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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

New Zealand Times

New Zealand Times.

Mr. Buckland's Washers and Manglers Bill is no longer the champion instance of burlesque legislation. The Libel Bill of the Hon. John McKenzie has taken its place alongside that notorious measure. If we thought this Bill was seriously intended we should treat it seriously. As it is, we need only say that Mr. W. P. Reeves no longer enjoys the monopoly of Ministerial humour. Mr. McKenzie has made a bold, if elephantine, attempt to divide the honours with his younger colleague. He has succeeded tolerably well, because a Libel Bill which concerns libel as little as it concerns the King of Dahomey is almost a screaming farce. Moreover, a Bill seeking to compel the signature of not only every article and letter appearing in a newspaper, but also of almost every local and every telegram is as rich a piece of burlesque as we have come across for a long time. Further, the provision for making the absence of signatures a proof of malice, which is a proposal for legislative interference with the independence of juries, professing as it does to come from a Liberal politician, is of the essence of the noble art of burlesque. We must compliment Mr. McKenzie on his effort. But we cannot forbear telling him frankly that, if he were to refrain from joking when he is angry, he might joke very much better.