To the electors of the Upper Hunter [election statement of John Robertson, 1 December 1860]

[Editor: An election advertisement regarding the candidature of John Robertson for the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. Published in The Maitland Mercury, 1 December 1860.]

To the electors of the Upper Hunter.

Gentlemen — I again offer myself as a Candidate for your representation, and desire to remind you that the dissolution of the late Assembly arose from the fact that its impracticability became unmistakably manifest, while dealing with the management of the Public Lands.

In once more placing my best services at your disposal, I have no new views to explain. I am still, as ever, deeply anxious that those only who have been elected by the people for the purpose should be permitted to take part in Legislation. That a fair and equitable course of Legislation should obtain, with reference to the management of the Public Lands — that the development of the resources of the country should be facilitated by means of greatly extended railway communication — that such modifications of taxation should be adopted as would place the public burdens more equitably upon those best able to bear them — that in appropriating the public revenues, efficiency of the public service, coupled with economy, should be insisted upon. And, generally, that justice, freedom, and moderation should become more extensively infused into our laws.

During the past session, the Government endeavoured to carry those views into effect. They brought forward a bill to make the Legislative Council elective. They brought forward also Bills to deal with the question of the Public Lands, but which were substantially rejected, mainly by the influence of the Crown tenants who held seats in the Assembly, notwithstanding that all the lands held from the Crown on lease, or promise of lease, implied or otherwise, were under the bills exempted from interference, other than expressly provided for in the letter and spirit of such leases or promises of leases. Fully alive to the great value of the squatting interest, the Government had provided many important changes for facilitating its advancement, and would have gladly assisted in carrying out others. A large section of the Crown tenants, and those who acted with them, however, met the Government with the extreme course of refusing to permit, for those who desired to make homes for themselves, the speediest possible mode of selection and purchase of Crown lands, though not under lease, and the Government had no honorable course open to them but to decline to proceed further with the bills.

Thus, legislation upon the land question, and upon all other questions, is suspended, with a view to give the people an opportunity of giving effect to their opinions at this, the most important crisis of our country’s history.

I remain, Gentlemen, your faithful servant,

John Robertson.

Sydney, 14th November, 1860.

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (West Maitland, NSW), 1 December 1860, p. 5

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