Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/678

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330 THE BRITISH EMPIRE: AUSTRALASIAN FEDERATION

by way of referendum, it is accepted by a majority of the people of the Commomvealth and by a majority of the states.

In the month of June, 1898, the Constitution Bill was submitted by means of the referendum to the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. The Enabling Acts provided that in the case of New South Wales the minimum affirmative vote should be 80,000 ; in the case of Victoria, 50,000 ; and in the case of Tasmania, 6,000 ; while in South Australia a bare majority of votes was sufficient to secure the acceptance of the Bill. In Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania the Bill was adopted by large majorities ; while in the case of New South Wales there was a majority of 5,367 for the Bill, but as the affirmative vote only reached 71,595, the Bill was regarded as rejected. The results of the voting were as follow : —

Colony.

I'^or the Bill.

'^^'^Bm.^^ I Total Votes

New South Wales

Victoria

South Australia

Tasmania

71,595

100,520

3.5,803

11,706

66,228

22,099

17,320

2,716

137,823

122,619

53,123

14,422

The Bill was not submitted to the popular vote in Western Australia, as the Enabling Act of that colony provided that Western Australia should only join a federation of which New South Wales formed a part. The other colonies also, although legally empowered to federate without New South Wales, tacitly admit that the adhesion of the mother colony must be secured before the final steps are taken. In New South Wales, politicians of all shades of thought are united in their desire for federation, only differing upon the question of the extent to which concessions shall be made for the purpose of securing the desired union, and it is confidently anticipated that within a very short time the Commonwealth of Australia will be called into existence.

At a conference of Premiers held at Melbourne in January, 1899, an agi-eement was come to on all disputed matters. In case of differences between the two Houses of the Legislature, an absolute majority of both will decide. The clause providing for proportionate distribution of surplus revenue among separate States will continue in force for ten years, and may then be repealed. Parliament having in the meantime power to deal with exceptional financial circumstances arising in any of the States. The Federal capital will be within New South Wales, but at least 100 miles from Sydney, and must lie Federal territory. Queensland will be allowed to elect Senators by voting in divisions instead of in one electorate. A majority of electors will suffice to secure the bill.

Statistical and other Books of Reference concerning Australasia generally.

1. Official Publications.

Each of the colonies publishes an Annual Blue Book and Statistical Register, containing Annual Reports of the various administrative, industrial, criminal, educational, and other departments.

Australasia : Despatch on the subject of a Draft Bill to con.stitute a Federal Council of Australasia. London, 1884.

Australasian Statistics, published annually, with Report, by J. J. Fenton, Assjstant Government Statist of Victoria. Melbourne,