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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

The Lesson to be Learnt from New Zealand

The Lesson to be Learnt from New Zealand.

It remains for us to consider how far the experience of New Zealand may be taken advantage of by those who desire to see an extension of State control over the individual in England.

In Australasia the learned professions are bound by no close corporation. Subject to a standard of efficiency, the professional ranks are open to all. Hence there are no interests to be conciliated in considering measures to facilitate the transfer of land or the endowment of education. Institutions such as State insurance and State trusteeships conflict but little with rival interests.

But without protection an eight-hours day would not be possible or possible only on condition that Australasia should confine her industry to agriculture, abandoning all attempt to manufacture for the wants of her people. Protection enables her to devote her exclusive attention to her own markets, and to eliminate all consideration for those neutral markets which are the bread of life to English trade.

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This is not the place to enter into the question whether it is better for the workman to enjoy high wages and dear imports, or low wages and cheap imports; but it is certain that the Australian would not sanction a general protective tariff were it not that within his borders he produces enough food to supply his own wants.

The sentiment which has a strong hold on the minds of English-men accustomed to boast of their liberty as compared with the political tyranny of European Governments, that this country should not refuse an asylum to the wretched and the persecuted of other nations, finds no favour across the seas. The patriotism of the Australian is very near akin to selfishness. The Russian Jew may be an object of pity at a distance of 12,000 miles, but as a tailor at a low remuneration for a week of 72 hours in Melbourne he is an object of jealous hatred.

The pictures of torture inflicted by the Chinese mandarins raise a thrill of horror, but to take goods from a Chinese shop and insolently to refuse payment or to sling a Chinaman out of his own house is a sport regarded with less aversion by the Colonial larrikin than was bull-baiting or cock-fighting by our ancestors. Even the British workman from home is warned in every possible way not to invade the territory of his Australian brother.