Meetings at Mintaro.
A meeting of the electors of the District of Stanley was held at the Mintaro Hotel, Mintaro, on Wednesday morning, April 6. There were about 50 persons present. Mr. H. Jolly occupied the chair, and commenced the proceedings by remarking that although the Hon. Mr. Colton was late in the field he believed he had come just in time to save his bacon. (A laugh, and hear, hear.) He hoped the meeting would give the hon. gentleman a fair hearing.
The Hon. J. Colton then enunciated his opinions on the more important topics of public interest as already reported. He appeared, he said, before them in compliance with an earnest and general invitation from the electors of that district; and if he had any doubt as to the wisdom of offering them his services that doubt disappeared last night, when a resolution was carried in his favor at a very large and influential meeting at Clare. The Chairman declared the voting to be two-thirds of the meeting for him and one-third against, which he could not but regard as highly satisfactory. Speaking of payment of members, he observed that it had been represented to him that there was a difficulty in getting suitable local men to represent country districts, in consequence of their having, in addition to giving their time, to incur considerable expense. They had no objection to give their time, but they did not think they could, in justice to their families, reside in Adelaide at much cost, as would be necessitated by attending Parliament. Therefore, if a measure was brought forward to pay country members a reasonable amount for expenses, he should not be found opposing it, although he was not prepared to go in for a general payment of members. Respecting the proposed land tax, he introduced the 2d. an acre scheme as a member of the Government. He did not bring it in anticipating that it would be carried in that form, but having been over and over again asked by the Opposition to bring in something to deal with the maintenance of the main roads, he stated that he would do so, and accordingly submitted the resolutions. He placed them, before, the House on the distinct understanding that they were to be taken and dealt with honestly and fairly; and if after they had been discussed, it was found that his was not a proper mode of raising the necessary revenue, he had a right to expect that he should receive the assistance of hon. members in carrying into effect some other scheme that would be considered more equitable. But he received no assistance, and he thought he had good reason for complaint. Their late member, Mr. Bright, instead of assisting him, proposed that the main roads be maintained out of the revenue as previously. (A laugh; and a Voice— ‘Well done Bright.’) He should not, he assured them, again propose such a tax. (Hear, hear.) He was convinced that before long additional taxation would have to be resorted to, and a property tax, in his opinion, was the fairest and most equitable that could be adopted. (Hear, hear.) He had given them his opinions. Certain other candidates who had addressed them had not given them theirs, on the ground that they were afraid other people would suck their brains, although he was not aware that either of them had a very large share of brains to suck. (Laughter and cheers.)
Mr. James Torr then addressed the meeting. He said—I want an interest in your interests. There are ‘tripey and bumpy.’ What I said I’d do I am doing. I told you if better men than tripey and bumpy did not come out I would stand, and here I am. (Laughter.) I’m pleased with Mr. Colton. He’s a perfect gentleman; he’s worthy of your support. (Hear, hear.) I say vote for him. (An Elector—’Will you retire?’ No. (A laugh.) I cannot do that now. I have pledged my word that I’ll stand, and I’m going through thick, bone, and ‘siners.’ (Laughter.) I wish to represent you in the House as an honorable, working, and local member. Gentlemen, I don’t want any payment—Jimmy Torr can pay everybody. (Hear, hear.) I say if you can get two better men than ‘bumpy and tripey’ kick ’em out. You have the Hon. Mr. Colton and myself—both good men. (Laughter and cheers.) When you have finished laughing, gentlemen, I’ll go on. The day is coming when every boy will follow his own plough tail. Give us free selection, and let the working man have a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. The sweat of a poor man’s brow is the backbone of the colony. (A laugh.) If the poor laboring men are put down, how will the rich men get on? The unemployed in Adelaide should be sent out into the country, and the men no good sent to the Stockade. (Great laughter.) I put myself forward as a candidate who’ll do all he can for the district in which he has eaten 24 Christmas dinners. (Laughter.) I say help the poor man and down with the rich man. (Laughter.) I say the poor man is the backbone and the ‘siners.’ I want a more liberal land measure. Let our men and children go out and pick out their own land and sit down and plough it. (Laughter.) I want land at 15s. an acre or a little less. If our best men are going over the Border, stop ’em, I say. If it be well, give ’em the land. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) The railway from Port Augusta ought to be at once taken, through the country. There in the North there is milk, there is butter, and there is honey. (Laughter.) They say the North is no good, but I say it is. (Hear, hear.) There is gold and there is silver there. We have been in the dark. The North to us is like the morning star. Give us a railway to Blanchetown from the Burra. If you return me I shall be thankful. If you don’t I shall be exactly the same. (A laugh.) If you return me you return a good man. (Laughter and cheers.)
The Chairman said Mr. Torr went to the extreme in the matter of land reform.
(Laughter.) He was liberal to a fault. If his ideas were carried out he believed we should all before long find our way down to the Insolvent Court. (Hear, hear.)
The Hon. J. Colton, in reply to Mr. George Faulkner, said the desire of the Government was to unlock the lands, that the farmer might have what was suited for agricultural purposes to cultivate. He thought the law should be such as to encourage settlement, and that water, as far as it could be, should be reserved. (Hear, hear.) He would not do away with the auction system altogether. The idea of the agricultural areas was to prevent the land agent competing against the farmer. A reduction of passenger fares on the railways was under consideration, and if there were not third-class carriages there would be third-class fares. (Hear, hear.) He certainly considered there should be blinds to the carriages, and the matter should be seen to. (Cheers.)
In reply to Mr. P. Dowd, the Hon. J. Colton remarked that the Northern Extension Railway had been opened from station to station to increase the income and provide further accommodation for the public. Very few Commissioners would have done what he did respecting Mr. John Rounsevell’s contract. By cancelling that contract he had materially increased the revenue of the railways and the quantity of goods carried along them. (Cheers). As Commissioner of Railways he had done all he could to make the railways popular. (Hear, hear.) He was not prepared to say that the Central Road Board should be abolished, and the money at present expended by it handed over to the District Councils. He would improve the roads leading to the railway stations. Although it might be true that that district had contributed more to the revenue during the last 12 years than any other excepting the South-East, the residents must bear in mind that they had a railway, which they should regard as some equivalent.
The Hon. J. Colton in answer to Mr. W. Thomas said, if elected, he should as member for the district, support the construction of the proposed Clare and Wallaroo railway. (Hear, hear.) He should advocate a uniform charge for telegrams, as in Victoria; but he would not resort to postage on newspapers as a means of raising the revenue. We had a press that was enlightened and generally well conducted, and the papers, as was desirable, circulated amongst all classes of the community. He certainly thought it would be injudicious to make newspapers pay postage.
In reply to Mr. Wm. Giles, the Hon. J. Colton said he would not define what the religious instruction imparted at the public schools should be; neither would he insist upon such instruction. (Hear, hear.)
The Hon. J. Colton, replying to a question of Mr. Faulkner, said he would be in favor of equalising the salaries of the Ministers, and making them about £800 a year each. (Cheers.) It was not all gold that glittered. Ministers had many calls upon their purses that the public knew nothing of. The opening of one railway cost him as much as £100.
The Chairman observed that the Hon. Mr. Colton had given honest answers to the questions put to him. He was not a man who stated what he thought would meet with approval; on the contrary, he said what he really meant. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. R. Lathlean proposed that the Hon. J. Colton was a suitable person to represent the district in the next House of Assembly. Mr. Thomas Ninnes seconded.
Mr. P. Brady moved an amendment, that the Hon. Mr. Colton was not a suitable person. He had been kicked out of his own district, and surely the electors of Stanley, would not return such a man as their representative. He ought to be ashamed of himself. He was speaking of the Hon. Mr. Colton as a politician only, because apart from politics, he regarded him as a gentleman. (Cheers.) Mr. Robert Hill seconded.
The amendment was carried, the voting being, 12 for, and eight against.
The Hon. J. Colton said, although the proposition was lost by a small majority, he believed on the day the election took place he should be well supported. (Hear, hear.) He had endeavored in the past to do his duty, and if returned again to the Legislature, he should continue to try to do so. (Cheers.)
Mr. Horell proposed Mr. James Torr. The motion was seconded by Mr. P. Brady, and carried.
Mr. Torr, in returning thanks said—Gentlemen, don’t laugh; I am very thankful for what you’ve done. I am a fit and proper man to enter the House of Assembly. (Laughter.) Gentlemen, I am going in without a spot or blemish. (Roars of laughter.) ,
The proceedings closed with a vote of thanks to the Chairman.
Mr. D. T. Jarman, and Mr. Hewitt, another new candidate for Stanley, addressed the electors at Mintaro, on Thursday evening. There were about 60 persons present, and Mr. Thompson Priest occupied the chair. Mr. Jarman explained in full detail his political opinions on the leading topics, as already reported in our columns; after which, Mr. Hewitt addressed the meeting. He claimed to be called a local candidate, though a rejected one from Yatala. As he had that day come from Adelaide it could not be expected that he was in the best humor, or so fully prepared as he should like to address an audience on political matters. He, however, would briefly touch upon the several leading questions before the country. He was in favor of free selection after survey, with deferred payments, extending over a term of 10 years, the highest price to be 30s. an acre, with a sliding-scale down to 10s. The tariff should be amended by a slight protective duty; but he would not go so far as the thorough protectionists. He would protect cornbags, manufactered timber, boots and shoes. He was not in favor of railway extension until such time as they were in a position to manufacture all the requirements in the colony; but he was in favor of a railway north from from (sic) Port Augusta. The present education system cost £25,000 a year without giving any visible satisfaction. Schools in thickly populated districts should be self supporting, and in scattered districts he would advocate increased stipends. He would be in favor of payment of members, but he would not vote money into his own pocket; the new Parliament should vote the amount for their successors. In reply to questions, Mr. Jarman was in favor of sending members back to their constituents on taking office; whilst Mr. Hewitt was opposed to it. Both candidates were in favor of reserving all permanent water holes. They were not in favor of reserving any land permanently for commonage. They were in favor of an amendment of the insolvency laws, and of insolvency cases being heard at country Local Courts. They were in favor of enquiring into the alleged trickery of Cobb & Co.’s mail contracts. Mr. Hewitt did not know if he would oppose a railway from Clare to Wallaroo. Mr. Jarman could not support it, as there could be a good road made there. Both candidates were in favor of bonuses to colonial industry. They were not in favor of uniform charges for telegraph messages throughout the colony. Mr. Hewitt would make the Ministers’ salaries £800 each, Mr. Jarman would reduce the salaries to £500. Both candidates spoke strongly against the South-Eastern Railway. After a considerable number of minor questions had been answered, both candidates were duly proposed and seconded as fit and proper persons to represent the district of Stanley. Amendments were also proposed and seconded against each of the candidates, but found but little sympathy. The amendments were lost, and both propositions carried by large majorities. The usual votes of thanks closed a very orderly meeting.