Monday, 7 May 2018

Bystanders' Notebook August 24, 1895.


Bystanders' Notebook.


Describing the condition of Lockyer farmers the Observer's special writes: “A number of those who are now settled on these farms are little better than caretakers, with the added responsibility of making the place pay. In some cases it is a sine qua non that all farmer's produce shall pass through the storekeeper's hands and also that whatever is required for the household shall be obtained through the same medium. In others this is 'understood.' The farmer seldom has money at his command; and the difference between cash payments and bookings ranges from 5 to 10 per cent. . .
Others again-and these in the majority-pointed to their fields where they and their families worked-in some cases wife and daughters included-and remarked, “ 'We have to work from daylight till dark and then only get a bare living, and not that without sinking deeper into debt.'” And, again, says this lucubrating special of the Observer: “I met with half-a-dozen farmers who told me that if it had not been for the pigs they had sold to factory buyers who visit the farms, and the poultry and eggs they had been able to dispose of to perambulating dealers, they would have been unable to exist at all.

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On the very day on which the Observer tries to ignore its own authority, as quoted above, it publishes the report of a selectors' deputation to the Minister for Lands, in which one of the members of said deputation, who is also a member of the Upper House, is reported to have said: “In many cases selectors had given the best years of their lives in trying to make a home and a little money for themselves, only to be ousted from their farms, to get into debt, or be driven into the Insolvent Court.” Is this an inviting state of affairs for which people in the old country should be induced to break up comfortable homes, to leave peasant companion, agreeable and happy associations? Neither the A.L.F. nor its general secretary has any fault to find with the country itself, which is undoubtedly one of the most prolitic beneath the blue canopy of heaven, and should be the most pro-perous. But it isn't. According to the Observer's own showing, severe privations, if not actual poverty, are prevalent in our midst. The fault is with our partial and unscrupulous administrators, past and present, who have all the attributed of old-world Toryism, and whose legislation blocks the progress and happiness of Queensland citizens.

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