To the Electors of the North Western Province [election statement by N. Fitzgerald, 17 October 1864]

[Editor: This election statement, made by N. Fitzgerald, was published in The Age (Melbourne), 17 October 1864.]

To the Electors of the North Western Province.

Gentlemen, — I have the honor to inform you that, in compliance with requisitions, influentially signed in various parts of the Province just presented to me, I am induced to become a Candidate for your suffrages at the approaching election.

Identified as I have been for many years with the commercial and industrial interests of the chief centres of population in your Province, I trust that my political opinions may be found in consonance with those held by you.

I am favorable to an amendment of our Constitution Act in many of its provisions. I desire to render it more harmonious in its action, as it is evident that there is an irreconcilable antagonism between the two branches of the Legislature, which can only be remedied by a reform of the Legislative Council.

I am an advocate for three points, which I believe would accomplish the end in view, namely:—

1. The reduction of the property qualification of members.

2. The extension of the franchise, in order to give the electoral body more influence and power in the selection of representatives.

3. A system of rotation, by which an entire change may be effected in the Council in the period of six years. One-third of the body to retire every two years — thus bringing public opinion to have its legitimate influence on the choice of members for that chamber, and providing in future against a “dead-lock” in our representative institutions.

Reflecting upon our political position, I am obliged to state to you, in candor, that until the necessary alterations of the constitution of the Legislative Council are effected, I do not think that any profession on my part, or, indeed, the profession of any other candidate as to the best mode of dealing with the Land Question can be productive of immediate results, but I am prepared to support, irrespective of party considerations, any measure founded on a liberal and just basis, having for its object the long acknowledged principle of settling the population in agricultural pursuits, rather than aiming at exacting the highest price obtainable at auction for the public domain.

I am a Free Trader from conviction. My education as a commercial man has afforded me large opportunities of judging of its advantages to a community; but if a revision of our tariff can be made with advantage, having for its object the distribution of the burthen of taxation on more equitable principles than prevails at present, I would support such revision.

The details as to the important omissions in the endowment clauses of our Local Government Act, our Mining Code, and Commercial Laws, all of which so vitally retard our progress, I shall deal with when I have the honor of laying my views before you in as many of the centres of population as time will admit of my visiting before the day of election.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, your faithful servant,
Castlemaine, 12th October, 1864.

The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 17 October 1864, p. 7

Editor’s notes:
burthen = (archaic) burden

consonance = agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions; agreement, accord or harmony among people or components (may also refer to: a combination of musical notes that sound pleasant when played together; repetition of the same consonants in words, especially at the end of stressed syllable)

suffrage = (archaic) a vote for a candidate or a vote for a proposal (in modern usage “suffrage” refers to the right to vote, or the exercising of that right)

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