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3-223 (Text)

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addressee author,male,Inter-Colonial Conference,un
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Clark, 1975
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The Suggestion that an Inter-Colonial Conference should be held, at which delegates from the various colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland, should assemble in order to consider the possibility of adopting a uniform tariff, was made by His Excellency Sir Dominick Daly, Governor of South Australia. Circumstances interfered to prevent the Conference from assembling until the present year, when representatives, duly appointed by their respective Governments, attended on behalf of all these colonies with the exception of Western Australia and Queensland.
The reasons urged by those colonies for not sending delegates are stated in the letters from the Colonial Secretary of Western Australia, and the Principal Under-Secretary, Queensland.
The delegates so appointed, and who appeared on behalf of their respective Governments, were -  
The Executive Council Chamber, Melbourne, was appropriated by the Government of Victoria for the sittings of the Conference, and a preliminary meeting, at which all the delegates were present, was held there on Thursday, the 26th of March, when it was determined that the election of a chairman was unnecessary; and that as one of the main objects of the Conference would be defeated by premature publicity, the proceedings should not be open to the public, but that the results only should be communicated. The first formal meeting took place on the following day, and the sittings extended to the 13th April.
The subjects discussed were: - First. - The Tariff, and subjects of a kindred character, including drawbacks and ad valorem duties.
Secondly. - Inland Inter-colonial Customs Duties and their distribution.
Thirdly.--Transportation from the United Kingdom to the Australian possessions.
Fourthly. - A permanent Immigration Fund, to be provided by Act by each colony, upon an equitable basis.
Fifthly. - Improvements of Internal Rivers in Australia, for purposes of navigation and irrigation.
Sixthly. - Coast Lighthouses and other maritime questions affecting the shipping interest.
Seventhly. - Fortnightly Ocean Postal Communication.
Eighthly. - Anglo-Australian and China Telegraphic.
Ninthly. - Legal questions: including the Law of Bankruptcy, of Patents, of Joint Stock Companies, of Probates and Letters of Administration, and a Court of Appeal for the Australian Colonies.
Tenthly. - A uniform system of Weights and Measures. 
Upon these subjects the following resolutions were passed, viz.: - 1. - On the Tariff and kindred subjects - That this Conference deems it desirable to settle the basis of a uniform Tariff for the Australian colonies and also for Tasmania.
That the articles to be rendered subject to duties should now be discussed.
That this Conference is of opinion that the ad valorem mode of levying duties upon goods is open to so many objections that it ought not to be resorted to.
That the following Tariff be adopted by this Conference, viz.: - 
That the members of this Conference undertake to urge upon their respective Parliaments the adoption of such Tariff.
That in the opinion of this Conference, the Tariff which has been agreed upon, after the fullest deliberation, ought not to be altered by any one colony, nor until after proposed alterations shall have been considered in a future Conference.
That drawbacks be, allowed on the following articles, viz.: -
That the secretary prepare in quadruplicate, a schedule containing the Tariff and the list of the articles on which drawbacks are to be allowed, and that the treasurers present do affix their signatures to such schedules, and each take one schedule to be kept in a sealed envelope until required for Parliamentary' discussion.
That Tuesday the 2nd June, at half-past four o'clock be fixed as the day and hour for bringing forward the attended Tariff question in all the colonies.
2. - On Inter-colonial Customs Duties and their distribution - That in the opinion of this Conference, Customs Duties ought to be paid to the revenues of those colonies by whose population the dutiable goods are consumed.
That this Conference is of opinion that the Colonies of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia ought to co-operate with each other to secure to each colony the revenue to which it is legally entitled, either by the distribution of the Customs Revenues collected by all at stated periods, rateably according to their population, or by some other mode which may be considered equitable and practicable.
3. - On Transportation - That this Conference address Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, praying that Transportation may not be established or continued in any portion of Her Majesty's Australian Dependencies.
That a Committee consisting of Messrs. Cowper, O'Shanassy, Meredith, and the Mover (Mr. Blyth), be appointed to prepare the address. 
That this Address be adopted, viz.: - May it please Your Majesty,
We, Your Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, the delegates appointed by the respective Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, to consider matters of common interest, in conference assembled, beg leave to approach Your Majesty with assurances of our attachment to Your Majesty's person and Government.
We humbly assure Your Majesty that the appointment of a Royal Commission to enquire into the subject of transportation from the United Kingdom has filled the inhabitants of the Australian Colonies with alarm, under an apprehension that some portion of Your Majesty's Australian possessions may be selected as a site for a new penal settlement.
We desire to impress upon Your Majesty that transportation to any part of Australia, whether settled or not, would practically be transportation to those colonies now existing; would be regarded as a breach of faith, more especially by the large numbers of Your Majesty's subjects who have settled in Australia since transportation was discontinued; would impede the current of free immigration, seriously affect the moral welfare of the people, and cause a large increase in the expenses of the several Governments.
We venture humbly to remind Your Majesty that we have already had experience of the injurious effects produced by transportation, and that the result of that experience was communicated to Your Majesty in addresses and petitions from Your Majesty's loyal subjects in these colonies. That in compliance with thc prayer of those remonstrances, Your Majesty was graciously pleased to cause the discontinuance of the system then in existence, and the colonists were consequently led to believe that no proposal for its re-establishment would ever be entertained.
We desire humbly to inform Your Majesty that if the Report of the Royal Commission should recommend the revival of transportation to Australia, and if that recommendation should unhappily be adopted, the utmost dissatisfaction would be felt throughout the whole group of these colonies, now flourishing and contented, and the strong feeling of loyalty which now so universally prevails, would be materially weakened.
We humbly implore Your Majesty to refuse Your Majesty's sanction to any proposal for reviving transportation to any part of Your Majesty's Australian possessions, and we also entreat that Your Majesty will be pleased to direct that, as early as possible, the transportation of convicts from the United Kingdom to Western Australia should cease, as daily experience proves that the existence of a penal settlement there inflicts much injury upon these colonies. 
We desire humbly to assure Your Majesty that in acceding to the prayer of the petitions which were formerly addressed to Your Majesty, and in the establishment of that enlightened policy which has been of late years manifested toward these colonies, Your Majesty has strengthened in a high degree those feelings of dutiful attachment which it is our anxious and earnest wish should be maintained; and in appealing on this important occasion to Your Majesty, we humbly beseech Your Majesty to prevent the infliction of so deadly a blow to the welfare and happiness of these colonies, and to their moral and social progress.
That four copies of the Address be engrossed for transmission to Her Majesty and that a copy be presented by the delegates of the several colonies to each Governor respectively requesting that he will be pleased to transmit it.
4. - On Immigration: - That in the opinion of this Conference it is of the highest importance to the prosperity and future greatness of Australia that a healthy flow of immigration should be encouraged and promoted from the United Kingdom chiefly; and as permanent legal appropriation, for, the accomplishment of this object, has been made already by some of the local legislatures, by devoting a fixed proportion of the revenues derivable from the alienation of the public lands, it is but just, in pursuance of a common interest that similar provision should be made on an equitable basis, such as population and revenue, by all the legislatures respectively.
That when such arrangements have been perfected the decision already come to by this Conference in relation to any alteration in the tariff should apply with equal force and justice to any proposed alteration affecting the legal provision for promoting immigration, viz.: That an Inter-colonial Conference be called to consider the subject, before any legislation is proposed by the respective governments.
5. - On improvements to the great rivers of the interior: - That in the opinion of this Conference the commerce population and wealth of Australia can be largely increased by rendering navigable, and otherwise utilizing the great rivers of the interior, such as the Murray, Edward, Murrumbidgee, and Darling, and that the obligation of carrying into effect the necessary works to accomplish these objects devolves, primarily, upon the respective governments having control over such rivers.