Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/26

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allotted six members; but owing to the distance of the capital and the expense of living there during the session, no local candidates, no men having a personal interest in the prosperity of the new province, would come forward. As a necessary consequence, the choosing of parliamentary representatives soon became a merely formal matter in which not the slightest public interest was manifested. The choice of candidates being practically limited to Sydney residents, members were elected and re-elected for the Port Phillip district on the most approved old-world pocket-borough principle. As a matter of fact, many of the electors, probably the majority of them, were in complete ignorance of the names of their parliamentary representatives. To put an end to this stupid farce, a novel expedient was hit upon. In 1848, when the time again arrived to send representatives to Sydney, an ingenious elector suggested that they would be quite as well represented by residents of London as by residents of Sydney, and therefore he moved that Earl Grey was a fit and proper person to represent the electors of Port Phillip in the Sydney Parliament. This ludicrous proposal was immediately adopted and acted upon, and it must be admitted that no better means could be devised of showing the home authorities the absurdity of giving the form of parliamentary representation without the substance. When the news reached England that Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies, had been elected member for Melbourne in the Sydney Parliament, the irresistible drollery of the situation compelled attention to the remonstrances of the colonists. The agitation for separation was carried on with renewed vigour, and eventually, on August 5th, 1850, an "Act for the Better Government of the Australian Colonies" and providing for the separation of the Port