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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: August 2011
  • First published in: 1883

CHAPTER XVIII - POWERS OF HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT—INTERCAMERAL DIFFERENCES—ATTACK ON THE COUNCIL IN SYDNEY—TACKS IN VICTORIA—SIR C. DARLING

Summary

The mode in which the Constitutions of the several colonies worked while new men feverishly aspired to office, and courted popularity by creating resentment against a second Chamber when it exercised powers guaranteed by the letter of the law, deserves close consideration. In New South Wales the Council, or Upper House, being nominated by the Crown, was jealously regarded by the elected Lower House on all questions affecting Money Bills. This was natural, and was not resented by the Council. The members nominated by Sir W. Denison stood so high in public estimation that it would have been difficult for passionate members of the Assembly to create hostility against them. The roll of 1857 discloses the names of the Chief Justice, Sir A. Stephen; Justices Dickinson and Therry; a retired Judge, the upright Sir W. W. Burton; Deas Thomson, Plunkett, and Merewether, already mentioned in these pages; distinguished members of the legal and medical professions; settlers; merchants; and others of high repute. The Constitution had provided a minimum of 21 members. In 1858 there were 42.

As Constitutional difficulties in Australia have often arisen from contests about the powers and the composition of Upper Houses, a study of the circumstances of each colony is requisite. The men upon whom fell the task of dealing with problems of State were often unfit for it, but not the less were their rash acts destined to affect the future of the community which they distracted.

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