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Lords Chamber

Volume 110: debated on Monday 22 April 1850

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House Of Lords

Monday, April 22, 1850.

MINUTES.] Took the Oaths.—The Lord Blantyre. PUBLIC BILLS.—1a West India Appeals.

Reported.—Smoke Prohibition; School Districts Contributions.

The Australian Colonies

wished to put a question to his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, which he was induced to ask on account of the incompleteness of the information before the House with reference to the opinions of the people of Australia on the subject of the change in their constitution. Their Lordships might see, from the Votes of the other House of Parliament, that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to propose a Bill to carry such a change into effect, and there were also certain documents relating to this interesting question, which were already before the House. He could not help thinking, however, that the evidence in relation to the real feeling of the colonists was incomplete, and he therefore begged to ask his noble Friend whether any further despatches had been received from New South Wales and Western Australia on the subject of the proposed change of the constitution of those provinces; and whether it was the intention of the Government to recommend any Bill for forming a new constitution for those provinces without the production of further information on the subject?

replied, that when the Bill came up to their Lordships' House, he would state to them the grounds on which he thought they would be justified in proceeding with it. At present he would only say that no information as to New South Wales or Western Australia had reached Her Majesty's Government which was not already before the House; but from Port Phillip he had received a copy of resolutions agreed to at an important public meeting, which had been forwarded to the Governor, but which had not yet reached him (Earl Grey) through that channel. In these resolutions the colonists expressed their regret at the delay occasioned by the loss of the measure of last year, which was similar to the Bill of the present Session. He had only to remark further, that with regard to New South Wales, the measure did not propose any change of constitution, the only question being whether the colony should not be divided into two.

observed, that the Bill now proposed to be introduced was not the same as that of last Session; there was now a proposition for establishing a federal government, which was entirely new.

thought the resolutions to which the noble Earl had alluded expressed regret that the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales was not effected last year; but at the same time the colonists expressed satisfaction at the course pursued by those of their Lordships who objected to the passing of the whole measure without a sufficient expression of feeling by the people of both colonies. It was stated by more than one of their Lordships, that if the Government would consent to separate that portion of the Bill which separated Port Phillip from the rest of New South Wales, there would be no difficulty in passing it.

was quite aware of the fact which the noble Lord had stated; but the noble Lord was no doubt also aware that there were certain practical difficulties in separating the two parts of the Bill which had been alluded to. The resolutions to which he had referred were passed in the town of Melbourne, and expressed regret that the Bill had not been proceeded with last year.

Subject at an end.

Sheep And Cattle Importation Prohibition Act

then moved for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the operation of an Act to prohibit the importation of sheep, cattle, and other animals for the purpose of preventing the introduction of contagious or infectious diseases (11th and 12th Victoria, C. 105), with a view of rendering its provisions more efficient than at present. In making that Motion, he did not introduce it to their Lordships as either a party or a political Motion, but because the Act in question was a most injurious measure, was utterly uncalled for, and was productive of great evil, and had been productive of much injury to the agricultural interest. He was not going to try to get rid of this Act of Parliament by a side wind, or by any indirect means—but the facts con- nected with it were of such importance that it should be known whether the importation of foreign cattle had given rise to any contagious diseases among our own sheep and cattle. He asked for this Committee not only to protect the interests of our own agriculture from injury, but also to see whether we could not prevent unwholesome food from being sold to the people of this country. As he understood that it was not the intention of his noble Friend the Vice-President of the Board of Trade to object to the appointment of this Committee, he would not trespass on the time of their Lordships further than to say, that he was quite willing to leave the nomination of the Members of it in the hands of his noble Friend.

On Question, Resolved in the Affirmative; the Committee to be named to-morrow.

House adjourned till To-morrow.