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3-010 (Original)

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author,male,Legislative Council of NSW,un addressee
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Government English
Petitions & Proclamations
Clark, 1975
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We, the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Council assembled feel it to be a duty which we owe to ourselves, to our constituents, and to posterity, before we give place to the New Legislature, established by the 13th and 14th Vict., cap. 59, to record our deep disappointment and dissatisfaction at the Constitution conferred by that Act on this Colony. After the reiterated reports, resolutions, addresses, and petitions which have proceeded from us during the whole course of our Legislative career, against the Schedules appended to the 5 and 6 Vict., cap. 76, and the appropriations of our Ordinary Revenue, under the sole authority of Parliament - against the administration of our Waste Lands, and our Territorial Revenue thence arising - against the withholding of the Customs Department from our control - against the dispensation of the patronage of the Colony at the dictation of the Minister for the Colonies - and against the veto reserved and exercised by the same Minister, in the name of the Crown, in matters of Local Legislation - we feel that we had a right to expect that these undoubted grievances would have been redressed by the 13 and 14 Vict., cap. 59; or that power to redress them would have been conferred on the constituent bodies thereby created, with the avowed intention of establishing an authority more competent than Parliament itself to frame suitable constitutions for the whole group of the Australian Colonies. [323] These, our reasonable expectations, have been utterly frustrated. The Schedules, instead of being abolished, have been increased. The powers of altering the appropriations in these Schedules, conferred on the Colonial Legislature by this new Act, limited as these powers are, have been, in effect, nullified by the subsequent Instructions of the Colonial Minister. The exploded fallacies of the Wakefield theory are still clung to; the pernicious Land Sales Act (5 and 6 Vict., cap. 36,) is still enforced; and thousands of our fellow subjects, (in consequence of the undue price put by that mischievous and impolitic enactment upon our waste lands, in defiance of the precedents of the United States, of Canada, and the other North American Colonies, and even of the neighbouring Colony of the Cape of Good Hope,) are annually diverted from our shores, and thus forced, against their will, to seek a home for themselves and their children in the backwoods of America. Nor is this all - Our Territorial Revenue, diminished as it is by this most mistaken policy, is, in a great measure, confined to the introduction among us of people unsuited to our wants, and in many instances, the outpourings of the poor-houses and Unions of the United Kingdom, instead of being applied in directing to this Colony a Stream of vigorous and efficient labour, calculated to elevate the character of our industrial population. The bestowal of office among us, with but partial exception, is still exercised by or at the nomination of the Colonial Minister, and without any reference to the just claims of the Colonists, as if the Colony itself were but the fief of that Minister. The salaries of the Officers of the Customs and all other departments of Government, included in the Schedules, are placed beyond our control; and the only result of this new enactment, introduced into Parliament by the Prime Minister himself, with the declared intention of conferring upon us enlarged powers of self-government, and treating us, at last, as an integral portion of the Empire - is, that all the material powers exercised for centuries by the House of Commons, are still withheld from us; that our loyalty and desire for the maintenance of order and good government are so far distrusted that we are not permitted to vote our own Civil List, lest it might prove inadequate to the requirements of the Public Service; that our Waste Lands, and our Territorial Revenue, for which Her Majesty is but a trustee, instead of being spontaneously surrendered, as the equivalent for such Civil List, is still reserved, to the great detriment of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, in order to swell the patronage and power of the Ministers of the Crown; that whilst, in defiance of the Declaratory Act (18 Geo. Ill, cap. 12, sec. 1,) which has hitherto been considered the Magna Charta of the representative rights of all the British Plantations, a large amount Of our Public Revenue is thus levied and appropriated by the authority of Parliament, we have not even the consolation of seeing that portion of it which is applied to the payment of the Salaries of our Public Officers distributed, as it ought to be, among the settled inhabitants; and that, as a fit climax to this system of misrule, we are not allowed to exercise the most ordinary legislation which is not subject to the veto of the Colonial Minister. [324]
We, the Legislative Council of New South Wales, do accordingly hereby solemnly protest, insist, and declare as follows: - 1st. That the Imperial Parliament has not, nor of right ought to have, any power to tax the people of this Colony, or to appropriate any of the moneys levied by authority of the Colonial Legislature; - that this power can only be lawfully exercised by the Colonial Legislature, - and that the Imperial Parliament has solemnly disclaimed this power by the 18 Geo. III, cap. 12, sec. 1, which Act remains unrepealed.
2nd. - That the Revenue arising from the Public Lands, derived as it is mainly, from the value imported to them by the labor and capital of the people of this Colony, is as much their property as the Ordinary Revenue, and ought, therefore, to be subject only to the like control and appropriation.
3rd. - That the Customs and all other Ddepartments should be subject to the direct supervision and control of the Colonial Legislature; which should have the appropriation of the gross Revenues of the Colony, from whatever source arising; and as a necessary incident to this authority, the regulation of the salaries of all Colonial Officers.
4th.- - That Offices of trust and emolument should be conferred only on the settled inhabitants, the office of Governor alone excepted; that this Office should be appointed and paid by the Crown; and that the whole patronage of the Colony should be vested in him and the Executive Council, unfettered by Instructions from the Minister for the Colonies.
5th. - That plenary powers of Legislation should be conferred upon and exercised by the Colonial Legislature for the time being; and that no Bills should be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's Pleasure, unless they affect the Prerogatives of the Crown, or the general interests of the Empire.
That these grievances having formed the subject of repeated representations and complaints from the former Legislative Council, all of which have met with neglect or disregard from Your Majesty's Colonial Minister, we owe it to ourselves and our constituents, to denounce to Your Majesty, as the chief grievance to which the people of this Colony are subjected, the systematic and mischievous interference which is exercised by that Minister even in matters of purely local concernment. [325]
That whilst we are most anxious to strengthen and perpetuate the connexion which still happily subsists with our Fatherland, we feel it a solemn duty to Your Majesty and our fellow Countrymen in the United Kingdom, to declare that it will be impossible much longer to maintain the authority of a Local Executive which is obliged by its Instructions to refer all measures of importance, no matter how great the urgency for their immediate adoption, for the decision of an inexperienced, remote, and irresponsible Department.
That in order, however, that Your Majesty's Confidential Advisers may have no excuse for the continuance of these abuses, we unhesitatingly declare that we are prepared upon the surrender to the Colonial Legislature of the entire management of all our revenues, Territorial as well as General, in which we include Mines of every description, description and upon the establishment of a Constitution among us similar in its outline to that of Canada, to assume and provide for the whole cost of our Internal Government, whether Civil or Military, the salary of the Governor-General only excepted - and to grant to Your Majesty an adequate Civil List, on the same terms as in Canada, instead of the sums appropriated in the Schedules to the Imperial Act 13 and 14 Victoria, chap. 59.