Governor of New Zealand, and also High Commissioner of the Pacific. He had to take the advice of his Ministers, as Constitutional Governor of New Zealand, and act on his own judgment and responsibility in the Pacific; and as far as I can gather the result was not satisfactory. From that experiment I am afraid that Mr. Griffith's idea is not practicable; that difficulties would arise in discharging the dual functions, and that such an arrangement would lead to no probable success. That a Constitutional Governor should have, at the same time, functions by which he was practically the Governor of a Crown colony, would scarcely work without he could take the advice of his Government in the colony in which he was. The position would be surrounded with all the difficulties at which the hon. member for Queensland has hinted. Governments change, and the policy of the particular colony may change with the change of Government. In this matter Queensland is evidently the colony, which from its proximity to New Guinea, is the one indicated, bat as we know that other opinions than those which are in ascendancy for the time may take the lead in 'he political changes which take place, we get no security that the parties holding those opinions may not be in power again. I do not think it would be thought by the other colonies that that would be a satisfactory mode of administering the affairs of New Guinea. Now another difficulty arises, and that is the contributions towards the expenses of administering the colony of New Guinea. The hon. member for Queensland said that the colonies had undertaken the responsibility of finding £15,000 per annum towards that purpose. However, what they were requested to do was to find £15,000 for one year, which ended on the 30th June last, and that was all the demand made by Lord Derby. I believe that any colony repudiating its liability for the future may fairly claim that that was all that was undertaken, and they may strengthen that opinion by the statement that nothing has been done by the Imperial Government to place matters on a more satisfactory footing with the colonies. The late General Scratchley, during the short period in which he held the position of Special Commissioner of New Guinea, had formulated his views with regard to the course of events, and also made an estimate of what he thought would be the cost of Government for the space of five years. I think he estimated that it would come to something like £40,000 per annum, or rather, £20,000 for providing a ship and boats, and the different things he thought necessary—perhaps buildings as well—and £20,000 a-year for salaries and necessary expenditure in manning the ships and finding the proper provision for carrying on the Government.

Mr. Douglas: I think the annual expenditure would amount to something like £20,000.

Mr. Berry: Yes. We also know the Imperial Government has called on the colonies to find some additional funds over and above the £15,000, and in consideration of that there is a despatch by which, in the event of their having Government of the nature suggested, the Queen's Sovereignty would be proclaimed over the British portion of New Guinea. That has not yet been done, and no doubt that would be the first step taken towards any kind of Administration that must take place on the British portion of New Guinea. At this juncture, the latest information that the Premier of Victoria received from our Agent-General in England was to the effect that the Imperial Government were anxious that this Council, at its meeting, should have the matter before them from a practical point of view, and with the view of making some suggestions that might commend themselves to the authorities at home for the settlement of the question. And that is the position we are in now. We are the most representative body that could be got together in this part of the world, it is true, and, as has been said on more than one occasion, especially in regard to this question, it is unfortunate the whole of the colonies are not represented here; because I think one of the most practical page 110 questions a Federal Council could possibly have devoted their attention to, would be to definitely settle what we expect, and what we are prepared to carry out, in connection with this question. I apply to this question precisely the same argument as I used in connection with the defence question when it was discussed here. If we are to contribute and pay money to the Mother Country, we ought to have the direction of events. If we decline to pay any money we cannot expect to have the control of events in New Guinea or elsewhere. These are two matters that ought to go side by side. If the colonies are expected to contribute nearly the whole amount necessary, they ought to have some control or some voice in the appointment of officers or the amount of the expenditure, and the manner in which it is expended; in fact, as a local Parliament has, over the taxation of the colony in which it is situated. A middle course could have been pursued, and it was thought that that appeared to be intended by the early action of the Imperial Government in assuming the responsibility of attaching New Guinea to the Empire, and also being prepared to pay a just and fair share of the expenses of that Administrative action; but the Australian colonies being more interested than the rest of the Empire, and having urged the Imperial Government, in the interests of the people of these colonies, to take that action, we were also bound to contribute fairly and equitably towards the administration of affairs. I think we should have recognised that. If the Imperial Government took a course of that kind by proclaiming the Queen's sovereignty over the British territory in New Guinea, and appointed, with due regard to economy, proper officers to maintain order and sec that life and property were protected, there would be a recognised authority to deal not only with the natives in a proper spirit, but also with any neighbouring people, and a policy of that sort properly carried out would be supported by a fair contribution from the various communities in this part of the world. There is another mode, and that which Germany has followed. If hon. members have read the charter under which Germany has settled the German portion of New Guinea they will see that it has solved the question by granting certain rights and privileges to a chartered company on condition that they pay the cost of maintaining order and of the local government. I see an hon. member shake his head at that.

Mr. Douglas: If they want to exterminate the poor devils—(laughter)—it is the best plan they could follow.

Mr. Berry: I was not recommending it. (Hear, hear.) I was only showing that there was another plan which could be followed. We have progressed beyond that, and it is more like what Great Britain would have done generations ago. It is a proceeding from which has always arisen dissatisfaction, injustice, and bloodshed. (Hear, hear.) I simply mentioned it to show that that is the way in which Germany has dealt with her territory in New Guinea. The terms of the charter are to the effect that it was granted on condition that the company undertook to introduce and maintain, at its own expense, such political institutions as would serve the promotion of trade, the economical exploitation of the sail and the establishment and maintenance of friendly relations with the natives and their civilisation. They do not solve the question of defence there, but on the terms of the charter they are to provide political institutions, and for all those expenses, which we as a government in this part of the world, have always provided of late years. At all events, there are matters to follow the course Germany has taken. The only advantage is one of economy, but the certainty of so many dangers, injustices, and possible bloodshed, would never permit it at the present time, to be followed. The fact of all these large powers being conferred by Germany on a trading company—and we know how such companies frequently use them—should render it all the more necessary that British interests should be promptly attended to, and that there should be some settled government by which the island could be explored, and friendly relations maintained with the natives, and we should then begin to obtain some tangible and practical knowledge of the value of the country, and the best mode in which to deal with it. There should be some protection and some known law and rule by which colonists from the other colonies would be induced to proceed there, knowing that they would receive protection, and that there would be a settled Government, under whose laws and rules they might live. Nothing of that sort, however, has been done. As it has been properly said, we are in the position of having an important question before us, with no satisfactory information, and not with full powers to formulate a proposal which might afterwards be accepted. The motion moves for production of the papers. The debate from the beginning, from the various standpoints of hon. members, will have thrown some light on the problem, but the main point after all, as to giving some solution to the problem, appears to be as far off as ever. It is impossible by any resolution, or proposal, to indicate what are the wishes of this Council, beyond the enunciation of some general principle. I think we may go so far as to say, I am sure I can speak for Victoria, and it is doubtless the wish of the other colonies, that the Australian sentiment is sufficiently potent, large, and lively to induce the colonies, if they are dealt with in a spirit of equity, to take the responsibility whatever it may be, of the action they require, to protect their interests in this part of the world. (Hear, hear.) The Government ought to state their policy and the course they intend to pursue, and if that were so stated, I do not think that page 111 the colonies, any one of them, would object to contribute the necessary portion of expenses that would follow, according to their position and population. That would seem to indicate one mode of settlement. The latest annexation by the Imperial Government previous to New Guinea was Fiji. That was first of all protected and then made a Crown colony, and it has since been governed wisely and well, and the result of the latest attempt at governing the native race has been eminently successful. The policy of the Imperial Government with regard to Fiji has been such as we can be proud of, and the latest effort of crowded England at colonising reflects credit on those who have brought it about and administered its affairs up to the present time. It is most difficult to understand why something similar was not done in regard to New Guinea after the Imperial Government assumed the protectorate. Probably the action of the Sydney Convention, and their warm expression of opinion that the islands of the Pacific, including New Guinea, should be annexed or protected by England, indicating the course which the Imperial Government should take, and expressing their desire and willingness to bear a fair proportion of any expenditure which might be incurred, had its due weight, but the idea of the Australasian colonies taking upon themselves for the first time the expenditure of funds outside their own locality, in furtherance of Australasian colonisation, appears to have been seized hold of prominently by Imperial statesmen, and kept so prominently before their eyes, that the protectorate so far as they were concerned, meant the Australasian colonies finding funds to have its affairs administered there. They have had that point so clearly before their eyes that they have lost sight of the corresponding element in the problem, which is, that the colonies which contribute the cost should have the control and direction of affairs, and have the government of that part of the dominions entrusted to them. I think that ought to be brought home clearly to the Government—that they must do one of two things. They must either treat New Guinea as all other portions of the dominions have been treated after annexation, being protected, law and order maintained, and security given to life and property, and generally laws promulgated by which the relations of the white and native populations should be adjusted; or if it were desired that the colonies should take the lead, they should be placed in a position not only to pay the money, but to undertake the administration of affairs. So much we can all realise and agree to, and if some middle course were desired, by which the Imperial Government would he prepared to do part of the work, and still hold in its own hand the appointment of officials, and general control of New Guinea, similar to that of the other Crown colonies, and requiring only a correspondingly large money contribution from the other Australasian colonies; that

would also be accepted if the Imperial Government would only say what they want to do, and then do it in a thorough and practical way, so that we might be satisfied that we were receiving value for the money we expended. Those are the prevailing views of the people of the colonies, and if this debate will assist the Imperial Government in coming to a speedy decision, it is to be hoped that action will be taken by a choice of one of the three methods I have indicated. If the plan adopted is kept distinct, and the duties and responsibilities fairly laid down in our Acts, the Australasian colonies will respond in the same spirit that they have shown in regard to similar arrangements when made on former occasions. In the meantime, I shall support the motion for the production of papers, and I only regret that we are not in a position to act more definitely in regard to the future of New Guinea.

Mr. Douglas said: The motion before the Council simply touches papers, and I think it exceedingly inconvenient to be called upon to speak upon the subject generally before the papers are produced. The proper course would evidently have been to have asked for the production of the papers, and for the consideration of the subject to have been postponed until after their production. We have had to brush up our memory to see how far these matters affect the question as regards the Imperial rule. At the present time we know nothing about it, or about the intentions of the Imperial Government in regard to New Guinea. From communications I had with the late General Scratchley, I know he was very much in the same position, and as far as I could gather from him, his mission to New Guinea was in a great measure to ascertain the best mode of dealing with its Government. He did not even know where settlement was to commence. He was of opinion that there would be two positions, but it was not his intention to reside there at all. But what we have to do here is this—to see whether anything can be done to suggest some scheme or other by which New Guinea shall be placed under the protection of England in such a manner that the rights of the natives shall be properly respected against the inroads of those persons who make it their business to go to all new lands such as this is. The position taken up by the hon. member for Fiji is the one we should follow. We ought not to consider the question merely to the extent of the commercial interests of Great Britain, but also with due regard to the natives. Fortunately in Fiji the natives have been protected, but in most of the British possessions we know that as soon as the Englishman appears the unfortunate native has to disappear, and it is to be hoped that the time has arrived when, in any country like New Guinea, where the inhabitants are settled down and are civilised—not savages—they will be treated in a different way to that in which the unfortunate Australians page 112 have been treated. With regard to the position of Great Britain and these colonies, how is it possible to place New Guinea under their Government simultaneously? It seems to me that the Government of Queensland would be placed in a very awkward position, and I believe Lord Derby would have been very glad to say that he would have nothing to do with New Guinea if the result of his test of the feelings of the colonies had been different. But the colonies did take up the idea very strongly. Victoria and New South Wales were the chief contributors, followed by the others in different degrees. We all take a deep interest in the question, but it is, I think, exceedingly desirable that the colonies of South Australia and New South Wales, which have contributed half the subsidy, should be consulted in this matter, and that some arrangements should be made with those colonies in connection with the colonies of the Union, to see whether some method cannot be devised for the management of New Guinea. That country must not be made simply a place of profit for the white people. The natives of the country must have their interests and position looked to, as well as the white people, and I should exceedingly regret if these colonies at any time placed themselves in the position of destroyers of New Guinea. I do not see how matters are to be adjusted for some time to come between the English Government and these colonies. It is unfortunate that the lamented death of General Scratchley prevented us knowing his opinion upon the subject, but it appears to me that for some long time to come England will have to conduct the Government and protection of the country against filibusters who choose to take up land in various directions. Whatever is done by this federation, or by the other colonies joining with us, every care will, I hope, be taken that the natives are protected, because as I understand it, the object of taking possession of New Guinea was more as a means of defence to the rest of Australasia to prevent the approach of one of the European Powers, which would be a source of possible irritation and annoyance in the future. Of course in this distant part of Australasia we feel less interest than Queensland and New South Wales do in the subject. Queensland is the most interested, and made the first attempt to prevent foreign seizure, but I do not regard it in the same light as some do, as what the ultimate result of the action of Germany can be no one can foresee. I hope the Government of New Guinea will be retained by Great Britain for some time, and that it will prevent colonists, who go there, imbuing the natives with the vices rather than the virtues of white people. I trust the papers will be produced, and some beneficial result will come from them, and I hope in the future that before we discuss the subject matter of papers, the papers will have been placed on the table of the House so that we may know definitely what has been done. We ought to know the subject matter very fully before we can debate it thoroughly. We should then know what we are doing, and what we are discussing. It is certainly one of those matters which ought to be discussed, and properly discussed, by this Council, and we ought to have gone a great deal further than the mere production of papers. That might have led up to the Home Government doing something either by itself or in conjunction with these colonies. No doubt the question of expense will form a serious item in the matter, and as we are not quite prepared to go into it now, it is, perhaps, unnecessary to proceed further at present.

The President: I will only occupy the attention of the Council for a few minutes. I think that the debate, so far as it has gone, will be exceedingly useful, and I am quite sure it could have been made more useful if it could have gone further. The subject matter of the debate is of such recent date that the facts are pretty well within the knowledge of hon. members, and we know pretty well what the difficulties are in the way of proceeding further. We know how far we have got and where we want to get to, but we hardly sea in what manner we are to get more. The admirable resumé of the whole position of affairs with respect to New Guinea, which was made by the hon. member for Queensland (Mr. Griffith) places the whole thing before us in a simple nutshell, and it comes to one single question—that the money is to be raised amongst the people of Australia, in order to conduct the Government of New Guinea. There may arise another question as to what that form of Government should be, or to what extent we are to introduce the old forms of administration into the island. But really the substantial question is, how is the expense of the Government of New Guinea to be raised? With regard to the people of England, the hon. member, Mr. Berry, alluded to Fiji, and said he thought they should have acted in respect to New Guinea exactly as they did in respect to Fiji, when they did not wait for our constitution. That is true, but they asked for our constitution and did not get it, and I think that very circumstance has acted as a sort of warning to the Imperial Government, and made them chary of accepting the responsibility of New Guinea without having previously arranged with the Australian Governments. I remember very well that the Governments were appealed to to assist in the expenditure necessary for conducting the Government of Fiji, and that they declined to do so. I can speak positively, at all events, with respect to Victoria, because the facts are within my own knowledge. All we can do at the present time is to throw out hints and suggestions. Before we part it ought to be understood, if not expressed by resolution, that this matter should be remitted to the Standing Committee, with instructions that the chairman of that com- page 113 mittee should put himself in communication with all the Australian Governments, with a view, if possible, to bring about a mutual understanding. That is the only way in which, so far as I can see, we can come to any definite conclusion; and, we cannot afford to wait for another year until there is another session of this Council. Even if we propose waiting before coming to any definite conclusion, it will be necessary in the meantime that the Standing Committee should get some information with respect to the feeling on the part of those colonies who are still outstanding from the federation. With respect to the payment of money two things have occurred to me. The point is as to the position of the Governor of the colony which should administer the law in New Guinea, and that of the Governments of the various colonies, if more than one were to be appointed. The question which arises is, whether the Governor should act as the agent of the Imperial Government, or whether he should take the advice of his local Ministers in respect to the policy to be pursued and the expenditure to be incurred in connection with the administration of that island. I have no hesitation in saying that the Governor must necessarily, in a matter of this sort, take the advice of his responsible Ministers, and for the best of all reasons. The people of these colonies would be called upon to pay, and those who have to pay ought to have the power to indicate the course to be pursued. The people of the various colonies can only indicate their views through means of the responsible Ministers. I do not say that the Imperial Government should not have a vote, or a voice, by communication through the Secretary of State for the Colonies in determining what the policy should be; but so far as colonial action is concerned, whether it be through a Governor immediately, or whether it be directly by the various Governments, it appears to me clear and distinct that if the policy of these colonies is to prevail, or is to be of any effect whatever, that policy must be indicated through the usual constitutional channel. The other question has reference to the amount of the constitution of the various colonies. The hon. member, Mr. Douglas, has reminded us very properly, that some of the colonies take a greater interest in New Guinea than others. The colony with the premier interest in New Guinea is Queensland, and as we come down the coast line further south and west, the other colonies have comparatively no interest in it at all. Take Western Australia, which is at the very opposite corner of the mainland to Queensland—what interest can it possibly have in the annexation of New Guinea. I am referring to that portion of Western Australia which is inhabited, and which will probably constitute finally the colony of Western Australia, when the continent becomes ultimately subdivided into smaller divisions, which must necessarily come to pass some day or other, when population becomes more dense. Suppose the colonies which contribute should have a say in the policy, which seems very natural and reasonable, and only fair. In what proportion should the colonies contribute. Is it a question to be settled by population? In that case it would appear that the larger population should have the larger say in the policy, because it is recognised that taxation and representation go together. For insurance, Victoria and New South Wales, which possess the largest population, have to contribute the largest amount just because th y have the largest population, and it is only fair that they should have the largest say or voice in the deliberations of the Council or whatever may be hereafter constituted to deal with the administration of New Guinea. If, on the other hand, each colony is to vote as a colony, it would be only right that the contribution of the respective colonies should be equal. I merely throw out these remarks because the main question is a question of money. I can see indications in various colonies already that the contribution towards the separate government of New Guinea, without any apparent corresponding advantages derived therefrom to those colonies, is somewhat creating a strain upon the sentiment which brought them together in the first instance, and which was very strongly felt throughout the entire colonies, when we hoped hyunited action to grasp, not only New Guinea, but the other islands. The Imperial sentiment became exceedingly strong, and I fancy it would have remained with us if the result had been equal to our expectations. But we have been as greatly disappointed by the course taken, that I can see well enough a feeling is beginning to spring up opposed to that sentiment, and the question is being asked, "What are we getting for the contributions we are making towards the Government of New Guinea?" That it is essential that New Guinea should not belong to any foreign power is a conclusion at which we arrive naturally, and this resolution, which is merely a formal one, and only intended, I presume, to raise this discussion, has achieved its object. I am not quite sure at this moment whether by the standing orders this matter can be referred to the Standing Committee, but we have power, so to refer it, under the Enabling Act, which empowers us to refer any matters for the special consideration of the Standing Committee. Perhaps it would be more in order were a resolution to that effect submitted to the Council. I throw out these remarks simply for consideration. I do not think anything is to be gained by a lengthy discussion on the subject, but I think good will probably arise from the refreshing of our minds as to the actual position of affairs, and from the hints that have been thrown out as to the possible solution of the difficulty.

Question put and passed.