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The President's Closing Address

It is usual in closing such a meeting as this to refer briefly to some of the more important matters which have engaged the attention of the members. That this Convention has been vested with considerable importance no one can deny; and that the Bathurst People's Convention which commenced its sittings on Monday last and terminates to-day has brought forward many resolutions of vast importance and passed many amendments of equal importance is now a matter of past history. (Applause.)

In mentioning one or two of these matters, allow me to refer in the first place to the amendment which was moved by a gentleman to whom all honor should be accorded for the great interest which he has taken in Australian Federation during the pact 10 or 12 years. I refer to Dr. Quick. (Applause.) Dr. Quick moved an amendment of very great importance in clause 9 of part 11. Draft Bill to the effect that the Senate be elected by the people. That matter was very carefully considered by this Convention. There was a consensus of opinion with reference to the amendment, showing that this Convention wished to be liberal in its character to the people. It recognised the great fact that the Federal Government should be a Government in which the people should have a more than passing interest, a matter which the Press would do well to bring prominently before the Australian public.

Amongst many other amendments which were made by this Convention, I will mention that moved on clause 3, chapter 7, referring to aboriginal natives of Australia and non-naturalised races of other countries, and also a most important one with reference to the railways, which proposes to hand over their entire management, etc., to the Federal Government.

I do not intend to enter any further into the work of the Convention, which will be printed and published in due time, but I cannot conclude without referring to some matters of a more or less formal character. In the first place I have to mention that the thanks of this Convention are due to the Governors and Judges of the various colonies who have written us letters of sympathy and support and have taken the matter so much into consideration as is expressed in their communications. Our special thanks is due to a gentleman who in the initial proceedings of this Convention was a most earnest worker. I refer to the Rev. Father Dowling, to whom we are


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indebted for the motto of the Convention. (Applause.) The Governments of the several colonies have given us most able assistance in granting us free railway passes to properly credentialled delegates. Their action is an acknowledgment that Federation has their sympathy. I must thank many gentlemen for contributions in the shape of papers, and express my regret that we have not been able to give due consideration to all of them. We have appointed a special committee to go through them and to embody those of sufficient importance in the reports of the proceedings. To leagues, public bodies and other associations who have sent delegates, I convey the hearty thanks of the Convention.

I am proud to state, and I am confirmed in my statement by no less an authority than Mr. Edmund Barton, and I believe by the Premier, that on no occasion in the history of New South Wales has such an important gathering as this taken place in any other than a metropolitan city. (Applause.) It is a matter of gratification to us as Bathurst citizens who have the cause at heart that such representative people have thought fit to come here and assist us by their deliberations. If the Convention has done nothing else it has brought the cause of Federation prominently before the whole of the Australian colonies, and the movement must be a landmark for any future proceedings which have for their end the Federation of the great Australian nation. (Applause.) So far as the Bathurst Committee are concerned they may be said to have torn aside the veil that clouded Federation and have allowed the true light of day to shine upon her, and now that she is exposed in all her grandeur we hope all the other colonies will strive to help in the consummation of a great Australian Commonwealth. (Applause.) In thanking all connected with the Convention I am not going to forget the Press for the arduous task they have performed in reporting the proceedings of this Convention. (Applause.) Our work would have produced emphatically insignificant results had it not been that the reports of our discussions have gone forth to the public through the medium of the Press. I think I re-echo the feelings of every gentleman present when I say that this Convention is much indebted to the Press for its ample and carefully compiled reports, without which we could hardly have obtained such publicity as the subject deserves and demands.

In conclusion, gentlemen, I thank you for your attendance, and also for the ardent and interested character of your deliberations, which point so plainly to the great interest taken in the Federal cause, and which I feel sure will do much to bring about the consummation of what we most earnestly desire — the union of the Australasian colonies into a great nation.

In declaring this Convention closed, I must ask you to give three hearty cheers for Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen.

The cheers were heartily given, cheers were also given for the President, and the Convention was dissolved.

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