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3-265 (Text)

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author,male,Inter-Colonial Conference,un addressee
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Clark, 1975
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This Conference was convened at the instance of the Government of Tasmania, primarily in order to consider the desirability of the establishment of a Customs Union for the Australasian Colonies, and the removal of all restrictions upon intercolonial trade.  The invitation was responded to by the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, whose representatives, with those of Tasmania, were as follows: 
The Government of Victoria having placed the Executive Council Chamber at the disposal of the Conference, its first meeting was held there on 20th June, at noon; the sittings being continued until 5th July.
The most important questions considered by the Conference were, a free interchange of the natural productions and manufactures of the respective colonies, a uniform Tariff with assimilated excise regulations, a Customs Union, and a distribution of the revenue derived therefrom upon the basis of population. The desirableness of such arrangements was admitted, and the more important items subject to fixed duties were considered, and might have been agreed to; but upon approaching the list of articles involving free trade on the one hand, and discriminating duties on the other, various difficulties presented themselves, and it was found impracticable to effect such a compromise as would secure the desired result. These difficulties precluded New South Wales from accepting the principle upon which the proposal of Victoria was based; and the representatives of the latter colony, considering the prospective advantages thereby diminished, subsequently proposed new conditions for South Australia and Tasmania, to which these colonies were unable to accede.
But although, for the reasons stated, the Conference has not arrived at any definite conclusion on the subject, the consideration of the question has led to a deeper conviction of its importance; whilst the resolution to memorialize Her Majesty's Government to remove the prohibitions against intercolonial free trade interposed by imperial enactment will, if successful, materially facilitate further action. 
That a plan for harmonizing the diverse tariffs of the Australasian colonies so as to secure the assent of various political parties should be a work not easy of attainment is only what might have been expected; but the Conference, impressed with the excellence of the object, has faith in its ultimate and not far distant success.
The Conference, however, has been in perfect accord upon several other questions of considerable importance. It has been decided to recommend the adoption by the various Governments represented of a uniform sea-going intercolonial postage rate of threepence, and also to reduce the charges upon telegraphic messages. It is believed that these arrangements will be found beneficial to trade and acceptable to the public generally.
The evils that have arisen from the facility with which absconding debtors and other offenders have been enabled to evade justice through the absence of uniform intercolonial law on the subject formed part of the deliberations of the Conference, and it was resolved that the Governments of the various colonies should be urged to introduce Bills of similar import at the earliest practicable opportunity.
The question of immigration was considered, and an opinion was recorded that it would be desirable in future to adopt a plan, common to the several colonies, so as to secure to each the full benefit to which it would be entitled on account of the expenditure of public money for this object. The attention of the several Governments will be invited to the question, with a view to the adoption of corresponding regulations.
Despatches from the Imperial Government having intimated the intended withdrawal of the troops now stationed in Australia, the Conference took into consideration the course to be pursued under the altered circumstances in which the colonies are about to be placed, and it was decided to press upon the attention of Her Majesty's Government the paramount duty of their making adequate naval provision for the protection of British and Australian commerce in these waters, especially in time of war.
Resolutions were also agreed to on the following subjects: - The adoption of the necessary steps to secure the withdrawal of the large amount of worn and deteriorated silver coinage now circulating in the Australian colonies:
For obtaining the establishment of a British Protectorate over the Fiji Islands:
For the calling of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamers at the port of Kangaroo Island, in South Australia:
Telegraphic communication with Port Darwin, and with the Gulf of Carpentaria: 
The proposed new schemes of Ocean Postal and Passenger service:
The relief of distressed colonists and seamen in foreign ports:
The statistical records of the several colonies being corn piled upon a uniform method:
And the Conference also affirmed the desirableness of the respective Governments exerting their influence with a view to the introduction of the Central system for weights.