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3-125 (Raw)

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author,male,Deniehy, Daniel Henry,28 addressee
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Deniehy, 1884
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The Land question is the cardinal subject for Australian statesmanship, and it is one which, because of the considerations surrounding it, considerations flowing from physical characteristics of the country, would imperatively demand the genius of a statesman of the very highest order. I claim such a settlement of this question, then, as shall - everywhere the necessities of the State require it - open up the public lands of the Colony to the industrial classes, as shall place land easily within every man's reach, not in theory but in point of fact, and in the broad and true spirit of colonization, in the spirit of that honest national policy, which, in the rulers of a new land, make the building up of a nation the end and aim of Government. [57]
Meanwhile the interests based on pastoral pursuits have become, so to speak, one of the institutions of the country. However much I wish the present land regulations reformed, even organically changed, I shall demand for every genuine interest that has grown up under them equitable consideration, and this on grounds not only, as I have before remarked, of abstract justice, but of natural policy. As a great existing productive and commercial feature of the country, I wish the pastoral interest to be fairly and wisely dealt with, on a basis of severe justice, but on a basis not a whit more extensive. The immigration question I regard as allied to that of opening the lands. Without effecting the latter, any attempt at extensive and effective immigration I look upon as idle. Heretofore we have been mainly occupied in importing servants and labourers for the larger landholders. Our land regulations have virtually deprived us of the power of offering inducements to a class of respectable peasants in Europe, who would gladly come here to become small prprietors, - to be to us "the soul and the spirit, the blood and the bone," of national strength and prosperity, - to contribute, each one by his particular effort, to that general result which would make "the wilderness to blossom like the rose" - to give us, besides consolidating our material prosperity, those massive thinkers, those rugged, undaunted masters and confessors for truth, and right which the bold yeomanry of every European land and the giant American States have brought forth. 
For myself, gentlemen, devoutly could I have wished this day of my nomination as a member of your parliament for some years postponed. I would have wished to build myself into solid proportions of wisdom and learning. I would fain have known more of mankind ere I undertook to legislate for them. I would fain have abode longer in that atmosphere which Milton termed "the still and severe air of great studies." [58] But a crisis, you tell me, and I believe it, is at hand, or is rapidly approaching, and you want me. When the signal fires are reddening the hills at midnight, when the sharp tuck of the drum and the fierce, taunting invitation of the trumpet are abroad, is it for the recruit to plead that his drill is incomplete? Going down to represent your opinions, as I shall, on a question of the highest moment, I shall do my best to serve the exigencies of the hour, with a humble sense of my present inexperience, but with no unworthy hope. I trust to hereafter lending a hand, in my poor way, to touch to great and beneficent issues the destinies of this "Land of the free, whose kingdom is to come." 
Mr. Deniehy resumed his seat amidst deafening and protracted bursts of applause.