The victory of the Farmers’ Union candidate in the Echuca by-election for the House of Representatives has caused much perturbation among government supporters, by whom it is regarded as a grave menace to the political machine. If the farmers in other electorates show a similar disposition to vote for their own man, the result will be that strong independent agrarian party will come into existence, and although it may not be enough to form an administration it may easily be numerous enough to hold the balance between the Nationalist and Labor parties, and, to a large extent, dictate the policy of whichever party may be in office. A member of the Commonwealth Parliament has expressed the opinion that the farmers’ party will capture fifteen seats at the next election, and if Labor has only twenty-five seats in the next House of Representatives, it will mean that a combination of farmers and Labor members could turn the Nationalists out at any time. There will be a closer community of interest between the farmers and the Nationalists, of course, than between farmers and Laborites: but if the Government is kept in office only at the will of the farmers’ party the combination will lean much more to the side of the farmers than would any distinctively Nationalist Government that drew its support from a strong and united party. There are now six or eight men in the House of Representatives mostly comprised in the corner party, who are definitely farmers’ men, and who are in some degree keen critics of Mr
Hughes’s Government. If there is any breakup of the present Nationalist combination they will be among the first to take up an attitude hostile to Mr Hughes.
NUMURKAH POLICE COURT.
Mr C. J. Rogers, P.M., presided over the above on Wednesday last.
Patrick Madigan was changed with being drunk and disorderly on September 3. He pleaded guilty to being drunk, but denied that he was “disorderly”. Senior-Constable O’Donnell proved the charge, and added that defendant was an industrious, hard-working man who “went on the drunk” periodically. He was let off with a fine of 5/-. .
Michael Ford and Christopher Brown were similarly charged in respect to September 11, and made the same plea as the first defendant. Senior - Constable O’Donnell said both men had been warned several times, but they took no notice, and were becoming public nuisances. Brown had promised eight weeks ago to pull himself together, but was getting worse. Ford told the Bench that he had signed the pledge, and on Brown promising to do likewise, the P.M. adjourned both cases for 12 weeks, warning the defendants that they would be dealt with if in the meantime they failed to show efforts to reform. He further intimated that they were being given a chance only because they were returned soldiers.
Lieutenant Williamson proceeded against Benjamin Hooper on charges of failing to register for military training, wearing a military overcoat without permission, and with having clothing belonging to the Defence Department illegally in his possession. Mr Deane appeared for the defendant, who pleaded guilty to the second charge, the third being withdrawn, whilst he pleaded not guilty to the first. On the first charge a fine of 5/- was imposed, it being pointed out that defendant had been twice rejected for active service, and had enlisted for home service. The P.M. said this was not a case for a heavy penalty. On the second charge Mr Deane stated that the overcoat was only worn by defendant whilst driving a motor car, the coat having been left there and permission given to use it- The coat was worn openly, and defendant was not aware that he was acting improperly. A fine of 10/- was imposed.
Football.— The match played on Saturday on the Numurkah Show-grounds between Strathmerton and Drumanure was of a disappointing nature, Drumanure having all the best of the play and winning by a very big margin. On Saturday next a great game is expected on the Cobram ground where Muckatah and Numurkah meet in a semi-final. Enthusiasts from this end may travel by the ordinary train to the river town, returning by a special after the match.
To celebrate the State Library of Victoria’s digitising of the war years editions of the Numurkah Leader, each week we will include the news of the week, 100 years ago.
To view these editions online go to trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/title/591.