Australian Access Federation

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4-308 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,Australian Natives' Association,un
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Clark, 1975
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Ever since its inauguration the Australian Natives' Association has lent the movement for securing a confederation of the Australian colonies its warmest and most hearty support, and has had the satisfaction of each year seeing the object more and more within the grasp of those whose patriotic feelings have moved them to a desire in the direction of building up a great nation in this continent in place of the small and disunited states which exist at present. The Board has every reason to regard the past year as one in which great strides have been made towards the goal of every Australian's ambition. It is now evident that the great masses of the people are taking up the cry for Federation. They are recognising that the future well-being of Australia, its progress and prosperity, and the material wealth of the colonists themselves, depend upon its being united. As "a house divided against itself cannot stand", so it is being perceived that no colony can achieve the same results singlehanded as it would were there a perfect union between all of them. Two years ago, after the passing of the Draft Federal Constitution at the Sydney Conference, the Board of this Association reported to the annual gathering of delegates that "The Board most deeply regrets that the subject has practically been allowed to drop by the leading politicians in the various legislatures. In some of these it is worthy of note that the Constitution has not been considered at all, while at others it was dealt with in so unstatesmanlike a manner as to court defeat. The manner in which the Draft Constitution has been dealt with by the Australian Parliaments undeniably favours the conclusion that the further local consideration of that or any future Draft Constitution must be by local conventions elected for the specific purpose, and must not be mixed up in any way with ordinary local Parliamentary and political parties and questions". [499] These words on the part of the then governing body of the Association were prophetic, for in the year following local agitation began with the formation of powerful leagues on the borders of every colony, the object of which was to bring about a federation of the colonies. Many of the leading spirits in this movement were representatives of this Association, who were stationed in these districts, and in a few months the work was so far advanced that a convention representing every class and every shade of opinion was held at Corowa on July 31st and August 1st. President Peacock and Vice-President Barrett represented this Association.
The formation and extension of kindred associations to the A.N.A. in the other colonies must form one of the most powerful factors in securing Federation. A good deal has been done in this direction during the year. The experience of the Board is that wherever the A.N.A. or some distinctly national organisation flourishes, there also the cause of United Australia stands in the forefront. The most cheering news comes from Hobart; and the Victorian association has pierced its way to Berrigan in New South Wales. The former city has made a request for a visit from the leaders of the Association during the next half-year, and the present Board have taken the responsibility of pledging their successors to carry out this application. There is no doubt also that during the coming year the Board of Directors must organise a crusade throughout the length and breadth of the continent, for were the native-born as strongly and firmly united in the other colonies as they are in Victoria, Federation would long ere this have been an accomplished fact. Therefore, the Board feels that the Conference should recommend the incoming Board to carry the flag of the United States of Australia throughout Queensland and into the cities of New South Wales. The great body of native-born electors in the Riverina should be aroused to a sense of the possibilities that may follow their co-operation with brother Australians. South Australia must be toured, and even the Northern Territory must be appealed to. In Western Australia there are already signs of life and vigor, but inasmuch as the Board considers the people of Australia, from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Australian Bight, and from Perth to Port Jackson, want to be appealed to, they recommend the Conference to instruct the incoming Board to open a vigorous campaign. The time is ripe for an appeal to the whole of Australia. Let the A.N.A. grasp this opportunity, and the fruits of reward will be plentiful indeed. The Board feels assured of the hearty assistance of representative Australians in carrying the proposed crusade to a successful termination. [500]
The report was adopted, as also was a recommendation by the Rutherglen Branch that the presidents of all the branches of the Association throughout the colony be requested to form branches of the Federation League in their respective towns.