1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10 o’clock a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. DEAKIN presented a petition from residents of Ballarat praying that clauses 54 and 55 of the Post and Telegraph Bill might be passed into lay.
– Iwould ask the Treasurer whether he is yet in a position to give the House a tabulated statement of the statistics of the Customs department for the year ended 30th June?
– I hardly understand what the honorable and learned member refers to. We have no tabulated statements made up to 30th June, but they are made up to 31st December. If my honorable friend refers to the ordinary departmental receipts, I may say that information regarding those “will form part of my financial statement. However, if the honorable and learned member will give me a memorandum of what he desires, I will endeavour to get the information.
– f would ask the Prime Minister whether it is true, as reported, that the Queensland Government have protested to him against the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Bill now before the House ; and, if so, whether he will lay the correspondence on the table?
– I have received such a communication, and 1 will lay it on the table of the House, together with the reply thereto.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Whether the Postmaster-General is now prepared to extend telegraphic communication to Tarcoola, seeing that the Government of South Australia have stated their readiness, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to undertake the construction of the line ?
– As yesterday was a holiday, I have not with me the official answer to the question, but in the meantime X may inform the honorable member that the answer goes a ‘long way towards according with his desire.
Resolved (on motion by Sir William McMillan, for Mr. G. B. Edwards) -
That the name of Mr. Paterson be added to the Select Committee on the Coinage Question in I dace of Mr. W. H. Groom, deceased.
Debate resumed (from 7th August, vide page 3507), on motion by Mr. Barton -
That the Bill be read a second time.
– When the Prime Minister moved the second reading of this Bill, he very justly remarked that it was not like one of the machinery Bills which have been engaging the attention of the House during the last few months, but a measure of high national importance. 1 think we will all agree with him in that sentiment. This measure marks the first step we are taking as a legislative body in dealing with, questions which must touch upon Imperial interests, and must affect the international relations of Australia with therest of the world. The right honorable gentleman said, that this was not a. machinery Bill, .and it is not - it might be more correctly described as an infernal machine Bill. And, as the honorable and gallant member for Maranoa is aware, with regard to real torpedoes, these political torpedoes or shells, which are constructed to hit in one direction, when once they burst, have very little discrimination with regard to individuals. The only plea for this Bill, which is certainly one of the most crooked measures that it was ever attempted to place on the statute-book, is that by wise and judicious administration it will at all. times be properly directed. I confess that in my experience of the Government in many minor matters which require ordinary judgment and ordinary discretion, I have not been so impressed with their administrative intelligence that I am willing to agree to a measure giving such enormous powers, and with such far-reaching effects. With regard to the position we occupy at the present time, it is well, in connexion with this great measure, to consider our relations with the mother country. We are beginning an experiment in government which I venture to say has had no parallel in the history of the civilized world. I put on one side altogether, in any parallel that might be drawn, the position ‘of South Africa and the position of Canada, foi- although we have in these countries two great integral parts of the British Empire, one federated and the other probably about to be federated, their local surroundings are absolutely different from those of Australia. In each case there are foreign people on the borders, and it is absolutely necessary .to South Africa and Canada in the working out of their political salvation that under no circumstances shall they break the tie with the mother country. Australia, however, occupies a unique position. We are an island continent, and we are different from almost every other offshoot of the British Empire. Here we have ingredients of population which, with the exception of a small percentage, are practically the same in proportion to numbers, as those in the United Kingdom. The whole of this great I continent has been peopled almost entirely “ with a purely British stock. But we have a certain position with regard to the Empire, and we are beginning a practically independent course of Government and national life, and we must be very careful “to keep clearly before us the two facts that by this Commonwealth institution that we “have inaugurated we have become one of the civilized peoples of the world and that, whether we will or not, whether united with Great Britain or as an independent people, we must mix with the peoples of the world, and must consider international relations. ]f we were an independent people we might take many courses, especially if we were an independent people of greater development than at present, with every part of our foreshores inhabited by a brave and enterprising people, instead of having, as at present, a mere handful of people in this enormous continent. We must undoubtedly see that we should do nothing to wilfully interfere with that union between ourselves and the country from which we have sprung, which is not merely one of affection or one of race, but one also of mutual interest. On the other hand we must recollect the great and impressive fact that we are a people situated practically in the eastern seas, and that we have a continent of such enormous proportions that whilst the southern parts have a climate suitable to the British people, one-half of our territory is either tropical or sub-tropical. We must also recollect that the-northern portion of our continent lies in close proximity to millions and millions of people of an alien and servile character. Further, when we go a little north of Port Darwin we find in the Malay Peninsula, in all parts, either under the protection or within the sphere of influence of the British Empire, hundreds of thousands of Chinese and people of kindred nationalities practically carrying on the commerce and forming the most industrious element in the populations of these countries- Now, the question that naturally arises in dealing with a Bill like this is what is the object we have in view. Our desire is to prevent any alien or servile races from so occupying large territories in Australia . as to mix and interfuse, not merely among themselves, but with our own people. We have heard a great many definitions, almost ad nauseam, with regard to what is called a white Australia, but it is necessary for us to repeat what we mean. I must confess that some years ago I looked I with less apprehension than I do to-day upon the possibilities of the future, and I still think that there is an unnecessary amount of alarm raised in reference to this question. I cannot, however, shut my eyes to the fact that the large majority of the people of Australia, backed up by nearly all the representatives of the people of Queensland, have given it as their unfaltering opinion that, no matter what measures are necessary, Australia must be kept pure for the British race who have begun to inhabit it. We have to deal here with a very difficult question. We have to consider it as a people forming a part of the British Empire, an empire which is so large and so comprehensive that it contains amongst its citizens men of all colours and of all classes. Our difficulty, therefore, whilst part of the British Empire - or even if we were an independent State - in dealing with a question so serious and so real is to arrange so that we can keep out the undesirable elements without doing injury to those international interests, without which no great country can live and trade. This Bil), however, seeks to do in a crooked and indirect way what we ought to do straightforwardly and honestly, and while I admit the difficulty, and whilst I know the history of similar legislation in the States during recent years, I do not admit that this Commonwealth Parliament, if it is to reach a certain goal, should be in any way hampered or hindered by the precedents of other States. I hold that if we are perfectly sure that a certain policy is necessary to uphold the purity of the race of Australia - if a certain policy is necessary in order that the civilization of a purely British character implanted on our shores shall be continued as the population increases, until we become in the future a great populous country - I do not think we should hesitate, for one moment, under the peculiar circumstances of the case - with our position in these south-eastern seas, open to millions of these servile and alien people - to say to Great Britain, “Tin’s is a problem which you and we have to face, and the more straightforwardly, and the more honestly we face it the better for the future.” Every one of us, no matter what our individual views may be, must feel, especially belonging as we do to the race which has been more broad-minded, more cosmopolitan, and more adventurous than any other race the world has known, that in attempting to shut out any human beings from our shores and from the privileges of .British freedom, we are doing a very extreme act. It was once our boast that if the negro set his foot on our shores, from that moment he was free. We are, no doubt, under peculiar exigencies and under special local circumstances, reversing that great principle of British freedom and British refuge. But, having had the experience ‘ of the last twenty or thirty years, I think I am right in saying that public opinion in Australia, almost to a man, is determined that this country shall be free from what has been the curse of many other civilized countries. I do not think that any honorable member will charge me with trimming my sails to meet the current breeze when I know that the current breeze will not bring me in the right direction. But I confess that, while I do not feel so extremely on this subject as others, I am imbued with quite as strong opinions as to the necessity of reaching this goal as any honorable member in the Chamber can be. I hope that during the ages to come this country will always look to Britain as its fatherland. I hope -we shall never lose that proud distinction, which I hold to be a distinction greater than any in the world - “I am a British citizen.” But if I thought that we had to put in the scales, on the one side, the British connexion with certain restrictions on our autonomous government, and the populating with South Carolinas many portions of the northern parts of the continent, and on the other side a disjointed empire, I would unreservedly make my choice. But this Bill is an absolute fraud.
– That is rough on the Government.
– Not in the least. The honorable member for Wentworth is talking nonsense.
– I am not inclined, in debating a subject, to shut out from myself the whole purview of that subject. We are told we must cover up our real intentions in this Bill, and must trust to refined diplomatic administration on the part of the (Executive Government. I have had sufficient experience of the flabby character of Executive Governments in Australia during the last ten years to know that a Government is strong, determined, and lion-hearted in the extreme, so long as it is sure of a majority. But when Parliament meets, and when a section - and’ I do not refer invidiously to any section of the House, because in this matter the extremist belongs to all parties - but if, in view of this Bill being a comparative failure, as I believe it will be, there is an amount of agitation created by any section of the existing Parliament, on which depends the majority and life of the Government, then good-bye to firmness and courage, and we have the Government as flabby as a jellyfish. It seems to me, especially in the case of a Government which extends its influence over such an enormous area, to be absolutely impossible, apart from what I have said, to administer this measure with sufficient judiciousness and sufficient firmness. We must recollect that we have not State Governments within moderate localities looking after State Bills of this kind, but that we have a country 8,000 miles round. In the administration of a Bill of this kind we have to trust to the executive authority exercised, not only by high-class men, but by inferior under-strappers ; and it will be impossible to exercise that judiciousness of mind which is so necessary in such a very delicate matter. Therefore, I say most distinctly that it is better for us, if we are to deal with this question at all, to put in an Act of Parliament exactly what we mean. What we mean, in the view of all Australia at the present time, is that we will prevent any large infiltration of alien elements into the component parts of our national life, and that we will preserve pure- for all time the British element with which we started. There are two modes by which this population may become infiltrated by alien elements, and one is almost as dangerous as the other. No matter what one’s opinion may be on this subject, either in general or in detail, we all agree that there is an inherent power in the Government to keep out hordes of undesirable citizens. To take a very extreme illustration, if a shipload of lepers were attempted to be landed on any part of the Australian shores, the Government would have a perfect right to say - “ Clear away from our coasts.” In the same way, if there were arriving large numbers of Japanese, Chinese, Malays, or others coming in the particular mode to which I have referred, the Government would have a perfect right, as a Government, to say, “ You must not touch our shores.” That is an obvious danger which can be dealt with almost under any circumstances. But the danger which has developed itself of late years is the slow infiltration of people in small numbers, which have become larger of late, and these people are gradually taking up positions in the midst of our civilized life. That process, if it goes on for a certain number of years - and what are a few years in the life of this nation 1 - will undoubtedly create a marked difference in the component parts of our people in Australia. I must confess that I was not so apprehensive of this a few years ago as I have lately become. With all my cosmopolitan views, I must say that many of these aliens are not nice people to be seen in the lonely bush of Australia. But we are asked to pass a Bill which gives the most drastic powers in one direction, but which, if it be workable at all, must be worked under the judicial ideas of an executive. The only way to meet this danger is not by compromise or half measures, but absolutely and boldly, and to say that these people shall not come at all.
– Will the honorable member support that ?
– I will support it.
– The honorable member will get the chance.
– My principle is - and ! do not generally play to the gallery - that the large majority of the people of Australia have said absolutely that these alien races must not enter our territory. In New South Wales a polltax of £100 was put on Chinamen. That was practically prohibition ; and when we regard this question at all, we regard it as one of prohibition. Let us consider for a moment, after these general remarks, the details of the Bill. What does the Bill say We are to do ? The Bill is not merely drastic in one respect, but it is absolutely unfair and unpatriotic in other respects. It says, forsooth, that every man, not a regular resident, who comes to these shores may be asked to write out in .the English language a sentence or paragraph of 50 words. In the first place, we have British subjects, within 200 miles of London, who have never spoken a word of English in their lives - Welshmen. We have also a similar population in Ireland, but only to a small extent. Then we have the French Canadians, who are some of the best citizens, of the British Empire. But- the Bill will allow the educated negroof South Carolina to come in, while we shut out our own fellow-citizens from Canada. How futile this will’ be? We want to keep out the Japanese labourerWhy, Japan is becoming at present a highly-educated nation. English is being; taught in the schools there, and in a few years there will not be a Japanese labourer who will not be able to fulfil this test. Itis not the educational test that is required: - and that is the dishonesty of the Bill - but it is the avoidance of race taint. Whatis the good of our saying anything else - saying one thing and meaning another ? . I, of course, feel that the work we have to dois a very unpleasant work, lt is a work which every man must feel is only a matterof stern necessity, as is capital punishment in the case of a murderer. But if it is tobe done, let us do it thoroughly, completely, and honestly.
– How would thehonorable member deal with our IndianBritish subjects?
– I said in my opening remarks - and nobody can bemore seized of the difficulties and dangers of the position than I am - that -Ave are a component part of the British Empire, which ismade up of all sorts of races and classes of men. But the fact that. these difficulties, arise, and that we are a part of the British Empire renders it all the more necessary at. this initial stage of our Commonwealth lifethat we should meet these difficulties straightout, face to face, and that we should tell the-‘ Imperial Government that although we desire to cling to the British connexion for all time we must not be hampered by these conditions which arise out of our union with theEmpire. Furthermore,” I deny that we have a right to put ourselves on the sameplane as either the Crown colonies or thedependencies of Great Britain. GreatBritain has two functions to perform in a world-wide empire. She has one destiny in sending out her surplus population - people of her own grit and blood - to populatethe uncovered portions of the earth. Shehas another destiny, by Providence placed in her hands, of rendering possible, order, good government, and humanity in the great empire of India, - which for centuries was wrecked and knocked topieces by , every usurper and tyrant in the eastern part of the. world. She has. these two great destinies. Many of the things which have come to Great Britain have not been sought by herself or her people. They have been the result of political and imperial evolution. To-day, if Great Britain as a Christian country which has led the way in humanitarianism all over the world, could without cowardice safely get rid of many of her responsibilities she would do so. But those responsibilities are there, and the British race will never shirk them. We have an empire created under conditions never before known in the civilized world. Whoever heard of selfgoverning colonies connected with an imperial centre 12,000 or 14,000 miles away? Whoever heard of four millions of people at that distance connected with the parent country and having all the independence of autonomous government ? Here let me say that some reflections and remarks which were made the other night with regard to Mr. Chamberlain were absolutely unfair and uncalled for. In one of the deputations which Mr. Chamberlain received he said - “ Gentlemen, we recognise the fact above all others that this is a voluntary union.” To-morrow, if these four millions of people in a constitutional way said to Great Britain - “ We want to delete from our Constitution the glorious words under the Crown,’ “ Great Britain would say - “ You can go. You are our own people, and we wish you godspeed in your destiny, though we are sorry to part from you.”
– Is the honorable gentleman quoting Mr. Chamberlain ?
– i am practically quoting what Mr. Chamberlain said, and what requires no quotation, because it has been the thorough understanding of that principle by the statesmen of England during the last 30 years, which has made possible the union of the British Empire. If it had not been for the slack hand, and the desire that the same self-government which Englishmen enjoy should be enjoyed by us within our own domain, if there had ‘ been any attempt to interfere with it, Australia might not to-day be united with the British Empire. What I want particularly, and without any unnecessary repetition, to impress upon honorable members is that we have come to one question so enormously critical, so enormously far-reaching, that it must be settled in some way or other. It must not be settled by a crooked Bill of this kind, but in some way b)T which the almost unanimous wish of the Australian people will be fully carried out, because upon this question we are not speaking with an uncertain voice. Upon this matter all party spirit is dead, and Australia speaks with practically one voice. Therefore, I say, let us face thisquestion. Let us throw on the British Government the necessity of saying whetherit is possible for us to deal with it in thisway or not.
– Let us hit out straight from, the shoulder.
– The circumstances and conditions under which local, measures have been drat ted and passed have no parallel with the position of this great Commonwealth Government to-day. Let us tell the British Government that we are confronted with a great difficulty, not arisingout of our connexion with the Empire somuch as out of our position in these southern seas. Let us tell them that we do .not wantto do anything which will create international difficulties, and that we are strong to the death for our union with the old mothercountry ; but that this is a difficulty whichwe have, and which every man to-day in England, if he became an Australian subject, would also have to face. We have to faceit deliberately. It is a matter of life and. death to the purity of our race and the future of our nation. We want to know straightforwardly and honestly the r61e we- are to pursue, ‘ and to ask the Imperial i authorities if they cannot with that practical wisdom which has taken them out of thousands of difficulties in the days gone by, bring about some solution of this question, which whilst giving us the desired result sofar as the servile nations of the world are concerned, will not put us in opposition to all those elements of European greatness and European virility which we welcome toour shores, which we know will never comprise more than a certain percentage of our population, which may create an industrial, life which we would thankfully welcome, and which may become a part of the citizenship of Australia without in any wayimpairing the purity of the nation.
– To whom is the honorable member alluding ?
– I an* alluding to Frenchmen, Germans, and others,, who, we may be sure, will never come here in very great numbers - certainly never in numbers sufficient to in any way interfere with the original British stock - but who if this Bill is carried out as it may have to be carried out in order to secure its object, will be absolutely shut out. I am glad that the Prime Minister is present, because I took down a remark of his the other day in which I must say he forgot the statesman and descended rather to the role of special pleader. In order to justify this absolutely impossible clause, which requires that every immigrant must be able to write in English, the right honorable gentleman said -
The reason foi: this provision is that if :i man wants to come into tin English speaking country to pursue his avocation there, the language which that people is concerned in his knowing, is the language which will enable them to do business with him.
Surely that would be a retrograde movement on the part of the British people. The idea of our saying to every German, Frenchman, or other person of u civilized country that the reason we keep him from our shores is that we expect everybody on all occasions to speak our language, and that a man is not fit to become a citizen unless he can speak the English language, is very much like asking a man to swim before he gets into the water. How are these people to know our language before they come amongst us ? How are the thousands of industrial people who carry on vine-growing and other avocations wellknown in Europe to come here if they have first to learn the English language? But this very test will be absolutely useless amongst some of the eastern people. Every J apanese who comes here will soon be able to successfully pass this test in the English language. Let us look at what this provision leads us to. We have in our Constitution obtained power to enlarge the functions of government, but it seems to me that, in connexion with many of the Bills going through this House, our particular function is to restrict the powers of other people. This Bill contains a clause by which, if a single undesirable immigrant is allowed to leave a ship which comes into one of our harbors, the master of that ship is either to lie bailed up to the detriment of his business or to pay a fine of £100. All this bears upon my point that if we are going to restrict the immigration of undesirable aliens we ought to do so straightforwardly, and to aim at the people whom we propose to hit. How can any one know who is an undesirable immigrant under this Bill? How can the captain of a ship know whether a person can write fifty words in English or not1? The measure throws the onus on the shipowner of mustering his crew, and if there be a single person missing - and we know how impossible it is to exercise any surveillance over men on board ship in certain places - it practically says to the captain - “Your ship must not leave this harbor, and if you do not get securities or pay the fine you will be sold off, lock, stock, and barrel.1’ This is another instance in which we shall be doing an enormous detriment to the shipping and international relations of Australia. Let us go straight to our goal. We have to deal with the question, which is not one of our own seeking. It is one which depends upon our surroundings in this part of the Pacific. Let us tell the British Government that we do not intend under any circumstances to let these people come into Australia. Let us tell them that it is not for us by superfine arrangements in a Bill leaving everything to administrative control to pass a practically dishonest measure which means one thing and says another. Let us say not only that we are perfectly aware that our union with the British Government creates a difficulty that it is very hard to get over ; but that we trust to the British Government to give us fair consideration in this difficulty. I may say this is not the first difficulty that will arise under the peculiar relationship that we have with the mother country. This is only the first of a series, and what I want to prevent is this : I want to prevent any Bill going before the Home Government which does not fully, honestly, and completely tell that Government what we mean.
-I am sure we will all join in heartily congratulating the honorable member for Wentworth on the excellent speech which he has just delivered. To me it has a ring of genuineness about it that I am delighted to hear from the opposite side of the House I sincerely hope that my honorable friend will assist the Government to carry out all that he has indicated. I am quite sure that if he is prepared to recognise this as a measure, not of party, but involving great interests to this nation, there is no honorable member who will not join with him in making the prohibition as effectual as he desires. The honorable member will pardon me, however, if I say it seems to me that he has occupied as much time in defending the interests of the ship-owner as he has in defending those of the Empire.
– I referred to the ship-owner in only five words.
– The honorable member will pardon me if I say it seems to me that the proposalhe makes is one that is fraught with very great risk of loss of time, and the prospect of much diplomatic communication with the Home Government, and that while the usage is being settled the difficulties and evils he has alluded to will be going on. There are a number of people who appear to think that this danger is not as great as it really is. The census for 1880 indicated, however, that there were some 80,000 aliens of the character described by the honorable member for Wentworth in Australia at that time. That 80,000, according to the census of 1890, had increased to 90,000, and there is every reason to believe that the census now in course of completion will indicate the alarming fact that there are something like 100,000 Chinese, Japanese, and other alien races in Australia.
– There has been an increase of 7,000 in Queensland since the last census.
– When I visited the northern part of Queensland recently, I was alarmed not only at the great number of aliens who are making inroads in all trades, but who are intermingling with the European races there. One has only to visit the public schools to see that the very contamination and deterioration that my honorable friend speaks of is actually taking place in Queensland to an alarming extent.
– That can be seen in other parts of the Continent.
– But to nothing like the extent I am indicating. The remarks made by the honorable member for Wentworth have come to me with a very great amount of surprise, and I must say that I welcome them. The Government cannot do better than welcome the hearty co-operation of the acting leader of the Opposition. If I understand the policy of the Government, and if I understand the desire of the people of Australia aright, they are determined that Australia shall be kept free from alien invasion and contamination. That being the case, the problem we have to solve is what is the best way to do it. The Government think the course they have proposed is the best, and the quickest way of carrying out that object at the present time.
– It is a question of colour ; it is not a question of whether a man is an alien or not.
– It is not only a question of colour but a question of alienship. We have something like 800,000,000 Chinese and Japanese, within easy distance of Australia, from whom we have to fear contamination. The question we have to decide is whether we are prepared to take steps that will immediately put an effectual stop to the inroads that are being made in this direction. Are we prepared to adopt the absolute prohibition suggested by the honorable member for Wentworth, and to indicate to the Imperial Government that we are determined that that prohibition shall take place, and are prepared to take all the consequences? There was no occasion for the heroics into which my honorable friend worked himself in referring to the relationship between Australia and Great Britain. If the Parliament and the people of Australia are unanimous, the Government of Great Britain will be prepared to meet us, and to indicate even in the faintest degree that there is any thought of separation seems to me to be altogether unwarranted. The honorable member for Wentworth indicated that Mr. Chamberlain from his remarks, at any rate, was prepared to meet any request that came from Australia, and to talk about separation in view of that fact seems to me to be altogether unnecessary and unwarranted. I rejoice to think that the interests more directly represented by my honorable friend are prepared to meet the demand that is being made for a white Australia. I found when I went to Northern Queensland that the commercial and banking and manufacturing interests met me with this statement - “ You need not trouble about the kanaka; that problem will settle itself. It is the Chinese and Japanese that you have to fear.” On making closer inquiry I discovered that the Chinese and Japanese were fast beginning to make inroads upon the interests of these very people. There were Chinese doctors coming into competition with European and Australian medical men ; there were Chinese merchants coming into competition with European and Australian merchants, and it was, to a large extent, due to the fact that this alien competition was beginning to pinch these people that they said - “ Here lies the danger.” Will the honorable member for Wentworth take up exactly the same position in regard to the kanaka ? Will he insist that we must at once stop the kanaka traffic and follow up that stoppage with a determination that the kanakas already in the country shall be sent back to the islands as quickly as possible?
– By way of personal explanation, I want to say I consider that we are not now dealing with the kanaka question. I have always said, in my speeches before my constituents, that there is no parallel between a regulated service of kanakas under Government control, administered for a specific purpose - the kanakas having to be returned to their country - and the general question connected with the inroads of aliens in Australia. I think it is only fair that those two subjects should be left separate; but if the same character of danger were to arise out of the kanaka I should be prepared to deal with it in the same way.
– I am much obliged to my honorable friend for his explanation. It really strengthens my position. To my mind immigration under regulation and contract is the very worst form of immigration.
– Japanese have come to Queensland under regulations by the Queensland Government.
-Under regulation and agreement supervised by a Japanese agent. Surely the honorable member for Wentworth will not contend that that is not a phase of immigration which is more dangerous and insidious than even open immigration. Ihave found, in connexion with labour troubles, that a large number of men were brought out to Australia in the early days, under contract, to defeat the ends which trade unionists and strikers had in view. If my honorable friend is going to be consistent he will recognise that it is a question of coloured labour, and as it is a question of coloured labour, surely the position of the kanaka must be inseparable from this discussion.’ If we are going to have a white Australia it is just as necessary to prohibit aliens brought in under contract in the way that kanakas are brought to Australia as aliens introduced under any other conditions.
– The Government propose to absolutely stop kanaka labour within a certain time.
– Certainly ; and I am asking my honorable friend to take up the same position in regard to that proposition as I am delighted to know he takes up in regard to alien labour. To my mind the weakness of the Bill is that it allows coloured immigration at all. I hope my honorable friend will be fully seized of the significance of the remarks he has made, and join with us in carrying the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Bland.
– I am afraid my honorable friend does not relish the honorable member for Wentworth’s remarks. He seems to be carping at them.
-I relish them very much and welcome them. I am deeply anxious that Australia should be preserved, and I am ready to take all steps necessary in order to preserve it from such an invasion. I expected that the honorable member for Wentworth would oppose the Government. proposals, not because they were too lax, but because they were too stringent, and I rejoice to find that he is with me in the determination to stop alien invasion. I hope the honorable member and those who sit with him will be consistent, support the honorable member for Bland’s amendment, and insist that all coloured immigration, even under agreement, shall be absolutely prohibited. Employers and others have made engagements with numbers of men, and with individual men, absolutely ignorant of the conditions of life, the cost of living, and the environment out here. That kind of engagement constitutes the greatest danger that threatens the evolution of trades unions and the upgrade of our social life. I trust that the honorable member for Wentworth will lend his eloquence and his support to the amendment of the honorable member for Bland. One thing is certain - the passage of this Bill is assured. The Opposition are going to co-operatewith the Government in making it as effectual as possible.
– Knock out the first subclause of clause 4.
– We will strike out anything that is going to make the. Bill ineffectual. We are quite prepared to do anything in order to make our honorable; friends keep to their bargain.
– Is the honorable member speaking for the Government.
– I am speaking for myself. I. am not tied to the Government by any means. I should have thought my honorable friend would have recognised that before now. I am quite prepared to go as far <is the honorable member for Wentworth would go, and if he will join with me in these and other proposals it does not matter whether the Government are in favour of them or against them. The measure is a means to an end. If it will not effect that end and my honorable friends can show a better means I shall be quite prepared to support them. I hope we will soon pass the second reading of this Bill, and go into committee and make the clauses as effectual as my honorable friend has indicated, in order that we may have a veritable white Australia.
– I would recommend my honorable friend not to commit himself yet.
– I think that from this section of the House one may, without presumption, congratulate the acting leader of the Opposition upon the speech he has made to-day. It seems tome that he not only stated the position taken up by the majority, and undoubtedly the large majority of the people of Australia, with clearness but with moderation and firmness, and in a way which I think will commend itself to the opinion of the greater number of the the people. While it may be said that the feeling in this Chamber, even in this Parliament, is so decided upon this matter that debate is unnecessary, yet it must be recognised that the step we are taking, although it is one upon which the people are unanimous, is in itself so important and so likely to lead at least to diplomatic negotiations with the older land, that it is due to the statesmen of the old country, at least, that our reasons should be stated clearly, and that none ‘ of them should be overlooked in regard to the decision which we hope this Parliament will arrive at. In view of that, I feel it is not necessary to apologize for supplementing, to some extent, the reasons put forward by the acting leader of the Opposition. As far as I am concerned, the objection I have to the mixing of these coloured people with the white people of Australia - although I admit it is to a large extent tinged with considerations of an industrial nature - lies in the main in the possibility and probability of racial contamination. I think we should gauge this- matter, not alone by the abstract possibilities of the case, but by those considerations which appeal to our ordinary human weaknesses and prejudices. The question is whether we would desire that our sisters or our brothers should be married into ‘any of these races to which we object. If these people are not such as we can meet upon an equality, and not such as we can feel that it is no disgrace to intermarry with, and not such as we c’an expect to give us an infusion of blood that will tend to the raising of our standard of life, and to the improvement of the race, we should be foolish in the extreme if we did not exhaust every means of preventing them from coming to this land, which we have made our own. The racial aspect of the question, in my opinion, is the larger and more important one ; but the industrial aspect also has to be considered. There is a good deal in the contention put forward by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in regard to the conversion of a number of people on the question of coloured immigration, because of the ramifications of the coloured races having extended of late to a much greater degree than was the case only a short time ago. We know that a few years ago business men - speaking by and large - looked upon the Chinese or other coloured undesirables as men who could be very well tolerated, because they took the place of labourers, of men who might be unreliable, or not quite so cheap, but when it was found that these Orientals possessed all the cunning and acumen necessary to fit them, for conducting business affairs, and that their cheapness of living was carried into business matters as well as into ordinary labouring work, a marked alteration of opinion took place among business men, so far as the competition of the “heathen Chinee” was concerned. At the present time in Sydney, we have whole streets which are practically given up to the businesses conducted by Chinese, Syrians, and other coloured aliens, and one cannot go to-day into more than five towns of any importance in the country districts of New South Wales without finding two, three, or perhaps half-a-dozen coloured storekeepers apparently doing a thriving business. In each and every avenue of life we find the competition of the coloured races insidiously creeping in, and if we are to maintain the standard of living we think necessary, in order that our people may be brought up with a degree of comfort, and with scholastic advantages which will conduce to the improvement and general advancement of the nation, some pause must be made in regard to the extension of the competition of the coloured aliens generally. Another aspect of the question is that in the northern parts of Australia, both on the east and on the west coast, we find that coloured people have gained more than a footing - they have practically secured control. In the northern parts of Western Australia the pearl fisheries are being run with coloured divers, and large numbers of these men - Malays and other coloured aliens - are still being imported under contract to work as divers upon the pearl-shelling grounds. I do not say that these men are allowed to overrun the State ; but they have established settlements on the coast from which they work the fisheries.
– We cannot stop them from working the fisheries three miles off the coast.
– We can stop them within the three-mile limit.
– There is no shell there.
– We can stop them also from landing and making the shore a base of operations, and the probability is that if they had no base from which to work, our white people could compete ‘ successfully against these coloured aliens. It is because these men can use the Australian shore as a base that they are able to work the pearlshelling even beyond the three-mile limit.
– We can prevent them from landing.
– It would, at all events, prevent them from having a base in sufficient proximity to enable them to carry on the industry. Then, on the Queensland coast, we find that Thursday Island is to-day a coloured settlement containing the most heterogeneous mixture . of races it is possible to conceive. We find, too, that the Japanese, Javanese, and various other coloured peoples, have been coming to the mainland of North Queensland in such numbers as would, I think, be most alarming to the minds of the people if they thoroughly understood how far this immigration is proceeding. The honorable member for Kennedy reminds mc that since the affirmation by the Queensland Government of the treaty which was arrived at between- the British and Japanese Governments, the number of Japanese in Queensland has increased within eighteen months, or two years by over 3,000. These figure* represent the immigration from one nation only, and do not include the Javanese,, Malays, Manillamen, and the hundred and. one different kinds of coloured men who> go to make up the peculiar collection o£ races to be found in Northern Queensland. Again, in the interior districts of.’ the various States we find Afghans and Hindoos employed, some as cameldrivers, and some as hawkers, and in each instance becoming a menace to the people in the sparsely populated districts. I do not suppose that there is one man who> has not read of or experienced the troublethat these coloured hawkers give, especially where women and children are left - and necessarily left - unprotected, in the sparsely settled districts, lt is common knowledge that these men are not only insolent, but actually threatening in their attitude towards women and children unless trade is done with them. This menace has been brought under the notice of the police, and in some instances action has been successfully taken against these hawkers. All these things go to show the dangerthat confronts us, and the necessity for some definite action being taken. It is said bysome of those who object to legislation of’ this sort that, while we may be justified in keeping out Chinamen, Japanese, Manillamen, Malays, or Assyrians, we have no justification for attempting .to keep out of Australia the coloured British subjects of His Majesty the King. I would direct the attention of people who think in that way to the fact that the British Government today admit the power of this Commonwealth and of the people of Australia to differentiate between Indian British subjects and white British subjects, because they themselves differentiate between them. The British Government do not think of putting the Hindoo or any other native of India upon the same plane as the people of the United Kingdom. The ground I take is that the natives of India are British subjects and subjects only, whilst the people of the United Kingdom are citizens as well, and British subjects in Australia are citizens also. That constitutes a wide distinction. I do not believe that the British Government will object to our restricting or preventing the influx of Indian subjects into this Commonwealth, but if they do object it will be for them to treat their subjects in India as on the same plane as other British subjects, and give them local self-government. They will not do that, and I do not think they would be justified under the circumstances in doing it ; but the mere fact that they have not so far extended it, and that the people of India are subject races, governed by the British people, owing to their superior intelligence and powers of organization, justifies us in expecting from the British Government treatment different from that accorded to the subjects of British India. Coming to the Bill itself we find that it is framed on the model of the Natal Act, and I am bound to say that while I appreciate the difficulties that appear to confront the Government, I cannot agree with the methods by which they propose to deal with this question. The Natal Act was, I admit, the outcome of a series of negotiations with the British Government, but as indicated the day before yesterday, in connexion with another matter, there is, I think, a considerable distinction between the position occupied, in regard to negotiations with the British Government, by a single State, or single dependency, and that occupied by a federation of States such as the Commonwealth of Australia. Consequently we can quite understand that where the British Government might not agree to go the whole distance with regard to restrictive legislation of this character passed by a single State, they might take a different view and be much more liberal in their treatment of proposals coming from a body like this, representing such an important section of the British Empire. I do not think that the Natal legislation has been efficient. lt is a pity that the Government have not been .able to obtain the return I moved for some weeks ago, because it would have shown what the experience has been in connexion with coloured immigration during the five years preceding and the period succeeding the passing of the New South Wales Act.
– 1 have endeavoured to obtain the information, and, if the honorable member will permit me, I will tell him what I have received. I have obtained returns from Victoria and Queensland only so far - that is, returns of alien immigration to Australiaduring the five years between 1896 and 1900 inclusive. Victoria can supply only the figures showing Chinese immigration and emigration, but Queensland gives all the particulars asked for. In Victoria theexcess of Chinese immigration over emigration for the period referred to was 1,297: In Queensland the number of coloured persons admitted during the same period, including Chinese, Polynesians, Japanese, Javanese, and other Asiatic races was. 13,399. The departures numbered 9,401, thus leaving an excess of immigration over emigration of 3,998. I will show how these figures are made up. I have delayed laying the information on thetable owing to want of particulars from the. other States ; but I have a return showing, the number of coloured aliens admitted into Queensland from 1896 to 1900. Itappears that in the five-year period the increase of Chinese in Queensland was 753 as against 1,297 in Victoria ; the increase, of Polynesians was 1,926 increase of Japanese, 847 ; decrease of Javanese, 132 r increase of other Asiatic races, 604, showing a total increase of 3,998, of which something just under one-half were Polynesians. That is all the information I have received up to the present time.
– That information is very interesting in itself, but, unfortunately,, it does not touch on the main question to which I was referring immediately before the Prime Minister gave the figures. I was. urging the desirability of having figures to show the experience under the Natal Act, as passed in New South Wales, Western Australia, and, I believe, in Tasmania ; but these figures, it appears, are not available. I have been able, however, to get some figures with reference to Western Australia from the beginning of this year. That State, I believe, has only recently begun to differentiate, for statistical purposes, between coloured people. As I mentioned, incidentally a few nights ago, when this matter was under discussion, the information from Western Australia shows that during the first three months of the present year, there was an increase in coloured immigration by some 130 to 140 people.
– Does the honorable member know how many of these were returned immigrants?
– I do not ; and that, I admit, is a difficulty. I take my figures from a newspaper report, which, though culled from the statistician’s returns, does not, owing to the lack of other figures, enable one to see the whole of the bearings of the case.
– I shall endeavour to find out.
– I am convinced that in New South Wales- as to Tasmania, I do not know - that the Natal Act has not been efficient ; and I am convinced, further, that the Bill proposed by the Government, if passed in its present shape, will not achieve its object. That is the whole objection I have- to the Bill. I quite sympathize with the object of the measure, but I contend that under its provisions it will be possible for a man to pass the examination and still be one of the most objectionable immigrants imaginable. We know that education does not eliminate the objectionable qualities of the Baboo Hindoo.
– There are coloured universities in America now.
– Just so. With the Oriental, as a rule, the more he is educated the worse man he is likely to be from our point of view. The more educated, the more cunning he becomes, and the more able, with his peculiar ideas of social and business morality, to cope with the people here. I do not think there is any advantage in restricting the admission of coloured people to those who are educated ; and, in any case, I contend that the number which will filter through under the Government’s proposal will still be sufficiently large to constitute a great menace to the well-being of the people as a whole. Then, it is undesirable, to say the least of it, that we should attempt to place any’ bar in the way of white people, as is proposed by the Bill. We know that many uneducated white people, are proved later to be valuable colonists. I am not now speaking df one particular race as against another, but we can at least say that Great Britain has benefited to a very large degree in the past by the steady invasion by a portion of the more northerly European races, which lias been going on during many centuries. That invasion has helped to build up a national character which is unique, and which certainly is in no way inferior to that of any other European nation. With this experience behind us, it would be an error to pass any legislation which would place a bar in the- way of immigration from ‘ other European nations, so long as that immigration does not get beyond reasonable bounds - so long as immense hordes do not come over. While it continues merely in driblets of people of an enterprising character, who wish to make a better living for themselves than there is a chance of their doing in their own countries it would be a mistake to interpose a barrier. We have room for every man who has a standard of living equal to our own, and whose general tone is. in no way inferior to that of our own people. We have room for all such in Australia, and I for one would be slow indeed to put a bar in the way of their coming here, unless, of course, it is shown that we cannot achieve our object in any other way. But I contend that it is possible to achieve our object in another way. I believe that we can get passed the provision of which I have given notice ; and here I would like to say that I do not intend to press the latter -part of the amendment, which has reference to Pacific islanders, the Government having given notice of their intention to deal with this in another Bill. My proposal is to insert a sub-clause (a) in clause 4, prohibiting the immigration of any person who is an aboriginal native of Asia or Africa, and I believe that the Colonial-office will not be likely to reject a Bill containing such a provision. If the Colonial-office authorities are likely to reject such a Bill once, I do not think they are likely to reject it a second time. If, however, as some honorable members contend, the Bill is rejected a second time, then, as I said yesterday, the sooner we understand what our powers are, and how far this autonomous government with which we are supposed to have been endowed is a reality or how far it is a mockery, the better it will be for all. While I entertain no manner of doubt as to my proposal going through, if it be carried by this and the other Chamber, it is highly desirable that we should thoroughly understand our position in regard to our powers for the preservation of our own interests. It was suggested that, owing to an amendment of the character I have indicated, the Bill might be postponed for an indefinite period while negotiations are in progress, - and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked what was going to happen in the meantime. But the Government have that latent power, which all Governments possess, to stop anything in the interim which is likely to be a menace to the people as a whole.
– I did not make that suggestion as a reason for not supporting the proposal.
– I gathered that, but it is a question which has to be met.
– It should be remembered that the Executive power, called an Act of State, cannot be exercised to prevent the immigration of British subjects.
– I was going to mention that as a proper point for consideration ; but I contend that during the few months that are likely to elapse between the reservation of this Bill, and the possibility of Parliament coming to another conclusion in a subsequent session, there is no probability of any large movement of British subjects from India.
– I am afraid there is very great danger.
– I do not think that those who might come during that period would be worth considering as against the desirability of getting this Bill through in an effective shape. In some of the States it would be possible even under thepresent laws in regard to immigration - and these laws obtain until the federal law be passed - to place a restriction on the immigration of British subjects. The Natal Act, for instance, will operate in New South Wales until the federal legislation takes its place.
– But immigrants may be received in one State and passed into another. It is no use having one door open and a few locked.
– I agree with the honorable member. When considering the possibility of this legislation being unduly delayed, I was endeavouring to regard the case in its worst aspect from my point of view. My contention is that we are not likely to have any undue delay - that there is no probability of the Royal assent being refused - when it is understood that the people here have definitely made up their minds in favour of legislation of this character. I regret to notice the absence of some provision dealing with the importation of labour under contract, and I have indicated an amendment dealing with this phase of immigration. In America, there has been legislation of the kind I suggest in force for some little time. I notice that one of the Melbourne newspapers is attempting to make merry over the probability of a bishop brought from England to govern one of the denominations here, or a professor for a college, being stopped under the proposed clause. But, so far as such cases are concerned, I am quite willing to make exemptions.
– Such people are stopped in America.
– I do not propose to follow America in a slavish way in this matter. My objection to the importation of labour under contract is that the people engaged have, in very few instances, a proper knowledge of the conditions which obtain in the land to which they are coming, and where they have to live until the expiration of the contract. This, of course, does not apply to University professors, or other people in the position referred to by the newspaper. In regard to the ordinary working man - the labourer and artisan - this position does apply, and it is to prevent such people being imposed on, and binding themselves into slavery in ignorance, that some such clause as the one suggested should be passed. Of course, if the agreement be abrogated, and these people are protected from the consequence of their ignorance while away from the Commonwealth, I have no objection to their coming in as immigrants. My desire is that some limitation or restriction should be placed on the wholesale importation of men, such as even now is going on in New South Wales. In that State we find that Chinese have been imported under contract, and we are told that in Fiji lately, the Colonial Sugar Company have imported a number of coloured people from India to take the places of the white mechanics hitherto employed in the sugar mills. Quite recently we learned from a report in the London Times that 50 Russian carpenters are being brought out under contract to Australia. In each of these instances there is ignorance prevailing as to the conditions obtaining here, and it is necessary that the interests of these people should be safeguarded in the manner I propose. I do not desire to detain the House at any further length upon this point. I think that the Bill as introduced is ineffective. The method adopted is a roundabout one, and, although if we could achieve our object in no other way I should be prepared to go in that direction, I think there is a possibility of making this measure effective without adopting any roundabout method, and at the same time of accomplishing our object, by impressing on the British authorities that Australia is the best judge of her own circumstances. We are the best judges of the danger that confronts us in the immigration of these undesirable people. Further, we have to live under the conditions which will obtain here in the future. Consequently, we say, with the utmost respect and with every confidence that our desires will be given ear to, that we wish these people to be prevented at all hazards from coming within the confines of Australia.
– I desire first to congratulate the honorable member for Wentworth upon his grand democratic speech. I am glad to say that it has knocked the bottom out of all the kinky methods adopted in this Bill concerning the educational test. I am glad to be able to feel with the honorable member for Melbourne’ Ports that we are united upon this question. I am pleased that the House, as the mouth-piece of the people, so shortly from the people, is going to be united upon the greatest question which ever came before a nation to solve - one of the problems of the age. If the Australian people had only lived in the southern states of America^as I have - and had seen the dire results of the present mingling of the Africans with the whites, they would put their feet down and say - “ We are going to profit by the terrible mistake of the American people, and we are not going to leave it to posterity to solve such an unholy problem.” There has been a great deal of talk about the rights of the British subject. But I hold that the Commonwealth of Australia should not be called upon to give more rights to a black man in Australia from India than the Government of the United Kingdom extend to him themselves. There is a vast difference between a white man in Australia and a black man in Calcutta. The people of Australia are citizen subjects, but the people of India are subject citizens. They do not govern themselves, and I think that this distinction was splendidly drawn by His Excellency the Governor-General at the recent banquet. We need not go any further. I wish to point out that the educational test proposed in this Bill will keep out the labouring people. It will keep out a million Canadians if they want to come here - men who are splendid farmers but who cannot read English. Yet I am sure that His Majesty would not like tolose them from Canada. But from my experience in the East I can assure honorable members that the educational test proposed will not shut out the Japanese if they desire to come to Australia. It will not shut out the Indian “ toff” who becomes a human parasite preying upon the people of the country. It will not shut out the intellectual Afghan. We have more to fear from the educated coloured people than from the ignorant coloured people, because the latter will not attempt to mingle or associate with the white race. My experience in the southern states of America is that a firstclass education disqualifies the black people for any kind of work- whatever in the line of industrial creation. They at once go forth to the big cities, and settle down to live upon their wits just as some white men do. That class of people will not be shut out by the proposed educational test. Its adoption will only add to the great volume of the parasitical element which is now sucking the life-blood out of the worker in Australia. I will take another point. The leader of the democratic party said that he did not want to shut out bishops or preachers. I want to shut out both preachers and bishops if they are not prepared to settle in Australia, to grow up with the country, and to assist in developing it. In the United States of America there is an Act called the Alien Act. When they built the great Roman Catholic college in Washington and engaged clergymen in Europe and various other parts to send out there, one of the leading’ cardinals of America said - “We will have American clergymen.” “ No,” was the reply, “ we want to send out men who will teach the young American abnegagation and submission according to the ideas of Europe.” The new clergy were met at Castle Garden, and the authorities told them that they were aliens and would have to go home. They went home. Why should a foreign bishop or preacher be allowed admission to Australia any more than a foreign labouring man 1 The latter will go forth to hew the forest, tunnel the mountains, build bridges over the rivers, and create something for the people. In fact he is the pioneer for the clergyman and the bishop. The bishop will simply live upon the people. He is the first who should be shut out if he is not an Australian. Then again, let us look at the Chinese merchant. Does the proposed test shut out the educated Chinaman, who is the very worst man we can have in the community ? I remember when the Chinese drove the servant girls out of California, and when all the farm hands cleared out because they could not compete with the six Chinese companies. How did it wind up 1 It wound up by all the little farmers selling out to the big men and leaving the country. Then the big men engaged Chinese from the six companies which bossed the show. Then, if any man said one word against those six companies, all the Chinamen would be called out on strike, and the squatter or big agriculturist or fruit-grower could not get a Chinaman to go to his place or to pick his fruit, and there were no white labourers left. Then the Californian people for years and years called upon the United States Congress to shut out the Chinamen. I heard the late Henry Ward Beecher say that God made America for all nations and all people. “Let them come,” he said. “Oh come ye to the waters, our wine and milk we will freely give to all your sons and daughters.” That is all very fine coming from the pulpit. But when the people of the Pacific slope persuaded certain members of Congress to visit California they dropped them down in the Chinese dens, and left them there for a night. The result was that the Congressmen went back to Washington and passed a law shutting out the Chinamen for twenty years. All sorts of means have been tried to exclude J ohn Chinaman, but he gets there just the same. They cannot shut him out. With all due deference to the Prime Minister the proposed educational test is absolutely absurd. I know that the right honorable gentleman means well. I know that the Government mean well, but they are only human.
– While the honorable member is divine.
– There is something in that. As I know that other honorable members desire to speak, I merely wish to add that I am pleased the honorable member for Wentworth has upset this show today. I am going to assist in getting into this Bill a clause providing for the absolute exclusion of undesirable aliens. No danger will result from such legislation, because the men in Great Britain are sensible. Lord Chatham declared on one occasion that if he had been in America he would have fought with the Americans. The American and Canadian rebellions have shown Great Britain that it is folly to interfere with a free people when they are determined to struggle for their rights. The British people are sensible upon these questions. We are here upon a continent set apart by the Creator exclusively for a Southern empire - for a Southern nation - and it is our duty to preserve this island continent for all eternity to the white race, irrespective of where they may come from.
– Yesterday, I had the honour to present a petition in connexion with this Bill from the Australian Natives’ Association. That petition set forth the sentiments of the native-born Australians, and prayed this House, as speedily as possible, to pass into law some measurewhich would have the effect of keeping Australia white. Those exact phrases were not used, but they convey the meaning and sentiment of the nativeborn of Australia. It was, therefore, with more than ordinary pleasure that I listened to the deliverance of the honorable member for Wentworth this morning. His manly style and straightforward utterance must give pleasure to those who have long felt that Australia is in serious danger from the influx particularly of coloured aliens. I must candidly confess that I hardly expected such a deliverance from the honorable member, and I am the more pleased to find that I have been disappointed. Whether or not the proposals of the Government are sufficient to carry out what we have in view remains to be seen. That those proposals are not such as the Government would under other circumstances have put forward I verily believe. They are proposals put forward because of the necessities surrounding our Imperial connexion. We were told by the Prime Minister, when introducing the Bill, not in so many words, but certainly in effect, that that so far as his Ministry was concerned, they would be just as strong in their desire to exclude aliens as the honorable member for Wentworth himself would be, and that they were equally desirous of preserving Australia absolutely white with any other honorable member. The Prime Minister pointed out, as he had a right to point out, that in consequence of our Imperial connexion and the difficulties that are likely to arise in regard to British subjects, it became necessary to frame the Bill in a way that was not exactly palatable to himself, and it certainly is not palatable to a large section, if not the whole, of the honorable members of this House. Speaking for myself alone I would infinitely prefer to adopt the method suggested by the honorable member for Wentworth, and state in the Bill, in a straightforward manner exactly what we want to do. We want to exclude absolutely every kind of coloured immigrant. Let us put that desire on the face of the Bill and ask the Home authorities to support us. The test must come some day as to which of the two great powers, so to speak, is best able to say what is proper for Australia ; whether on the one hand the Government of Australia or, on the other, the Imperial Government is to have that right. For my own part I think there can be no doubt as to which of the two is the better qualified to speak, and to speak authoritatively. Those having a full knowledge of the alien question, and of Australian public sentiment, those who are able to appreciate the danger of these vast hordes, should they be cast loose; those who are in touch with the feelings and aspirations of Australia ought to be best qualified to say what is most suitable for Australia. The test must come sooner or later, and when it does come, we want it to come in a way that will provoke the least possible friction. In a matter of this kind, where the internal administration in connexion with a matter which does not extend beyond the limits of the Commonwealth is in question, we have the best right to make our views heard, and the best opportunity of making the test to which I have referred. When we were discussing the Postal Bill the other day, some similar proposal was put forward for excluding coloured labour. I was delighted to see the proposal carried which was then put forward, but I think that in connexion with this Bill we shall be on very much firmer ground in taking the stand, that I hope we will take, in excluding these undesirable immigrants. The honorable member for Wentworth said that the Bill was absolutely a fraud. I do not know that that is so. It may be that it will prove to be ineffectual in its operation. It may be that the educational test, perhaps, will not be sufficient for the purpose in view. Like the honorable member I fear that will be so, but I wish to emphasize the fact that the Bill is what we are forced to take because of the conditions which surround the subject, and it is not what we our ourselves would desire. As to the educational test it is just as well to be reminded that the Japanese and others, particularly Indian subjects, are quite able to pass that test. Those are the very races, above all others, that we desire to keep out of Australia. The Afghans, the Cingalese, and Japanese are amongst the least desirable citizens of Australia. They do not enter upon the productive works of the country in the way in which European alien races do. For the most part they content themselves with hawking goods in the country, or taking menial occupations in the towns and cities. The hawking element has been descanted upon this morning, and every honorable member who has been in the country districts knows full well to what an extent that trade has been mopped up by the Afghans and coolies ; he knows, too, what a dreadful scourge those men have become in the back blocks of Australia. But they can all pass the educational test. There are universities in India where the coloured subjects of the King receive as good an education as we can give to any of the white subjects of the King in Australia. Some of these men - I have met some of them myself - are mathematicians of the highest, order. Some of them are scholars of repute. We have had instances of some of them entering the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and passing all examinations there with credit to themselves and the country to which they belong. In such cases the educational test can be of no use at all. It must be absolutely worthless. In addition to these there are others who do not attend universities, but who nevertheless receive a very good education. The Japanese particularly are adopting a method of education, not merely with respect to literary subjects, but with respect to technical knowledge, which threatens to be a serious menace to Australia. Forty or fifty years ago the Germans went into the manufacturing towns of England, and made contracts with the best artisans they could secure among the trades it was proposed to establish” in Germany. Those engagements were made for a certain number of years. The men received extremely good wages. They went to Germany and taught the Germans the
English methods and English arts of manufacture. Profiting by that example, the Japanese are doing precisely the same thing. They are engaging workmen of the best class to go to Japan and enter technical schools and colleges, as well as manufactories of various kinds, in order to teach the Japanese British methods of manufacture and production. Therefore, in a very short time we shall not only have these persons educated in British literary subjects, but in British arts and manufactures, and then that contract labour, to which the honorable member for Bland has referred, will be a much more serious question to us than it is to-day. These men, educated in British methods, having a full knowledge of the manufacture of goods calculated to sell in the markets of the Commonwealth, will be imported here under contract, at very low rates of wages, to compete in our own markets in the manufacture of those goods which hitherto have been exclusively made by our own people. There are two kinds of education going on in Japan, and many of the people of that country could pass the education test provided in this Bill ; so that to that extent the Bill will not help us. I should very much prefer to provide some other system more straightforward and more explicit in the body of the Bill, and let the Colonial office take the responsibility of saying that Australia does not know what she wants, and that it will not let her have what she asks. The test has to come. Let it come in such a manner that the whole support of the people of Australia will be behind the proposition. On the subject of a white Australia there is scarcely a white citizen within the confines of the Commonwealth who would not support the proposition embodied in the amendment by the honorable member for Bland. To return to the question of contract labour. I think one other effect of the proposition to exclude labour under contract may be to preserve us from some of those ills which have happened to the American people in connexion with their citizen communities. As honorable members know, there are quite a number of towns in the United States in which German, Spanish, Italian, and French is spoken, but not the British language. I would welcome any class of European to Australia, provided he does not establish himself in citizen communities and provided he speaks our tongue, acknowledges our institutions, and assimilates with us. But I cannot and will not welcome to Australia large numbers of men who will band themselves into bodies, speaking their own particular tongue, still honouring their own institutions, merely making a convenience of Australia in order to obtain a living, and then, when they have acquired a competency going back to their native land. That is what is being done to a large extent by the Japanese and others. It may also be done by alien European races. I therefore think that the proposition made by the honorable member for Bland, if carried into law, would tend to restrict the establishment of these citizen communities, alien in language and aspiration to ourselves, and further tend to make those men become Australian citizens, assimilating with us, acknowledging our ideals and aspirations, and working with us to those ends. I have already said the test must come some day or other. I feel that the Empire as a whole is interested in the preservation of the union of Australia. Great Britain does not want to see the Australian Commonwealth go to the wall. If she wants anything at all, it is that this young nation that she has seen come into being shall be strong and successful in its competition and in its race with other peoples of the world. For the safety of the Australian nation, for the good of her national life, we require that Australia shall be white. Do honorable members think that Great Britain does not recognise our aspirations in this regard, and that she will not grant us what we want 1 If it is put to her, as it ought to be, that for the safety of the union it is necessary to exclude alien coloured labour, Great Britain will not refuse to do what we ask. She is already well aware of the sympathy which all Australia entertains with regard to the affairs of the Empire ; she knows full well that with respect to any matter with which she is Connected, Australia is with her heart and soul ; and when Australia makes this demand for her preservation, for the solidarity of the British people, for the successful establishment and the carrying on of a British nation in these southern seas, she will not refuse it. Therefore, I would have no hesitation in placing in the body of the Bill the proposition made by the honorable member for Wentworth, and saying that it is in the interests of Australia that no coloured native of India or Africa shall ever come witain the confines of the Commonwealth.
– I think the Ministry stated a few days ago that they were prepared to put in force the inherent power which the Crown possesses to stop the immigration of aliens, pending the passage of legislation by this Parliament. It struck me at the time that that was a mistaken course. I do not think that any compulsion should be initiated by the Government, except on the authority of Parliament. When the great case of Ah Toy v. Musgrave was decided it was very clearly laid down in opposition to the preponderance of legal opinion, at all events, up to that point, that there is an inherent power in the Crown to prevent an alien from landing. That is to say, if an alien is stopped from landing, he has no right of action in British courts to enforce the payment of damages for trespass. At the same time, however, it was as clearly stated that for the Crown to exercise against friendly nations that latent prerogative would give a justifiable opening to international remonstrance. I therefore thought that a Government which is so careful about international complications that they actually take up an Immigration Restriction Bill which has been shelved at home, and endeavour to persuade Australia to pass it, should be careful to hearken to an expression from the judicial bench which fits in with Imperial authority as regards not angering the susceptibilities of other nations. I know very well what Mr. Chamberlain has in his l-jnd in regard to his desire that the colonies should have - although the Imperial Parliament may not pass it - an Immigration Restriction Bill. He clearly laid it down in a despatch which, I think, was sent in 1898 to the colonial Premiers, that what he was considering was the Japanese susceptibilities ; that Japan appeared to be, of all coloured nations, the one that was strongest and most friendly with the United Kingdom; and that it was, therefore, inexpedient that Australia should by any legislation offend, to use his own words, “ Japanese susceptibilites.” There is no doubt that the ground of objection taken in England is that the principle of exclusion ought not to be based on colour. The right honorable Mr. Chamberlain expressly stated that in 1897, at the Premiers’ Conference in London, and he somewhat softened the objections to coloured labour that were up to that time held by Australian Premiers. At the meeting that was held in Sydney in 1896, it was decided by the Premiers of the various colonies that the principle of the Chinese Restriction Acts should be applied to all coloured labour, and a Bill was introduced into the South Australian Parliament, and I believe into the New South Wales Parliament, extending the principle of the South Australian Chinese Restriction Act of 18S8 to all Asiatics, with very few exceptions. This Bill passed the South Australian Parliament, and I believe also the Parliament of New South Wales, but when it was sent home, Mr. Chamberlain withheld the recommendation to the Crown that assent should be granted pending the holding of the Premiers’ Conference, and he subsequently got the Bill disallowed. He then explained to the Premiers that the natural desire of the Australians to exclude undesirable immigrants could be attained, as far as Asiatics were concerned, by adopting the principle of the Natal Bill, and he also stated at that meeting - apparently contradicting what was implied from his statements as regards the Asiatics, that the desire of Australia was to exclude colour - that the true principle of exclusion was not colour, which would affect 200,000,000 or 300,000,000 of His Majesty’s subjects, but that the right of exclusion should be exercised where immigrants were dirty, or paupers, or immoral. It seemed to me when I read this speech of Mr. Chamberlain’s to the Premiers, that it was about as egregious a piece of political cant as one could very well conceive. The idea that a man who was dirty should be excluded was absurd - as if a ship’s bath could not cure him of any objections that might be urged against him on the ground of want of cleanliness. So far as men being paupers is concerned, we have to recollect that some of the best men - nien of enterprise, men of intelligence, men through whom the British Empire has become what it is - landed on these shores practically “ stone broke.” They were not what we know as paupers within the meaning of an Act of Parliament, but there were very few men who landed here, stirred by a desire to take part in the development of this’ great country, who landed here with more than a few pounds in their pockets ; and are we going to leave it to some subordinate officer of the Executive to determine what degree of poverty shall afford justification for the exclusion of an immigrant ? Then, so far as the ground of immorality is concerned, was there ever a greater piece of hypocrisy ? Is this immorality to be commercial immorality - and is this stipulation to come from a country which has recently passed through a series of commercial crises which have not been specially marked by any display of commercial morality ? Or is it to be sexual immorality 1 Are we going to empower a police official or some other subordinate officer to examine all the women who come to our shores as to whether or not they have obeyed the mandates of the Gospel with regard to sexual purity ? Perhaps the provision is intended to be levelled at professionally immoral people - in fact, I think the Bill mentions prostitutes. But how on earth are we going to get perhaps some Pharisee of a policeman - or a Minister if you like - to differentiate between the relative degrees of morality or deviations from a correct line of conduct on the part of female. immigrants? It is not always the woman “ who minces “virtue and does shake the head to hear of pleasure’s name,” but who, as’ the poet tells us, often “ goes to’t with a more riotous appetite,” who would be excluded by such legislation. But the unfortunate, who, perhaps, trusting too much to male honour, or who, being endowed by nature with a too great flush of womanly susceptibility has in a weak moment yielded to male importunity, and, without permanent blemish of mind, has sustained irreparable injury at the hands of man. To talk of making immorality a bar is to give utterance to a piece of nonsense, and to suggest something that is utterly impracticable, but which might, at the same time, have the effect of stopping a considerable number of intending immigrants from coming here. There is no doubt that the matter that really affected Mr. Chamberlain’s mind was the colour question, and that he contemplated our acting as a catspaw for him, because the Imperial Bill that was introduced in 1898 was not passed by the Imperial Parliament, but was opposed by some of the most powerful sections of the press as leading to nothing more, if I remember aright the words of the Spectator, than an additional staff of inspectors at various ports. Though this matter has been shelved at home, Mr. Chamberlain, having been in communication with the’ Premiers of Australia previously, is now desirous that we should act as a kind of catspaw in reference to this matter. He does not wish to offend Japanese susceptibilities by raising the colour question. ; but the question is whether we are to subordinate our undoubted desire to prevent coloured immigrants from coming into Australia to the exigencies of Empire, as expressed by Mr. Chamberlain. This is a very big issue, but the question he has raised is whether our desire to make colour the basis of rejection shall be subordinated to the desire of the Imperial Parliament to consider the susceptibilities of the coloured races, and in the first place of that coloured race which is now armed to a point which entitles them to some consideration among the nations of the world. There is another reason which actuates some British statesmen in their desire not to offend Japan or even China. There is about £300,000,000 of British capital invested in China. Two-thirds of the trade of the Yangtse-Kiang region belongs to England, and according to the statistics of 1896 about 80 per cent, of the trade of the river ports is English, and these are matters of course, which have very great weight with the Imperial authorities in considering the expediency of assenting to Australian legislation against the coloured races. I do not really think, however, that the Imperial Parliament will refuse to assent to any legislation that we may pass on this subject. Mr. Chamberlain never said that the final assent of the Crown would be withheld ; but he seems to have got over the Premiers, who were engaged in a round of festivities at the time of the Jubilee celebrations, and some of whom were knighted, or had other honours conferred upon them. At all events, the Premiers of the various States, who had decided to ‘ make colour the line of distinction, immediately backed down, and represented that the desire of the Australian States could be attained by the means suggested by Mr. Chamberlain. I cannot give the exact text of their minute on the subject, but that was its effect. I quite agree with those who say that wo ought to protect ourselves against an invasion of the lower races. I do not think there is much danger to be apprehended from this source just at present, notwithstanding the statistics of the last four or five years- which have been given by the Prime Minister. If we take the statistics from 1859 up to the present time we find that the number of Chinese within the Commonwealth has shrunk considerably in Victoria from about 44,000 to 12,000, and that during the whole period the numbers have been gradually declining. In 1888 the s.s. Afghan came to our shores with 268 Chinamen on board, and it was owing to the refusal to land in Victoria about 60 Chinamen on board who were in excess of the statutory number allowed to be carried by the steamer that the celebrated case of Ah Toy versus Musgrave arose. The people of Australia were’ then frightened that we were going to be overwhelmed with Chinese, but the experience during the last 50 years has shown that these aliens have always come here in flushes and the true statistics of the increase or decrease of these races amongst us are to be found in a comparison of succeeding periods of ten years. To take the figures of any period for five years would be quite misleading, as it will be found that by taking the period from 1885 to 1890, there was an excess of immigration into New South Wales, whilst in the following five years up to 1895 there was an excess of emigration over immigration. On the whole, the -number of Chinese amongst us is gradually declining, and I do not believe there are 12,000 in the whole of the States as against 45,000 in 1859. In South Australia there are not 200 Chinese.
– But that is due to legislation.
– Not altogether, because during the 20 years from 1861 to 1881 there was no Chinese Restriction Act in force.
– I think the honorable and learned member’s figures must be wrong - there must be more than 12,000 Chinese in the whole of Australia.
– There were 12,000 Chinese in New South Wales alone when the Chinese Restriction Act was passed.
– My figures are intended to include the Chinese throughout the whole of Australia, but, even though I may be a few thousands out, it is none the less a fact that there has been an immense declension during the last 50 years, and if ten-year periods are taken it will be seen that the tide of alien population is ebbing instead of flowing in. At the same time I am prepared to put upon our statute-book a provision which will really face the substance of this question and exclude coloured aliens. I have only been talking about the unnecessary timidity of Australians with reference to an invasion of the black races. In the future there may be greater danger. The superstitions which have for ages kept the Chinese at home, and which would not permit them to leave their bones in a foreign country, are gradually being weakened, perhaps under the influence of Western civilization. Until recently the Chinese would not allow mining to go on in their country because they thought that if they dug down more than 30 feet the spirits of their interred ancestors would be disturbed, and evil spirits come up and give them trouble. It was a religious principle among the Chinese that they should go home to die; and by some extraordinary process they seem to have entertained the same antipathy to leaving their bones outside their own country asdid the Greeks of old. Even that form of patriotism, however, is now weakened among the Chinese, because we find that they are settling themselves permanently in parts of America and in the Straits Settlements. We have the testimony of the late ProfessorPearson and others that, during the last 30 years, there have been indications of. the weakening of those superstitions which’ have prevented the Chinese from becomingpermanent residents in a foreign country, and an increasing tendency to settle abroad. Under these circumstances, we must makecorresponding provisions against the probable pollution of the higher race in the only part of the world in which the higher white civilization has an opportunity left to develop itself. Professor Pearson points out that if we allow the northern parts of Australia to be open to the immigration of coloured races, we shall reduce the rest of Australia to the same position as the Cape found itself in owing to a similar operation being allowed in the case of Natal. The reason given by the Government of Natal for the introduction of this measure was different from that alleged by the Government here. What Natal objected to was that the immigrants from India were of the very lowest type. There were negroes in Natal already. I believe that in 1894 there were something like 500,000 negroes to some 44,000 whites.
– African negroes.
– Yes ; I am using the term in its generic sense, to cover Kaffirs -and others. What was objected to was that these low-class immigrants were being exploited by English capitalists, and there is no doubt that this labour was exploited in the Kimberley mines, and to some extent in the Transvaal. The objection being on the ground that the immigrants from India were of the lowest type, it was thought that the best test to apply would be the educational test, as the one that would prove effective. But in passing this legislation, the Natal Government did not go to the stupid length which is gone in the Bill we are now discussing. The test there was the writing out of a certain number of words in any European language. No attempt was made to exclude some of the best colonists and best agrarian settlers - such as the Germans - who might perhaps increase the virile qualities of our race.
– What attempt is being made to exclude such immigrants 1
– This Bill attempts to exclude them.
– It does nothing of the kind.
– The Bill does attempt to exclude them. If the test be applied in the English tongue, does the Prime Minister imagine that a good many Germans will not be excluded 1
– The answer to that is that the test will not be applied to Germans.
– But shipowners will not dare to carry them, owing to the risk.
– Does the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne mean to say that a good many Germans would not be excluded ?
– I do not like the Bill in this form, but I am quite sure it will not exclude Germans.
– Does the honorable and learned member think it is safe to allow the Executive to suspend the operation of an Act of Parliament1? I believe in putting our desires within the letter of the Bill itself, and not in trusting to the Executive to make exceptions to the rule. The principle I believe to be bad.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that a measure would last three months which excluded Germans’?
– I know that we had to fight this question in South Australia, where there was a good deal of reluctance on the part of the Government to make a provision admitting Germans. That was not because the Government objected to German settlers, but because the Government with a determination to stick to the text, which is sometimes commendable and sometimes is not, refused to budge from the provisions as introduced. This question was raised in South Australia by men entitled more than I am to speak on behalf of Germans - men who were born in Germany and represented German constituents. I have represented a constituency, half the electors of which were Germans, and I know the degree of dissatisfaction with which the exclusion of German immigrants by means of this educational test, was met. I do not think that, at this stage, I am justified, especially after the excellent speech of the acting leader of the Opposition, in dealing more elaborately with the Bill. I repeat that I am in thorough sympathy with those who wish to preserve our race from any mixture of the lower races, and also in sympathy with those who desire to prevent such cutthroat competition in regard to wages as makes the white man a practical slave. We have to face the conditions of modern civilization. We find that in one week in Chicago, 2,000 printers were dismissed from employment owing to improved machinery, and that brick-making is now carried on by means of electricity with a saving of labour to the extent of 700 per cent.
– A saving of 100 per cent, extinguishes the whole sum.
– The machinery does seven times the work that the men did. The Prime Minister thinks he has found in my remarks a fallacy which does not exist.
– The honorable member meant 7 per cent., but said 700 per cent.
– I will accept the Prime Minister’s correction, and say that the labour saved was as seven to one. All around wonderful economies are being effected in labour, and the labour market is often glutted with unemployed, in consequence of the application of these economies. There is, therefore, a justifiable desire to prevent great cutthroat competition in regard to wages, and if political machinery be used to this end, we should endeavour to see that the necessary provision is made within the letter of the measure itself. I think the Bill ought to be rejected. I do not believe in passing a makeshift, or in taking up a Bill which was opposed by the British press, and which, when introduced in the House of Commons or the House of Lords, was not proceeded with. The Bill does not deal broadly with the question of coloured labour, and the Ministry ought to have the courage to tackle the question generally.
– Like most other honorable members who have spoken, I am of opinion that we should aim directly at the object we are striving to attain, and not try to achieve it in a roundabout way. We are all agreed that the object we are striving for is to keep out the Asiatic, and I wish the Bill was also directed to keeping out the Polynesian. My warm support of the Government during the election campaign was given because I believed their desire was to maintain the purity of the race on this’ continent; and I believe the Government are still in earnest in the matter. This question is far more important in the eyes of Australia than the Tariff, or any other question we are likely to discuss. The Tariff question may interest Victoria and New South Wales, and in a lesser degree the other States ; but this is a living and burning question throughout the Commonwealth. My support of the Government is not so strong or so loyal that I can remain behind them if they are going to make a retrograde movement in this matter. I have heard the condition of affairs in (Queensland referred to in this House and at public meetings outside, but I have not gone about the city of Melbourne with my eyes shut. I have seen the canker spot in every part of Australia I have visited ; and while it may be true that we have a more polyglot population in Queensland than there is elsewhere, and that in the public schools there we may see almond eyes and brown or half-brown complexions, we need not go outside Melbourne to See a similar state of affairs. I recognise the importance of the commercial and industrial competition which these people are bringing on us, but to my mind there is a much more serious aspect of the question. There is the maintenance of the purity of the race, which is more than threatened, and I believe there has been too much apathy and indifference in some of the States in regarding the question from this point of view. Otherwise we would have had a much more active crusade against this class of labour than even we have to-day. I have authorized returns from various parts of Queensland, which go to show that there has been no exaggeration in the statements made. It cannot be unknown to honorable members and to the public generally, that wherever the Asiatic congregates or hordes, there we find insanitary conditions. Unfortunately I have to accuse those who are, perhaps, the most active in the crusade against this class of labour, of being amongst those who most actively support its continuance. I refer to the working classes. We find men agitating on the platform for the exclusion of the Chinese, and yet these men are amongst the best customers of the Chinese’ hawker. If these people only knew what they were buying from the Chinese, their dealings with them would fall off considerably. I have here a newspaper account of what was reported by the medical officer of Townsville: -
Some of the Chinese oystermen in that town kept boxes of the luscious bivalves lying in slimy mud, with a stream of sewage trickling round and through the boxes to fatten the oysters. In another Chinese den we found al large quantity of festering fish lying in trenches exposed to the san, and undergoing a process designated by the occupier as “ preserving.” These fish are described as being in a fearful state of decomposition.
What is true of Townsville in this regard is also true of Little Bourke-street and other Chinese quarters in the various cities of the Commonwealth. A few weeks ago I moved for a return which would show the influence the presence of these aliens have on the health of the community. The return I desired was one giving the number of lepers segregated in the various lazarettes of the Commonwealth. I have not yet received the return, but I have here figures showing the number of lepers who have been treated in the State of Queensland, and they are sufficiently alarming to convince us that, on this ground alone, there is reason why no time should be lost in dealing, not only with the Asiatic, but with the Polynesian, lt is only since November, 1892, that lepers found in Queensland have been segregated in the lazarettes of that State. We have now in the Queensland lazarettes 10 Europeans, 14 Pacific Islanders, 6 Aborigines, and 1 Chinese - a total of 31. The patients who have died in the period of not quite nine years since 1892, are 11 Europeans, 27 Pacific islanders, 3 Aborigines, 9 Chinese, 1 Malay, 1 Philippine, 1 Madrasee, and 2 Singalese ; and, in addition, 10 Chinamen -were sent to their own country. The total number of patients segregated in Queensland since the establishment of the lazarettes in 1892, is 96. I am perfectly satisfied that had the same amount of supervision been exercised over the alien races in the other States of the Commonwealth as the democratic party in Queensland have forced the Government to exercise there, the dread scourge of leprosy would have been found to be more widely distributed than has appeared in other parts of the Commonwealth. I wish to emphasize the fact that those Europeans who have contracted this dread disease have led as cleanly lives as most of us. The disease has not come to them through any immoral relations with these people, but through their dealings with them. Some of the individuals who contracted leprosy have moved in high circles. In one particular case, of which I know, a gentleman occupied for a considerable time a leading position in a provincial town in Queensland. He occupied rooms in a leading hotel, never appeared at the table without gloves, and thought he was suffering from some common form of skin disease. But a new doctor who had some knowledge of leprosy came to the town, diagnosed his complaint, and informed him that he was suffering from leprosy. That opinion was confirmed by others, and in the interests of the community the patient surrendered himself to the authorities, and is now, I believe, in one of the lazarettes in Queensland. I mention this case, painful though it may be, to show that this complaint is not confined to the working classes ; that it may invade the highest and most exclusive homes, and infect the wealthy as well as the humbler classes of the community. I feel more strongly upon this question than upon any other question that is likely to come before this House. I would not support for an hour any Government which I thought was going to palter with this evil, because I know the dimensions which it is assuming, not only in the State of Queensland but throughout the whole Commonwealth. With regard to the possibility of our attempting to grasp too much and thereby losing all, I wish to say that I believed, when advocating the union of these Stages, that we were going to get a larger and more complete measure of self-government than we formerly enjoyed. It is a painful surprise to me to find that we are to subordinate our desires to what we may call the exigencies of Downing-street. I do not know that we have any warrant for believing that Downing-street will dare to set their opinions in opposition to the expressed will of the people of the Commonwealth as voiced by their representatives in this Federal Parliament. At any rate, we should go straight and give them the opportunity of saying whether or not they agree with what we have done. We shall then know exactly what to do.
– We want to know how far we are to govern ourselves.
– That is so. Holding these views it gave me very great pleasure to hoar the address delivered by the honorable member for Wentworth. It confirmed the belief which I have previously expressed that 75 per cent, of the members of this Parliament were determined that this matter should be dealt with in no shilly-shally manner, and that we should declare in favour of reserving Australia for the white races. I wish to say a few words in regard to the educational test which is prescribed by clause 4. I am very sorry indeed that the Government have deemed it necessary that the test should be the ability to write 50 words in the English language. I have had perhaps as good, if not better, opportunities of knowing the value of the services which the German and Scandinavian races have rendered to Australia, as have most honorable members. It might be thought that because a very large number of the settlers in the constituency which I have the honour to represent are Germans and Scandinavians I am making somewhat of an electioneering speech. That is not so. I have come to this Parliament prepared to express my honest convictions, supremely indifferent as to whom I offend or whom I please. I know it is not the intention of the Government that any invidious distinction shall be raised between the European races, but I am also .aware that these people will take umbrage at the condition which this Bill imposes. If we are desirous of having the assistance of these people we should not prescribe such conditions. I have seen their homesteads cut out of the jungles and scrubs of Queensland, where scarce another man had the heart to go. They have converted these dense scrubs into smiling homesteads, and have redeemed a very large portion of the Australian continent that was practically useless. Besides being industrious, they are amongst outmost law-abiding, enterprising, and energetic citizens. Meet them where one will, settled upon the soil or in business, and one feels that in dealing with them he is dealing .for the most part with honest men. Loyal as they are to their native land, their loyalty in that respect has little influence upon their loyalty to Australia. I’ have found them as loyal to the land of their adoption as to the land from which they came. I think that to pass a measure which will seem, even in a remote degree, to cast a slur upon these people who have so materially assisted to develop the resources of this continent would be a mistake. Let us declare in a straighforward fashion in the Bill that there are certain races which we do not want here. We know that there is a growing power in the East, namely, Japan. Are we afraid of offending Japan? Shall we put our fear of offending Japan above our desire to have a pure Australian race comprised of the best blood of Europe, which has made the British race what it is to-day % I hope that we are sufficiently courageous to crystallize our convictions into the laws which we place on the statute-book of the Commonwealth. I trust that in committee there will be material alterations made in this Bill. I wish it to be distinctly understood that my vote here is not so much with the Government as with their policy as enunciated during the recent election. If there be any departure from that policy my allegiance will be to the policy and not to the men responsible for it. My desire is to know that in whatever little part it may be my lot to play in the first Parliament of the Commonwealth, I have given a vote to preserve Australia for all future time to the best races of the world and not to the servile races of Asia. The races of Asia may become better educated. But the intelligence which we see dawning in the East is a question of growth. The civilization to which we have attained has been the growth of ages. We cannot expect that in morality, in ideas of virtue, or in any other respect, a nation of yesterday is going to attain to the high degree of civilization which it has taken Europe centuries to reach. There is a good deal of sentiment in the talk about the brotherhood of man. It is a sentiment with which we all agree in the abstract. But I am one of those who believe that whilst we should do al] that we can to help those below us to a higher plane of living, civilization, comfort, and happiness, we should take all sorts of care that in our efforts to uplift them, they do not drag us down. When the Bill gets into committee, I shall vote for a white Australia, regardless of whether that vote goes to support or to defeat the Government.
– Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to talk to this House upon the subject of a white Australia. It is one of the objects for which I have been fighting for many years. The first gentleman who aroused enthusiasm in me upon this question is, I am pleased to say, a colleague of mine in this Chamber. I refer to the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. V. L. Solomon. I read many of his pamphlets upon the exigencies of the situation at the time he was conducting his anti-Chinese crusade. That was when the desire was awakened in me that Australia should be reserved for the Australians. Nothing could have given me greater pleasure than the speech of the honorable member for Wentworth, to which we listened this morning. Yesterday the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. V. L. Solomon, congratulated me upon having made the Government climb down. I am going to congratulate myself upon having made the honorable member for Wentworth climb down. Only the day before yesterday that honorable member interjected that this was only skirmishing. My reply was that I was very sorry the honorable member was not skirmishing in the front rank. Now I am pleased to say he is not only skirmishing, but fighting in the front rank for a white Australia. I compliment him upon having seen the error of his ways so soon, and upon having joined the fighting line. It is one of the greatest surprises which I have had since I have been a member of this Parliament. There are, however, some dangers ahead of him in regard to the Kanaka Bill, which can be referred to at the proper time. The honorable member for Wentworth fails to see any difference between slavery on the part of a kanaka and slavery on the part of any other black man. It does not matter twopence to me whether a man is a white or a black alien ; if he is to be brought here under the bonds of slavery, we do not want him. That is why I am pleased that the Prime Minister has introduced this Bill in its present form. In the great Queensland shearing strike of 1891 the pastoralists talked about bringing men from Europe if they could not get a sufficient number of scabs from New South Wales and Victoria. They said that they would charter their own ships and bring men from Europe, in order to defeat the strikers. That is one of the reasons why we should have this clause inserted in the Bill. No one would fight for the European foreigner more than I would, so long as he came here under legitimate conditions, and was willing to take rank with us as a white nian and enjoy the same industrial privileges as we possess.
– And honour our institutions ?
– Yes ; instead of endeavouring to down us. The honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, referred to people who in the early days came to this country without means. I was among the number who landed in Queensland without a “bob.” The Bill, however, is not aimed at people who are willing to work under the same conditions as the rest of the white men of Australia. Every one knows the difficulties and dangers ahead of this measure, and I think that half a loaf is bettor than none. If we find that this Bill is not efficient it will rest with ourselves to make it efficient. It rests with this Parliament to make it operative if we find that as it stands it would not be operative, and I am sure that there is sufficient intelligence - if not, as some honorable members think, on the Government side of the House, at least on the Opposition side - to do that.
– The country did not think so at the last general election.
– Another general election” might alter the position.
– But we do not hanker after another general election.
– I do not know that, but some honorable members seem to stick pretty tight whether they are anchored or not. The honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, expressed the opinion that there was not much danger at present. If he would only go to Queensland he would see the danger. It is to be seen there in the light of day. We cannot hide it in Queensland as they do in Melbourne.
– I was not referring to kanakas.
– - But it is the alien that is the trouble. The kanaka is not the real danger. How would the honorable and learned member like to be nominated for a seat on the hospital committee - just as in a case which occurred at Thursday Island - and to be downed in the election by Japanese? That is the position. The Japanese are practically acquiring the ownership of the whole of northern Queensland. They are going on inch by inch, and retaining their hold, simply because the white man leaves it to them. Then the planters say that there is no white labour available. Why is that ? Simply because there is no labour for the white man to stop for. Therefore, there is the same old cry, “ Go west, young man, go west;” and out west the young men go. The Japanese and other eastern races, however, are following them there. They have gone out west as storekeepers. One honorable member said he was very pleased to see that the interests represented by the honorable member for Wentworth were coming round to the cry for a white Australia. They are coming round because it is affecting their own pockets. These coloured aliens are entering into competition with them. They are opening up stores in towns in Western Queensland. They have their own merchants on the coast, and they deal exclusively with one another. That is why the interests referred to wish to see them done away with. I am anxious to do all that I can to get rid of these aliens and keep our race pure. Every man knows what happens when coloured races get in among us. They at once bring the white races down to their level, instead of rising to the level of the whites. Those who do raise themselves to the level of the whites get as cunning as foxes, and, notwithstanding our laws and our detective skill, they beat us at every turn. For that reason, if for no other, I would assist any one, no matter what his political opinions were, to rid Australia of the curse. What do we find as to their vile eastern diseases? Who brought the plague to Australia? Did it not come from the eastern countries ? And where did the leprosy come from ? If honorable members would only pay a visit to the Queensland lazarettes the opinion would no longer be expressed that the time is not opportune for dealing with this subject. I have seen a little boy who was going to school at Brisbane taken away from his parents and sent down to a lazarette. Do honorable members think that the mother and father of that boy had not the same feelings towards him as I have for mine, or as other honorable members have for their little ones? What would be the feelings of honorable members if such a thing happened to them? Let them picture the misery of it to themselves ; take it to their own breasts and see how they would feel. In South Brisbane there was a married man taken from his wife and family to a lazarette. He was put away, not for his own benefit, but to protect us. He was taken there to protect the rest of the populace. He’ was ostracised, away from his wife and family, and from his home surroundings, for our benefit ; to keep us clean ! Who brought this disease to Australia ? The vile eastern races, which I am pleased to say the Barton Government is going to keep out. These are some of the evils that follow in the train of the Asiatic. There are many more. What do we find in regard to the docile Indian - the British subject - about whom some honorable members were screaming just now ? What good is the Indian ? He eats a bit of rice and robs the wife’s hen roost. He will not eat meat killed for him by other people. He kills his own and does well.. He eats poultry while his fellow-worker has to live on corn-beef and damper. We all know what capital is. It wants the cheapest labour it can possibly get. During my election tour in Queensland I saw a contract called for clearing between Bundaberg and Gladstone, in the honorable member for Wide Bay’s district. The price offered was so low that no white man would take it. The consequence was that a sparkling subadur went up with a new shipment of Hindoos - full-blooded bucks from Bombay - who took the contract at one-twentieth of the lowest rate for which a white man could do the work. That is another reason why we desire to get rid of these aliens. They not only enter into competition with the white worker, but with the white storekeeper, and it is because of that fact that we polled such a solid vote in Queensland for a white Australia. Every one knows the danger, but it is a most peculiar thing that some very “toffy” gentlemen voted for labour members.. If they had not done so the labour men would not have been here. We have only to analyze the voting in order to prove where the vote for a white Australia came from. Any man who expressed the opinion that coloured labour was good for anything went down. The whole of Queensland wants a white Australia. There is yet another phase of the question. In going through the lunatic asylums and benevolent institutions of Queensland I have been struck by the enormous number of alien inmates. Certain people brought these aliens here to do their dirty work and the general taxpayers are called upon to maintain them while they are in these institutions. That, again, is another reason why we should get rid of them. The lunatic and benevolent asylums as well as the hospitals are chock full of them.
– And the gaols.
– Yes, and the gaols have a good many. I do not care how we get rid of these men, but the Government are going to have my firm support in making this country white. If some honorable members were to visit the sugar plantations quietly and take stock of the Japanese Javanese, and Chinese there they would have their eyes opened. They would find things very different to what they were when the people knew that they were going up there.
– They were bad enough when we were there.
– I do not think that is a fair suggestion.
– Let the honorable member put on a pair of moleskin trousers, place a swag on his back, and come with me to Queensland, and I will show him something that he has never seen before.
– Catch the honorable member trying it.
– I will undertake to show the honorable member a phase of this question that he has never seen or thought of before. Many honorable members are acquainted with Mr. Swallow, of Messrs. Swallow and Ariel, who formerly owned the Hambledon plantation at Cairns. Mr. Swallow was banquetted at Cairns upon his departure from that district, and gave his views on the employment of alien labour on plantations. I have a newspaper extract which I should like to read to the House, showing the opinion which he expressed in regard to the coloured labour question. The extract is as follows : -
In view of the prominence given to the black labour question in the federal campaign (says the *Newcastle Herald)** the following opinion from a North Queensland sugar-grower of wide experience is of more than usual interest. Mr . Swallow, who has cultivated sugar with kanakas, Japanese, and Javanese in the Cairns district, says: - “We all know that without reliable labour the sugar industry in North Queensland must cease, and that the millions of pounds invested in the industry must be lost. Now, let me utter one word of warning to you before I leave. Never, on any account, be tempted to introduce Japanese labour. I have carefully watched the men whom I brought from Japan as an experiment, and I tell you emphatically that if you do obtain Japanese labour you will regret it only once, and that will be all your life. The Japanese is too clever, too adaptive, and too patient, and I don’t care what business you are engaged in, you will soon find your erstwhile employe a formidable competitor, so formidable indeed that you will stand no chance against him. Let me give you an example. One of our Japanese mill hands asked me if he could have a log of wood from the firewood heap. I told him to take the log and then watched to see what he would do with it. With an old hand-saw he ripped that log up into planks, smoothed them, and before the week was out he had in his spare time and with the most primitive of tools turned the rough bit of firewood into one of the prettiest little cabinets which I ever saw. The finish was perfect, and not a single nail had been used in its construction.” Whether the industry can be carried on without black labour is a debatable question, but the danger of Japanese as competitors in the labour market is beyond controversy.
That is the opinion held by Mr. Swallow. It is not the wild dream of a labour agitator,but the practical opinion of a planter, and it constitutes one of my principal reasons for supporting the Barton Government in this attempt to secure a white Australia. What I desire to show is that these aliens do not confine themselves to the occupations which they caine here to follow, but as soon as they get enough money they start out on their own account. In my travels, which have been pretty varied, I have noticed some of these men on their arrival in Brisbane. Twelve months afterwards I have met them out west, travelling along the railway lines with packs, selling all sorts of articles of clothing, entirely of Indian manufacture. These articles are, we know, made by the cheapest and most servile class of labour that it is possible to get. Two or three months later on the same men may be seen with packhorses and packs, and they are not then satisfied with keeping to the railway lines, ( but strike out to the small settlements and the bushmen’s homes on the stations. They do not remain at “this stage very long, but a few months later will have spring carts, and will visit the shearing sheds. These hawkers do not buy their goods from the white storekeepers, but deal with their own countrymen at the various seaports. When they go down to these centres they inhabit certain quarters of the towns, and as every one else gives way to them, property goes down in value, and they are left to their own sweet will. This is why there is such an outcry for a white Australia from the middle classes. The only way to induce this class of people to take the proper democratic view is to touch their pockets, for immediately they feel a grievance they seek redress. In several of the towns out west in Queensland the Hindoos have established themselves, sold their goods at prices below those at which the white trader could obtain them, and have practically hounded the white storekeepers out of the place. Some people might say that this is the fault of the white people who, proceeding on freetrade principles, buy in the cheapest market ; and I am sorry to have to admit that by adopting these principles we are cutting our own throats. We know very well that a number of these so-called British subjects who come to Queensland can both talk and write English exceedingly well, and a Bill such as that now framed will not keep them out of Australia. But it will keep out the pioneers, who come here in ship loads, and pave the way for the operations of the merchants. Speaking of the alien in his moral aspect, no doubt honorable members know that there are Japanese houses of assignation throughout the length and breadth of Queensland, and I am sorry to say that the Cairns municipal council decided by a large majority that such houses should be permitted to exist within their borders, on the ground that if they were done awa.y with, white women would not be able to walk about Cairns in safety. That is both a lie and a libel upon Queensland, because it is only necessary to refer to the statistics in order to see that white women are just as safe and are just as free to travel about in Queensland as in any other part of Australia. In Western Queensland women can go from one town to another, distances of 70 or 80 miles, and can camp out at night without being subject to any interference, and in fact if there are any bushmen about they not only do their best to assist such women, but will always protect them. I contend that there is no’ ground whatever for assuming such an attitude as that described, and whilst we have men in public positions who are ready to make such excuses for the introduction of coloured aliens and for countenancing their immorality, I think it is the more necessary that we, as a Commonwealth, should deal with the matter speedily and effectively.
– The Cairns people say that so long as the kanaka is there the white women are not safe.
– That may be true, but the kanaka is not so bad as many of the other races. In some of the western towns of Queensland, one can see people of all colours - black, brown, brindle, tawny, and all sorts of shades - and it is impossible to tell what race they belong to, but they are not kanakas. So far as the Hindoos in Natal are concerned, I have had a little experience of them. I saw them there in 1879-80, when they were being brought in in ship-loads. It was not because there was any scarcity of labour, but because the Kaffir would not work for the wages that were offered on the sugar plantations of the lower Tugela River. These Hindoos came in at such a rate that the Government did not know what to do. At first they fostered these men and engaged them on the railways, where they held every position but those of engine-drivers, guards, or stationmasters; but the day of retribution was not very far off, and the Government were very sorry, before they introduced the Immigration Restriction Act, that they had had anything at all to do with them. We do not want to repeat the experience of Natal. We can see what is going on here in the absence of the necessary restrictive legislation in this direction, because we are now having Afghans dumped upon our shores. These men, after landing in Victoria and finding that there is no employment for them here, will make their way into Queensland, where they will be welcomed with open arms. If some honorable members would only read the unbiassed reports that have recently been published in the Melbourne Herald, upon the conditions surrounding the sugar industry in Queensland, and see the light that is thrown upon the alien question in all its worst phases, they would have no hesitation whatever in voting in favour of keeping this
Commonwealth white. The desirability - the necessity - of a white Australia is one of the principal planks in our political platform in Queensland, and we started out on the hustings to stand or fall upon this question. I think it was the honorable member for Parkes who suggested that we should have a Royal commission appointed to inquire into the whole matter, but I would ask what better Royal commission we could have than the referendum vote that was given in Queensland on 30th March last. The answer given was most emphatic, not only by the block vote of the whole colony in connexion with the Senate elections, but also by the divisional votes recorded in the election of members to the House of Representatives. The sugar districts from Carpentaria to Rockhampton returned Mr. Bamford as a strong antiblack labour man. He told them straight out what he meant to do, and the man who opposed him, who was in favour of retaining black labour, was rejected. Coming down the coast, we have the honorable member for Wide Bay, who is another labour man, and in every case the opinion of the people has been most emphatically voiced in favour of the exclusion of black labour. In connexion with the Senate elections three labour men topped the poll, and if that result is not sufficiently emphatic I do not know what is wanted. lam very gratified that the Prime Minister has grappled with this subject in spite of all opposition. I know as well as a good many honorable members that the wires have been pulled for all they are worth to try and get the Prime Minister to trim on this subject, but I thank God that he has remained firm and that he is going to help us to fight for a white Australia.
– My honorable friend who has just sat down - and I hope he will allow me to call him my friend in the truest sense - has a robust and direct manner which has secured for him the respect and admiration of the House, and we know that at all times he speaks with true sincerity and with very full information. He has done me the honour to challenge me to an undertaking which I trust we may be able to enter upon some day. The honorable member has made a direct, straightforward speech, in which he has strongly emphasized one point which impressed me on the occasion of my recent short visit to Queensland - that is, that the primary and the principal danger to be feared in connexion with alien immigration is to be looked for from the Japanese and Chinese and other similar races, and not from the kanaka. The latter may constitute a big danger, but it is a manageable danger. The other is a danger which is insidiously growing into the life of northern Queensland, and which will have to be dealt with cautiously, but drastically, and, I hope, thoroughly. I am one who appreciates, as I am perfectly sure every other honorable member appreciates, the magnitudeof the consequences which underlie the operation of this measure should it become law. The possibility of complications is very great, and I sympathize entirely with the Government in the course they have proposed, although, as I interjected earlier in the day, I believe in straight-out issues, without subterfuge of any nature whatever, being placed in measures which come before us. I was therefore pleased to hear the words which fell from the acting leader of the Opposition, though they showed a somewhat novel departure in one who is usually so judicial in his utterances, and one who is fully aware of the difficulties which surround the situation, but if the Government will adhere to the educational test as the one which they believe to be the best under the circumstances, I for one shall support them in the endeavour to carry that principle through.
– We want a Ministerial declaration on that point.
– You can have it now : the Government will stick to the Bill.
– I do not think there is a single member of the House who will venture to say for a moment that legislation of this character is not an absolute and urgent necessity. Every one of us, I believe, came to this House more or less pledged to see that aliens are not introduced and absorbed into our race in Australia. I have heard an expression of opinion that there is no immediate danger - that the danger is to a large extent in the future. But the power to restrict is lessened by delay; and we must look to the development which has taken place in Japan. Some of us have quite recently visited that country, and we know that Japan is rapidly coming into a foremost position, and will in a few years have a naval equipment equal possibly to that of first-class nations ; at any rate, her energies are being so directed. China also, I believe, is going to learn a lesson from the adversity through which she has recently passed in the occupation of her territory by foreign nations. I believe that danger will menace Australia in the future. What is the British hold on India 1 It is the respect and veneration there felt for the administration of the British Government ; and if that respect be removed, I venture to believe there may exist another menace to Australia. These are the three great points from which the northern shores of this great island continent may be attacked ; and consequently we ought to consider seriously whether, by taking any adverse, imprudent, or incautious step to-day, we may not be leaving to our children in years to come the question, not of whether they are to have a white Australia, but of whether they are to own the soil upon which their fathers worked.
– We will take the risk.
– The honorable member suggests that we should take the risk ; but I ask if he has read the literature on the subject, which indicates that the Yellow Danger will be one of the most pressing in the future. History has shown how those alien races can come down and absorb other nations. We hear men talking in the lightest way about our ties with, and our need of support from the British Government. Where, in the name of all that is good and true, should we be in the face of these menaces at our northern shores, if we had not the British Government to fall back on 1
– We should be a great nation !
– We may imagine ourselves, and I hope we are, a great nation; but, considering bur enormous territory, we require a great many more millions of people here, before we can hope to effectively protect our coast-line. I have indicated that I appreciate the difficulties which face the Government in their desire to do what is reasonably right, and what they have justification for expecting the British Government will accept. I am the last to suggest that, so far as the internal management of our own affairs is concerned, we should ever place ourselves in such a position that we need hesitate as to our course of action. But when we come to great- national interests, and consider our association with the mother land, with Canada, South Africa, and other British possessions, surely we must not inflate ourselves with too large ideas of our own importance, without considering, however great we are to be, that we still depend, not only on the moral support, but on the material support of the mother country. Reference has been made to the health conditions under which people live in North Queensland. I made it my business when I was there, and by means of communications since, to ascertain what these conditions really are. I am informed that the health conditions above a certain line are such that children born there of parents who are engaged in ordinary work - and I think the honorable member for Maranoa will support me - are not anything like so strong as the children born in cooler latitudes.
– I question that.
– I have the evidence of medical men, and particularly of one medical man, who speaks with authority on the subject, and who is absolutely opposed to the introduction of this alien labour. His idea is that a race of Australians, if forced to do heavy work under the climatic conditions which prevail in Northern Queensland, will breed children who, in a large percentage of cases, will Iia ve ailments incidental to tropical regions ; and, further, that if there be a continuance of this work the third generation will not breed at all. I saw children suffering from anaemia and other illnesses incidental to such climates, and I take it - although I know the honorable member for Maranoa looks at this from a different point of view - that if the work these men have to do be increased the evil I have indicated will also be increased. This is a wide subject, and I only want to emphasize one point, which I will deal with at greater length probably when the Pacific Islands Labourers Bill is before us, namely, that the Pacific Islanders are a manageable quantity, and the lesser of two evils. While .desirous of seeing adopted the direct method suggested by the honorable member for Wentworth, I can understand that the difficulty would be great in passing such a measure into law, and my intention is to support the Government as the matter stands at present. The honorable member for Maranoa, who is always direct, and, I believe, is always just, made reference to the Hambleton plantation. A most honorable and skilled gentleman is in charge of that plantation, and to suggestthat he or the company he represents, would wilfully lead visitors to suppose that thereis a condition of things which does not in reality exist, is, I am sure the honorable* member will admit, most unfair. On the contrary, the conditions of labour and thearrangements at that mill are such that itwould be impossible to re-adjust them simply because some visitors were coming. Itwould dislocate the whole of the company’sarrangements ; and I may here say that I made a personal examination in order tosatisfy myself as to the conditions underwhich the kanakas there live.
– Let us both go there nextweek.
– We can arrange to go assoon as the session is over.
– No; let us go before the* session is over.
– We must do our duty and. remain here. I did observe that there= were Japanese engaged at that mill, who in my judgment were doing work which could have been effectively done without any detriment to their health by whitemen. There is a class of labour in thatcountry which the white man cannot do if he is to sustain his fibre and strength, but. there is another class of work, however, which is performed by Japanese, Chinese, and Hindoos, and which I think ought tobe done by white men. At the same time I do not admit that any alien can dowork which the Britisher cannot do. At the present time I am engaged in the construction of smelting furnaces in that verydistrict, and in the hottest part of that area, and that is work which white men mayvery well undertake.
– Yes; because they are well, paid for it.
– There may be somethingin that. I have always contended thatevery man ought to receive a proper reward for his services, and he ought to be employed under conditions which are not detrimental to his health. But there are conditions in Northern Queensland under which, if a white man does heavy work, he does irreparable harm not only to himself but to the race, because his children degenerate, so that in the third generation they will not reproduce at all. I realizethe difficulty in which the Government find themselves, and trust that the House will see that, though the Bill may not represent the whole loaf,’ it is a very substantial instalment. By all means let us accept it, and help the Government to deal with this very difficult question.
-I could not help thinking in listening to this debate how very quickly public opinion has advanced upon this subject within the last few years. I have just been thinking that it was within these very walls that the late Professor Pearson uttered those words of warning, that were hardly regarded at the time, but which he afterwards reiterated in his very interesting work, Rational Life and Character, which have attracted the attention of statesmen in all parts of the world. I have a vote for the district which my honorable friend, the last speaker, represents, and perhaps it is appropriate that, following upon his heels, I should indicate that I am watching him. The honorable member puts his points clearly, honestly, and straightforwardly, and no man can mistake what he means. If Australia has any national question, this is it. 1 recollect a passage from Froude’s Oceana, of which I was reminded when I heard the eloquent speech of the honorable member for Maranoa. I looked it up, and I find that Froude prophesied that, because Australia has no national question, we shall have no men of first-class distinction. He says -
Wo have our national concerns to look after and our national risks to run, and therefore our thoughts and anxieties are enlarged. They have none of those interests; their situation does not allow it. They will have good lawyers among them, good doctors, good men of science, engineers, merchants, manufacturers, as the Romans had in the decline of the Empire. But of the heroic type of man, of whom poets will sing and after ages be anxious to read, there will not be so many, when the generation is gone which was born and bred in the old world. Such men are not wanted, and would have no work cut out for them.
The speech of the honorable member for Maranoa, has convinced me that there is still room for great and heroic characters within the bounds of Australia. I sincerely hope that as he has been in the old country, and has been convinced by his experience here of the need there is for legislation of this character, he will be able to transmit to his descendants to all generations the importance of keeping Australia for the white people. I hope that no. attempt will be 14 a 2 made to make party capital out of this matter. There have been some indications in that direction. I am proud to see that all parts of the House seem to concur in the view that we should try to keep this continent, which is almost the only temperate part of the world that is available for settlement, exclusively for the white races. The Government are to be congratulated upon their promptitude in bringing forward this measure. Though I differ from them as to the particular means to be adopted for accomplishing our object, I must say that they have acted in a laudable manner in endeavouring to lessen the difficulties which confront the Home authorities in the settlement of this important question. The Home authorities have their difficulties. I am quite sure that no honorable member wishes to increase them. At the same time, looking ahead, I do think that we shall create more difficulties not only for ourselves, but for the Imperial authorities, if these undesirable immigrants once get a footing in large numbers within our bound? aries, than if we keep them without our boundaries.
– We can keep them without our boundaries under this Bill as it stands.
– I am quite sure that every one will credit the Prime Minister with the best determination to keep Australia white in accordance with his promise. A Bill of this sort was before the Victorian Parliament a few years ago, and on that occasion I resented the tortuous, indirect manner in which the Colonial-office dictated to the colonies in the past the direction in which they should carry this legislation. We were told then that Victoria could not pass a law of this sort. There is some force in that objection. By herself Victoria would not have sufficient weight to legislate against the influx of Asiatics. But what about the Federal Parliament ? Is the Federal Parliament to be still in leading strings, as the different State Parliaments were? Are we to be hampered and told from another part of the world what is best for us, and what are to be our interests ? I want to know where we are. At the very start of our federal history i wish to know exactly how far we have our liberties. This is the best test that we can possibly have. Are we to be treated as schoolboys or men ? Are we to look after the interests of Australia, or to subordinate those interests to the interests of the old country ? I do not believe that in the mother country they will ever refuse to sanction the enactment of legislation which is put in the direct form in which the amendment proposes to put this legislation. Probably honorable members have heard of the story of little Lord John Russell. Sixty years ago the coast of Australia was not so well defined by the British authorities as it is now. At that time, when there was no Sir John Forrest to monopolize and appropriate all Western Australia, which is onethird of the continent, the story was told that the French Government wished to get a foothold in Australia. The Ambassador of France in London was instructed to call on the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Russell, and to ask him which part of Australia it was that England claimed. The Ambassador saw Lord John Russell, who was a little man. In the room were a stool and a long ruler. Lord John Russell, in answer to the question put to him, mounted the stool and drew the ruler right round the map of Australia. “That, sir,” he said, “is what England claims.” If the British Ministry in those times refused to allow even the Frenchmen, with their genius and with their high ideals of civilization, to appropriate part of Australia, we are equally justified in refusing to allow Asiatics to invade our shores.
– There is no comparison between the two cases.
– I will give the honorable member another instance then. The Marquis of Salisbury, who is the leader of the Conservative party in the House of Lords, has within the past three years assented to the principle which we are now trying to establish. I have here the debates which toot place in the Imperial Parliament in 1898. Of course no one will attempt to press the analogy to the extreme with regard to Lord John Russell and the Frenchman. But I wish to point out that the very principle we are asking for was affirmed by the House of Lords, although the Bill containing it was not proceeded with in the House of Commons owing to lack of time. On 23rd May, 1898, the Earl of Hardwicke brought in a Bill for the exclusion of undesirable aliens. It was carefully debated, and the Marquis of Salisbury spoke in favour of it. As usual, the Marquis of Salisbury gave as his reason I for doing so the narrow view that the unrestricted admission of aliens threw more burdens upon those who have to pay the rates. Of course he always looks after the ratepayer particularly. In the speech in which the Bill was introduced it was shown that in England undesirable aliens, such as Polish Jews, were increasing in number each year. The honorable member for Parramatta informs me that if they had in England the same proportion of aliens that we have here, they would have a million. I find, here, that when in 1898 they discovered that they were adding to the number of aliens in England they brought in this Bill to restrict immigration. Lord Hardwicke, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said -
Whereas for six months in 1894 the total was 19,400, or an average of some 3,200 a month, the figures for four months in this year are 14,500 odd, or an average of 3,800 a month, thus showing a monthly increase of over 600 for this year as compared with four years ago.
Therefore, because there was this immigration of aliens into England they chose to bring in the Bill.
– They did not take into account the emigration.
– Oh, yes. I wish the House to understand that these figures arc net. They had a commission in England in 1889, and this commission reported that although the time was not then ripe for such legislation, yet -
In view of the crowded conditions of our great towns, the extreme pressure for existence amongst the poorer part of the population, and the tendency of destitute foreigners to reduce still lower the social and material condition of our own poor, that legislation would be required in a short time. In 1894 it was thought the time had come. Lord Hardwicke does not mince matters ; and I do not mince matters. I am willing to assent to this legislation upon the sole ground - if that were the sole ground - the ground of preventing the lowering of the standard of life. It is to the interests of us all, rich and poor alike, to keep up the standard of life. We cannot attain our best civilization, the best things that human life gives, unless our fellows have them also.
– “ We are every one members, one of another.”
– Lord Hardwicke said -
It lowers the standard of wages, it enhances the standard of rent, and so depresses the standard of life.
In the most conservative assembly in the world that reason was adduced, and why on earth should we not pass this Bill for the same reason. Lord Hardwicke continued -
The first thing, my Lords, that the newlyarrived alien with his wife and family - the alien is usually married - does, is, not unnaturally, to seek a lodgment, and this he must do in a quarter where other aliens are living. He finds every house full - houses always are full in the east end of London - and he thereupon proceeds to offer the landlord a little higher rent than his English tenant is at present paying him.
The noble lord, after referring to the increased and very excessive rents obtained foi- these places, proceeded -
Well, my Lords, to revert to the alien who has just arrived with no means of subsistence, and with his wife and family, he has succeeded in getting a lodging, but how is he to pay the rent ? He must obtain work at any price, even at a rate considerably below the standard current in the district, with the all too probable result of ousting some English labour, and generally lowering the standard. But that is not enough to meet the demands for rent and living. The standard of life also has to be lowered, and the newlyarrived alien is able to live in a way that no English working man or working woman would consider decent. He proceeds to take in lodgers, and rooms - frequently a single room - already overcrowded by the alien and his family, are still more- overcrowded by the inclusion of two, three, and more lodgers.
This brings me to another point. I think that we are free from any race antipathy ; that we feel in regard to these people - whether their skins are black or copper - that if they only had the same standard’ of life which we have, we would be glad to have them by our side. There is no question of racial hatred. The Poles in London are Polish Jews. I have seen them myself in the steerage of a vessel - the most wretched specimens that one could look upon ; wretched and dirty, and bearing traces of small pox and habits of the very worst kind. Lord Hardwicke said -
The feeling is not against the Jew as a Jew ; it is not against the foreigner as a foreigner ; it is. not against the alien because he is an alien. Conversations with any of those people affected - and I have spoken to English Jews who are equally affected - convince one that their complaints are not prompted by any race hatred, but by a sense of personal loss incurred through the habits and actions of a group of people ; and were these people English the feeling would be exactly the same.
The Bill was supported by the secretary of the Board of Trade- (the Earl of Dudley) - who said -
This increased foreign immigration is undesirable both from an economic and social point of view.
It is undesirable economically, because the competition between British workers and workers of this imported type is not an equal one. The latter can live upon a wage, as my noble friend has said, upon which an English workman would starve, and the result, therefore, must be either that the British workers are driven out of those employments which are affected by this competition altogether, or that, in the case of the women workers, they are forced to supplement their earnings from other sources.
Then the Earl of Dudley went on to say that - -
Even the strongest advocates of free- trade would, I should think, hardly contend that freetrade principles should be pushed to the extent of driving certain sections - large sections - of our working classes into pauperism, or worse, and of replacing them by foreigners of a very low and degraded type.
He referred to the American Act, which excludes a man if he is not found upon examination to be physically sound, and even compels such men to be shipped back. Of course the usual arguments were raised against the proposal - arguments such as have been used continually against the Factories Act here - in regard to sweating in the clothing trade, namely, that if it were stopped it would prevent a means of outlet for the woollen manufacturer of England. Lord Herschell said : -
The fact that the clothes are made here has the effect, almost certainly, of causing a larger manufacture in this country of the materials from which the clothes are made, and the materials for example with which the clothes are sewn. If you were to destroy the export trade in readymade clothes the result would be that those engaged in the manufacture of the cloth, &c, would oe seriously affected.
Of course, he was opposing the Bill. The amusing position is that almost all the liberal peers were against the Bill, while the Conservative peers were for it. The Marquis of Salisbury supported it on the ground that the number of those chargeable to the rates was increasing.
– The Conservative Governme t did not push it along.
– The Conservative Government had to go to the country. What legislation has it passed during the last three years *?
– Most of the liberal legislation.
– This is a very large statement, but the fact is that the House of Commons is an unworkable machine and cannot be pushed along. The Marquis of
Salisbury was distinctly in favour of the Bill. He saidIt appears to me that this legislation is wise and desirable and I shall certainly support my noble friend for this reason : that the number is increasing of those chargeable to the rates. The noble and learned lord dwelt very much upon the politico-economical question of whether it would save British workmen from competition. That is an important consideration. It has had its due weight with the advocates of the measure, but it is not the only - I doubt if it is the most important - consideration.
– By what means did Lord Hardwicke propose to carry out his measure ?
– The Bill provided for the appointment of inspectors to prevent people from landing, if they were likely to be chargeable to the rates.
– Was that all ?
– No, that was the most vital principle. Clause 3 of the Bill’ provided that -
Inspectors and medical officers appointed by the Board of Trade, may board any vessel arriving with immigrant passengers at any regulated port; and may inspect the passengers, and any inspector may, subject to, and in accordance with, regulations to be made by the Board of Trade, prohibit the landing of any alien who in his opinion is either an idiot, insane, a person without means of support, or a person likely to become a public charge……..
– Those are all matters that we have in this Bill.
– Mr. Chamberlain said in 1897, that the Natal Act was the best.
– - -There is no provision in the English Bill as to education or as to keeping up racial character.
– It is quite true there is nothing in the Bill as to an educational test, but there was no legislation based on that test until it was suggested by the Colonial-office to the Natal Government. I am sorry it was ever suggested by the Colonial-office. It does not reflect credit upon that office, or upon the Natal Government for adopting it, and I really felt it, very much against my grain, when the matter was discussed in the Victorian Parliament, to be a party to a piece of hypocrisy. As regards the suggestion that the method provided in the Bill prevents difficulties, it seems to me that instead of preventing it creates difficulties, it accentuates and intensifies the difficulties, because as has been said during the debate, the difficulties are a thousand times greater if we have the Japanese and other foreigners within our boundaries than when they are outside our boundaries. I do not like a good deal of the argument which has been used in tins matter with regard to morals. I hope we are not going to indulge in the hypocritical attitude of saying that we are more moral than the Chinese. From accounts received from those who know the Chinese in their own homes, there is no doubt that they are more moral than we are. I want to dissociate myself from the point of view of those who would make out that we are more righteous than our neighbours. The morality of the Chinese is great in their own associations and in their own homes, where they have the traditions of their race and their own families about them. But when they are shifted from their moorings, and come amongst a race different from their civilization, then comes the hotch-potch and the mixture. Have honorable members seen the vices of the mixed races as they appear in San Francisco? I have been through the dens of San Francisco, and of all the sights I have ever seen, I have never witnessed any more degrading or filthy than those.
– Such sights can be seen in Melbourne.
– Nothing so bad. The best part of the city of San Francisco is taken up by the Chinese quarters. They have about 50,000 Chinese there, and it is the peculiar effect of the mixture of the two civilizations which we have to deplore and avoid. I am quite willing to admit that in their own associations the Chinese are as good as we are, but it is only as long as they stay there. It is when they come, not to bring family life with them, but when they come chiefly in large numbers of males into a country, where they seek gold by hook or by crook, that the dangers of contamination and evil are very great indeed. I shall not occupy the attention of honorable members very long, because in these second reading speeches, when I see that the House is really of one mind in regard to the main object, and that it is a mere question of detail as to the way in which the object is to be attained, I do not think there is any occasion for long speeches. I think this is a critical time, and we ought to act at once.
– No sitting on a rail.
– Exactly. If honorable members look at the geographical position of Australia, they will see that we are just near the centre of disturbance in the world. The principal bone of contention will be around about the east coast of China for many years to come, and we cannot afford to look on complacently. The fact is that the European powers are, for their own purposes, stirring up a beehive in China, and when that beehive is thoroughly stirred the bees will come out and we shall be stung. It is a very cheap and a very easy thing for the European nations to stir up matters on the east coast of Asia, because they will not feel the effects. But as soon as that great swarm of bees begin to move it will first of all move here, as this i3 the place of all others to which it is likely to come. Those Chinese who have come here have carried back with them the information that Australia is a good country, that they are able to get plenty of good land and to live in peace - as long as the larrikins will allow them- - and that they are able to carry on trade, and unless we put some restriction upon them they are bound to come here in very large numbers. It is not only in China, but also in India, that the people are beginning to acquire new notions. When was in India a few years ago I was told by one of the Rajahs that if they travelled over the dark waters they would, in the next transmigration of souls, become asses, and they did not want that to happen. However, I believe these ideas are gradually being broken down, and we have to fear an influx from all the eastern countries. I Want to prevent the Empire from being dragged into complications arising out of this coloured race question, and it is because of that that I desire to see steps taken speedily for the purpose of preventing these people from coming to our shores. The honorable member for Kooyong referred to the unsuitability of the climate in the northern part of Australia to the constitution of our white people. I understand that the honorable member thinks it will be impossible to develop the north of Australia, except by means of coloured labour. I think it always wise to treat one’s opponent’s arguments in their strongest and best light, and in a full and fair way; and I think there is the strongest evidence that, just as in India, we cannot expect children to be so healthy in the northern parts of Australia as if they were brought up in more temperate climates. I will assume that the northern Australia will be totally unfit for white men to settle in. That is, perhaps, going too far, but I would sooner see northern Australia unused and undeveloped for a generation or two than have it peopled with Asiatics.
– The unsuitability of the climate in northern Australia for white labour only applies to those following agricultural pursuits.
– Perhaps so, but I say that even at the very worst, if it means that we are to leave that part of Australia undeveloped for a time, and confine our exertions to the development of the rest of the continent, that consequence should be faced with complacency for the present. The difficulty is to get rid of these people if we once allow them to obtain a footing on our shores. We have only to look at the great difficulty which is being experienced in America in connexion with the greatest racial trouble ever known in the history of the world, in order to take warning and guard ourselves against similar complications. I have not lost faith in the inventive powers of our race. I do not think we have come to the end of our inventiveness or resource, .and my experience is that when a want is felt, the inventive faculty is exercised to meet the difficulty. If there is gold to be won in northern Australia, or if there are desirable lands to be cultivated, no matter what the difficulties may be, they will be met by the resources of civilization, and the northern part of Australia will be developed in all good time.
– Look at the search for gold that is being carried on in New Guinea at the present time.
– Yes. There is a case in which gold is being won in a place that is most unhealthy and which is infested with savage cannibal tribes. White humanity will go anywhere for gold - men will go to the poles and endure the utmost privations, and they will equally go to the tropical regions and face disease and even death. The only question that remains for us to consider is the method by which we are to achieve our object. The Government have proposed a method which - without any offence to the Government, because I quite understand their reasons, which are very laudable - I call the hypocritical method of requiring intending immigrants to subject themselves to an educational test, about which we care nothing. The other suggestion is that of the honorable member for Bland, that we shall have no African or other aboriginal natives introduced here. I am not wedded to any particular form of -words, but I think that even the honorable member’s words must be altered to some extent. The question is which of these two methods we ought to adopt, and I have no hesitation in expressing my preference for the direct method. I say that, not only because it is direct, but because at the beginning of this Federal Parliament it is very important for us to know exactly where we are. I wish to know whether this Federal Parliament is to be dictated to, in the legislation which it desires to pass in the interests of the people, by any authority outside, because if it is it is important that we should know it. lt is possible that, ignoring the precedent set by the 1898 Bill and the speeches made by the members of the present Ministry in England, the Colonial-office will put its foot down and not allow this measure to go through. Although such a result is not likely, I should prefer to see even that occur rather than that there should be any doubt attached to our position. I think we should speak out plainly to the Imperial authorities, and that they should act straightforwardly towards us. One of the difficulties we had in the Victorian Assembly was that we were always told not to pass certain Bills in a certain form because they would be thrown out in another place. We had that sort of thing here ad nauseam; but I think it is our duty to legislate to the best of our judgment, and then if our action is not to be supported, the responsibility will not rest on us. I should, however, be sorry to think that the Acts which are passed in our first session would meet with the disapprobation of His Most Gracious Majesty the King, on the advice of any Ministry, and I hope the Government will give their supporters a free hand with regard to the method to be adopted in achieving the object which this Bill has in view. I feel that the whole House appreciates the honesty of intention with which the Bill has been brought in, but Australians, with all their faults, are straight, and as they have spoken out plainly and indicated what they want in this matter, we should adopt what we think is the most effective means of accomplishing their wishes and allow the responsibility of thwarting us to rest with those who may be prepared to take it.
– I have no desire to enter into a general discussion of this question, and my remarks will be brief. The honorable member for Maranoa was pleased to make a somewhat personal attack on me as being an enemy of a whiteAustralia, but I beg to tell the honorable member that I am as warm a friend of a white Australia as any honorable member here. I regard a general discussion of this question as almost useless, because I am perfectly sure that there is no representative in this Chamber who would dare to rise up and express himself as opposed to the idea of a white Australia. The people of the Commonwealth have pronounced for a white Australia, and I am here to give my utmost support to the effort of the Government to attain that object. The whole question appears to me to be one of method, and I think the debate might very well be confined to the discussion of the best means of effecting our object. The Bill presents one method which, although it is very cumbersome, would arrive at the object of excluding coloured people from settling upon this continent. At the same time, it would exclude those of my Own countrymen who cannot talk English, but whose mother tongue Ls Gaelic. We are, however, told that it is not intended to have that effect, but that the only way in which we can achieve our purpose is by a roundabout course. The difficulty I have mentioned could be got over by requiring intending immigrants to write out a sentence of any European language instead of a sentence in English, and I hope the Government will consent to such an alteration. The other method suggested is the straightforward one proposed by the honorable member for Bland, which commends itself to my judgment; - so far as I may regard myself as free to follow the plan that I should prefer. The question is whether we are free to vote for the straightforward method proposed by the honorable member when we remember the speech made by the Prime Minister, in which he informed us in very plain terms that the method proposed by the Government was about the only possible way wo had of accomplishing the common purpose we have in view. If the Prime Minister will still state to the House that the method proposed by the Government is the only possible way, I shall be compelled to stand by the Government.
– How can he say that until we try ?
– The Prime Minister quoted from a despatch from the Secretary of State for the .Colonies to the effect that this was practically the only way, owing to the complications which might arise between the British Government and the outside world. No doubt the Prime Minister is in possession of confidential information which has tended to force the Government to adopt this roundabout method - because we must confess it is a roundabout method - of achieving the purpose.
– That argument has been used against every Bill dealing with the alien question.
– My instincts are all for the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Bland, but if responsible Ministers tell us that such an amendment would bring about complications, and render our purpose impossible of achievement, and if that purpose can be achieved by a roundabout method, with such an amendment as I have suggested, why should I not, in my desire for a white Australia, take that which, although it does not appear to be the best method on the face of it, is the only practical way of accomplishing what the democracy of this country demands ?
– Do you really think an educational test will keep aliens out ?
– The educational test would not keep aliens out entirely. I am perfectly well aware that English is being taught in nearly all the schools in Japan, because I have been there and have seen very intelligent pupils going through their lessons. One of the greatest difficulties I see is that the educational test alone is not likely to keep out the Japanese, who will very soon be able to meet in large numbers any test of the kind.
– Should we be in any better position if all the aliens that came here were educated, seeing that the question we are concerned with is the mixture of races?
– I do not think much of the educational test, which is simply a means to an end, and is a fraud in a way. But responsible Ministers, having carefully considered the best means of meeting the wishes of the people, have adopted this particular plan, clumsy, fraudulent, and absurd as it may be ; and if we cannot get the straightforward method of accomplishing the purpose, I, with great regret, shall be compelled to vote for the indirect method. It must be evident to the Government, however, that we prefer the direct and straightforward way of accomplishing the purpose, and the Government might yield to the sense of Parliament, and allow us to pass a measure of the kind, and chance its being rejected by the Imperial Government. But if the Government will assure me that they intend to stand to their proposals, as the only method of achieving the purpose, I shall feel myself bound to give them my support.
-I think I shall be able to convince the House in my speech in reply that this is the only effective means of achieving the purpose.
– If the Prime Minister says that this is the only effective means, I, as a practical man, although I do not like the method, will take what I can get.
– I would suggest that the speech of the Prime Minister be made early in the debate, so that we may know what we have to fight.
– I cannot speak in reply until the debate is closed.
– The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne suggested that we should adopt the straightforward ‘course, and send the Bill for the Imperial acceptance. But after the plain declaration from the Prime Minister, with all his knowledge and confidential information, that would be to invite a refusal. Is the Commonwealth Parliament to go out of its way to create a crisis between us and the Imperial authorities? I have felt some difficulty about the matter, but in my humble judgment it appears to be my duty to do all I can to avoid a crisis with the Imperial authorities.’ Certain members of the House, it would appear, would not be averse to inviting a crisis of the kind, and so wing distrust in connexion with the Imperial Government, but the Prime Minister having stated that this proposal is the only practical way, I feel it my duty to support the Government, although I regret that we should be forced to such a crooked course.
– I may not have an opportunity of speaking on this subject in this House for some time to come, but, like other members, I was returned here after expressing very warmly my opinions on this prominent question. I hope the Government will not hesitate about accepting the direct method of dealing with this matter.For a number of years I have had very strong feelings as to what I hope to see our Australian people, and I always have a strong feeling when I see our mother country becoming involved in wars with other countries. I do not know why there should be this great desire to invade and get possession of the lands of other countries when we have such vast territories in our own States, unoccupied and unused. I desire to see the Government of the Commonwealth, with all the force and power at their disposal, enforce the principle of keeping Englishspeaking possessions for English-speaking people, and encourage and allow every other nation to have their own land, laws, and rights. I have travelled about the world a good deal, and I have found that some of the most intelligent men, so far as languages are concerned, were probably Nubians, and native guides. I look on the educational test as a perfect farce. Australia might be populated with aliens if only that test were to be applied. The honorable member for Maranoa said that it was difficult, or impossible, for Australian workmen to compete with Japanese, because of the fine work, the system of living, and the wages of the latter. I go further than the honorable member, and would not only not allow aliens the opportunityof competing here, but if cheap labour is employed in producing goods manufactured in other countries and sent here, I would impose taxation so as to make them taxpayers in the country in which they are going to sell their wares, just as I would tax the producer in this country, who has to depend on the same market. There is growing up in our inland towns a system of Chinese storekeeping, and in Sydney, to a large extent, Italians have taken possession of all the fruit shops. We daily see Australian men giving way to these newcomers, and becoming, I regret to say, in many instances dependents on the State. I would like to see, as far as possible, Australia kept for the Australian and English-speaking race, and I would give similar rights to every other nation in regard to their lands. I like to see every class, every religion, every nationality growing up in its proper place, and each protecting its own rights and interests. I shall not live long enough, but those who come after me will see an Australian race, in the making of which a great deal will depend on this Parliament. I attach a great deal more importance to the alien who comes here as a resident to live with his wife and to bring up his family, than I do to the passing casual labourer. If we are to have an Australian people, we cannot allow a system of intermarriage with coloured foreign races ; and if I were the power that be, I would not hesitate to say that Australia should be kept for a white race. I would encourage trade between all the different countries.
– That is free- trade.
– Yes ; but where foreign people who trade with us are not taxpayers to our Government, I should make them pay certain taxes before they got the market.
– That is protection?
– The man outside pays the tax, I suppose?
– I do not care what it is called. Probably to some extent it may be a revenue tax, but at the same time it mightencouragetheemployment of ourown people. I do not want any taxes very high, and I have never said I did. But my feeling is more in regard to the question of race. I should like to see the Australian people constitute the noblest and ablest race upon this sphere. What the race is to be will depend to a large extent upon our system of education, upon the legislation that is enacted, and upon the provision made for the comfort and well-being of the people. I rejoice that during the period in which I have been in public life I have consistently voted for any legislation which I thought would raise the conditions of living for the masses of the people.I go still further, and advocate the exclusion from these shores of coloured aliens because their aspirations are impaired by traditional and hereditary bondage. There is no affinity between these people and Australians, and there never can exist between them any healthy intercourse. I think that our united efforts should be directed to preventing our territory from being encroached upon by a class with whom it is unwholesome to intermarry and undesirable to associate, and who can never be incorporated into our common life without vitiating that future national greatness which is the very foundation of every patriotic Australian’s day dream. If the amendment is pressed, I shall vote for a direct method to exclude from our shores a race of people whose presence, I think, is injurious to the best interests of Australia.
-! thoroughly realize the difficulties of the Government in introducing a measure of this kind. At the same time I regret that they have adopted what I would style a backdoor method of accomplishing their desire. I much prefer the straight-out method of dealing with the difficulty presented to us. Of course, we are told that’ the Home Government will not sanction direct legislation of this character. But I would point out that, within comparatively a few years, the educational test proposed in this Bill will have become an absolute farce. The honorable member for Wentworth told us that within a very short time the Japanese will be able to pass any test in the English language.
– Will they be able to pass one which is changed from time to time ?
– I think so. A majority of the natives of the Indian Empire will soon be able to pass any test in the English language. I do not think that the Home Government would refuse to sanction direct legislation of the character suggested. Perhaps, because I am a young politician, I iti ways believe in attacking any difficulty in a straightforward manner. I have a horror of going round corners. I believe in lighting in the open, and detest crawling round to the back door. Of course, I recognise that if the Home Government did refuse to sanction the legislation which we pass, delay would be inevitable. That is the only reason which prompts me to favour the policy of the Government. If, by reason of the Royal assent being withheld, several months were to elapse before legislation restricting the admission of coloured aliens could be enacted, there would be a very large influx indeed of these undesirable immigrants to our territory. It is better I think, in passing a Bill of this kind, to attack the difficulty from the front. Some honorable members have referred to the Chinese and Hindoo hawkers. It must be admitted that “the Hindoo hawker is a decided curse. At one time these hawkers became such a pest that it was almost impossible for a farmer to leave his house with any degree of safety, as these hawkers intimidated the women into purchasing their wares. The only cure for this evil with which I am acquainted is to keep a pack of dogs, of which the Hindoo is very frightened indeed. Some honorable members have said that if we stop the immigration of aliens we shall stop development. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, that it would be better to see the development of tropical Australia postponed for a generation or two, than to admit undesirable aliens to our shores. Of course, if we could settle these aliens in the tropical portions of our country and keep them there all might be well. But naturally they like to get down into localities where the climate is colder. It is only to be expected, therefore, that once they gained a footing upon our shores they would come down and oust the white people from the more temperate regions. There is one provision in this Bill which I think will press very harshly upon the ship-owner. Indeed, I do not see how it can ever work. If a coloured man goes on board a vessel the agent or captain of that vessel will have to ascertain whether he can write his 50 words of English from dictation. In reading the newspapers the other day I noticed that one gentleman was deputed to dictate a passage in English. This he did with such a brogue that no man could reasonably be expected to pass the test. It was a mixture of English and Irish. The officer was asked if what had been read was English. “Yes,” he replied, “and it is very good English too.” I trust that there will be some way of protecting the ship-owners. They ought not to have the responsibility thrown upon them of ascertaining whether immigrants are really qualified to enter the Commonwealth or not. I recognise that under the present conditions we run a very great risk of being swamped by undesirable aliens, and I therefore hope that we shall insist upon preserving Australia entirely for the white man.
Mr. RONALD (Southern Melbourne).It seems to me that this measure is debatable and non-debatable. We have been fighting a kind of phantom, because we are all agreed as to the object which we have in view, namely, the securing of a white Australia. We find that there is really no opposition to that proposal, and it is very difficult indeed to fight a phantom. But there is after all very serious opposition to the best way, and I think it is the only effectual way, of accomplishing our purpose. We have been told by the Prime Minister, in no doubtful terms, that the only way of achieving what we desire is by adopting the indirect method provided by the language test. That is what we have to fight. I believe in the direct method, and am going to press for it. In -the first place it is altogether a bogy, a figment of the fancy of the Ministry, that the Home authorities will reject this measure in the event of our enacting direct legislation excluding coloured aliens from our shores.
– Unfortunately we possess a knowledge to the contrary.
– I refuse to be intimidated by a reference to knowledge which we do not possess. We are here as a jury to deal with the evidence which is before us. In the Postal Bill we have inserted a provision prohibiting the employment of coloured labour upon our subsidized mail steamers. There is no absolute certainty that the Imperial Government will assent to that Bill whilst it contains such a provision. There is just as much likelihood that they will withhold the Royal assent from that measure as that they will refuse to sanction direct legislation for the exclusion of undesirable immigrants if it be placed in this Bill. Let us, therefore, adopt the heroic and straightforward method, and the method which is stripped of all cant. Let us tell the Home authorities that the Australian people are of one mind in regard to this matter. Then I am sure that our object will be accomplished. It will be a very serious thing if we are intimidated by the threat of what may happen, by reason of the action of the Imperial authorities, if we do that which we are sent here to accomplish. We ought not to begin our legislative career by inducing the Home Government to frustrate our ambition. If they do that once, and we make it easy for them to do it, they will do it a second time. If we have to fight this matter, let us fight it now, gracefully, kindly, and without seeking to create disturbance or to put difficulties in the way of the Imperial Government. Let us make it quite clear that what we say we mean, and what we mean we say. The Prime Minister has assured us that this is the only way of accomplishing our end. It is an indirect way, however, and I cannot for the life of me see why we should have this hypocrisy. We are told that the language test will really keep out undesirable aliens, and that it will serve the same purpose as the amendment which has been circulated with a view to keeping out all the aboriginal natives of Asia, Africa, and Polynesia. If it will accomplish that, then it will.be known by the Home Government to have that effect. Why not, therefore, say in so many words what we intend to do ? Why this hypocrisy ? There is no reason why we should have to resort to that kind of cant in order to placate the Home Government. The means by which we achieve our object is immaterial. We want to accomplish our aim. If this circumlocutory process were the only way, then, as I desire to see these aliens excluded, I should be willing to accept it. I refuse to believe, however, that the Imperial Government will take the responsibility in the present position of affairs at home - and we do not want to take advantage of the present state of the old country - of frustrating the express wishes of the Australian people. That wish has been expressed in the first place on the hustings and now in Parliament, and if we make it perfectly clear that we desire to keep this Australia of ours free and uncontaminated, I am sure the Imperial Government will not offer any objection. Let us do this in the interests of the Empire, and then we shall make it clear that there is no offence meant. I rather like the language test. I believe the day is coming when the great federation of the world will be a federation of the English-speaking peoples, and this proposal might be a very good means of achieving that end, by making the language test the right of entry amongst us. I can see perfectly well, however, the futility of it. It will not keep out the undesirable aliens. It has been shown over and over again that the very worst class of men we have to fear are the educated aliens. We have to fear them because they are adventurous, enterprising men. They come amongst us, and they are not the least undesirable because they are educated. Some ten years, ago an African man named Nero arrived in Scotland. He was a professor of a university in Africa”; a splendid scholar, a linguist of the very first order. He made his way into the churches, and into the hearts and homes of the people of the place. Yet he was the greatest fraud imaginable. He outraged the good feelings of the whole society with which he was associated, and the Christian principles of those who had taken him to their bosoms. Still, he was an accomplished scholar and orator. The Prime Minister speaks about changing the standard, but we should want to get up early to create a standard which such a man could not reach. He was one of the most undesirable of men ; he had all the vices, the cunning and the treachery of the blackfellow of the lowest order. We do not object to these aliens because of their colour. We object to them because they are repugnant to us from our moral and social stand-points. Here let me deal with the moral standard. The intentions of the Government have been attacked from a very prominent Christian pulpit in this city. It has been said that their proposals savour rather of Paganism than of Christianity. I want to say, however, that our intention in regard to these alien races is perfectly honorable, and that we have no racial hatred or antipathy towards them. We wish them well ; we desire to do them good, but we do not believe that by allowing them to come among us we shall do anything to elevate them. It is just like that which very often happens. Some pure-minded, noble woman marries some degenerate debauchee, with the hope of reclaiming him ; but the almost inevitable result is that the man drags her down to his level. So with these inferior races. Even if we go back a considerable time before Christ we find that whenever an inferior race tried to blend with a superior race they dragged the latter down to their own level. There is a tendency in human nature to degenerate. The optimist would like to believe that goodness is stronger than evil, but history goes to show that where an inferior people blend with a superior race there is a general tendency to come down. The best course to adopt is to endeavour to induce them to assimilate with us by attraction. Let us set up a standard which is high. Let us remind them that our social and moral standard is to be kept high, and that when they are fit to enter into union with us we shall be glad to receive and welcome them. That is where the moral element come3 in. To associate with them is simply to come down to their level. It is not Christian morals any more than it is good socialism to believe that we can blend not to our own deterioration with these people. I wish the Government to see that we want to deal with this matter in the most frank and outspoken manner. We want to show that it is in the interests of imperial unity ; in the interests of the integrity of the British Empire itself, because, if we admit these mixed races, it will only lead - as it always has done - to complications.
– It will mean a black and tan population.
– Yes ; and the divergent interests will bring us into conflict with these people. To have any considerable number of Japanese or Chinese in our midst would lead very soon to complications with that very troubled part of the far east from which they come. We should point out, therefore, that it is in order to prevent any complication, or any conflict of interests, that we make this proposal. There is a nice and a nasty way of doing it, so far as our relations with the Imperial authorities are concerned. A nasty way would be to do it in defiance of the Home authorities. But there is another way of doing it. We may safely leave it to the head of the Government to find the proper terms in which to couch his despatch to the Colonial Secretary, and show him that the only way in which the people of Australia will allow this to be done is in a direct straightforward and unsophisticated manner. If we leave it to the Prime Minister to show that it is in the interests of the Empire, and to avoid complications with the far East that we do this, I am perfectly sure that his wisdom will prevail. I am sure he is with us, and that he intends to give us our ideals. We cannot talk over the Colonial Secretary to our side, but we can show him the sweet reasonableness of our demands in such a way that the Government will not refuse. He will at the same time be led to understand that the people of Australia are not the people who go in for circumlocution. If we once start the practice of going around corners then we shall always have to act in that way, and if we do it, it will be at the expense of our honesty and dignity. We are all one in end and aim, from the head of the Government to the leader of the Opposition. Seeing that is so, there is surely not likely to be any difference between us as to the means by which that end is to be achieved. Our motive is good, and it is only in regard to the means of carrying out the object that we differ at the present time. Let us lay our heads together and adopt the best system. As honesty is the best policy, so it will be found that a straightforward method is the best to adopt here. Seeing that the Prime Minister has not only this end in view, but has the cause so much at heart, I am perfectly certain that he will meet it. I am perfectly certain that it is the almost unanimous wish of the House, that we should proceed directly towards the goal we have in view ; that we should say that we desire to exclude all undesirable aliens in the interests of our moral and our social standard ; and in the interests of the Empire. Therearemany other argumentswhich could be used to indicate that this is the course which not only will meet with the approval of this House, but will be in accordance with the highest moral sentiments of the community. I could a tale unfold in regard to the state of the mixed population which exists in Melbourne. Melbourne by moonlight is a thing which will not bear mention. That fact is largely due to the Chinese. I could reveal the social and moral aspect of this mixed population here, but it cannot be revealed because it is too awful. The position is different in Queensland. There they see the evil in its most aggravated form, but in Melbourne it is quite serious enough although not as bad as in Queensland. There is something higher and greater than the making of money to be considered, and that is the character, the morals, and the health of our children. Let these people come in here and our race will become piebald in spite of our efforts to prevent it. Let us keep before us the noble ideal of a white Australia - a snow-white Australia if you will. Let it be pure and spotless. Let us try to raise the character of our own people, so that we may be a model to these aliens. Let us tell these foreign races that when they can live up to our social and moral ideals we shall welcome them; but never let us try to blend a superior with an inferior race. This is the end we have in view, and we venture to say that it is a logical one, which will commend itself to all the nations of the world. Let us go on directly and straightforwardly with it. I am sure that we may safely leave this matter to the Prime Minister, who is not restricted in his resources in any way. He will find a means of placating the Home Government, if necessary, and of showing them the sweet reasonableness of our demands. I am heart and soul in favour of the amendment, and I doubt very much whether the language test would secure the object which we have in view. Even if it would it is not so desirable as the direct, straightforward method advocated in the amendment.
I should have liked to have referred to our duties and responsibilities to the Polynesian peoples and to have demonstrated that whilst treating them as the rightful heirs and owners of the islands around us, we could still draw a line of demarcation and refuse to associate with them without violating any moral principle or the brotherhood of man. The only way of realizing the true brotherhood of man is by levelling up and not levelling down. The islanders look to us for help and guidance, and we shall never oppress or tyrannize over them, but at the same time we must refuse to blend with them and mix with them as social equals, because otherwise we should be levelling down instead of levelling up. As the nearness of the hour of adjournment will not permit me to conclude my speech to-day, I move the adjournment of the debate.
. -I move -
That this House do now adjourn.
– Might I ask the Prime Minister what business will be gone on with next week?
– We shall goon with the Immigration Restriction Bill next Wednesday, after the Service and Execution of Process Bill and the Distillation Bill, which will also be proceeded with next week. We shall also deal with any further question that may arise on the Post and Telegraph Bill, but I hope there will be none. As to the Pacific Islanders Bill, the second reading will be moved either early next week or the week after.
– Will the Prime Minister say whether he anticipates being able to carry the Immigration Restriction Bill through committee next week ?
– I hope to go right on with it.
– I would remind the House that this is not question time. Honorable members have an opportunity of putting what amount to questions in their speeches, but when the Prime Minister has gathered up their questions and replied to them no further remarks can be made by honorable members.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 September 1901, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1901/19010906_reps_1_4/>.