2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. WATSON presented a petition from employers and employes in the printing trade in Brisbane, praying for protection against the importation of post-office directories.
Petition received and read.
Mr.EWING. - The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne has asked if a report by Captain Creswell can be laid on the table of the House. I have consulted the Minister of Defence on the subject, and he has no objection to it being done, so that instructions will be given accordingly. If this report does not furnish the information which the honorable member for Wentworth desires, I shall endeavour to secure for him any further information that hemay require.
– The probability is that Captain Creswell was asked to put his views before the Council of Defence when it was first formed, and was considering a Defence policy. If a report of any such questions and answers could be prepared, it would be very useful to -honorable members, and I ask the honorable gentleman if he can obtain a copy for us, so that we may be fully seized of what has. been proposed in regard to naval matters.
– There is no objection to any honorable member seeing any of the papers in the Defence Department, unless they relate to some matter which all would agree should not be made public. If the honorable member’s views can be met without injury to the public interest, T am sure that the Minister of Defence will be glad to meet them.
– Will the Minister of Trade and Customs lay on the table the recent correspondent relative to complaints from Western Australian manufacturers as to the manufactured articles entering that State whose component parts are liable to dutv under the special Tariff of the State.
– I will lay the information on the table to-morrow.
– When will officers who are entitled under the classification scheme to receive increases be paid the amounts due to them? Will these increases date from the presentation of the original report by the Commissioner, or from the time of the approval of the scheme by Parliament?
– The Treasurer could answer this question better than I can. I understand the intention was to pay these increases as soon as an appropriation had been made. I ask the honorable gentleman to give notice of his second question, because I think the dates, from which some of these increases take effect vary.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether his attention has been directed to recent reports of the Comptroller for Prisons, Western Australia, and especially to the following passages therein : -
In view of the lengthy incarceration of the life prisoners referred to in these extracts,’ and other circumstances, will the Prime Minister suggest to. the Imperial authorities the desirability of liberating these men?
– The report of the Comptroller for Prisons-has not come under my notice, but I will make inquiries respecting the matters alluded to by the honorable member.
Debate resumed from 10th November (vide page 4946), on motion by Mr. Deakin -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).I do not propose to occupy very much time in dealing with this measure at the present stage. I congratulate the Government upon its introduction, so far as it goes, and offer them my cordial support in their effort to place it upon the statute-book. I am ready to take all necessary steps to preserve Australia for a white people, and to prevent the contamination of our race by that racially tainted blood which it is so desirable to keep at a safe distance. But, while we must take every precaution to prevent that contamination, and may sometimes seem, in the peremptory and drastic character of our legislation and its administration, not too careful as to the means and methods which we adopt, there are certain facts to which we must keep our minds fully alive. We should, above all things, take cognisance of what is passing in the world around us. We cannot, ostrich-like, hide our heads in the sand, in the hope that no outside invader will ever attack us, and in the belief that none of the so-called inferior races will ever ascend the scale of civilization, and so far adopt the methods of civilized life, and. above all, of civilized warfare, as to be a menace to us. No doubt many of us have lived in a fool’s paradise in this regard for some years past. I make the free confession that I have done so, to some extent. Until recent developments took place, .1 had no idea that a certain eastern nation had so far adopted western methods and customs, and acquired western means of destruction, as the late war has proved it to have done. When such a nation suddenly springs into prominence, and shows itself entitled, by the valour and skill of its people, and their recognition of the standards of our civilization, to a place at the table of the civilized nations of the world, it is time for us to inquire if our relations with it are such as to be likely to provoke reprisals, and also whether those relations make it possible for us to continue to live in, amity with it. After all, the great law of existence, as applied to nations, is still the law of force. We may wish that it were otherwise, but we cannot forget that in the last resort our civilization depends on the strength of our right arm to defend and maintain it. We must, therefore, pay regard to the position of those nations which, on their part, have shown themselves possessed of strength and valour, and have proved themselves ready to light in defence of their national ideals, and in pursuit of their national aspirations. Therefore, if any of our laws conflict with their ideals and aspirations, and seem likely to offer an affront to them, we should inquire whether we cannot amend them, to take away this appearance of offence. One of the primary objects of the Bill is to remove a cause of offence to that great eastern nation which has so well demonstrated its claim - which many of us were inclined, through ignorance, to deny - to have risen to a high altitude of civilization, and to other nations, forming part of the Empire to which we belong, which, by reason of their great intellectual advancement, have also demonstrated the wisdom of this course of action. It would be idle to discuss what makes the radical differences between the races of mankind, or if they are radical. Some writers assert that these differences are not radical, but due wholly to age, climate, and environment; while others say that they are radical, and can never be entirely bridged over, no matter how much we may try to modify them. I remember talking a little while ago to one of the best authorities on these subjects in Sydney, and he declared very emphatically that the differences in race were radical, and that it was not possible to bring all nations to the same plane of civilization and make them adopt the same methods and ideals of life. If that be so - and it does not much matter as regards this Bill whether it is iso or not - we simply have to do with the differences as we find1 them to-day; whether they be the result of environment or whether they be prescribed by ai higher power than ourselves. It is idle to pursue an inquiry of that kind just now. There are differences in these races which make it desirable that each should be allowed to develop on its own plane of civilization, and, according to its own conceptions of national life, to pursue its way unmolested, untrammelled, and uninterfered with by others. Therefore, I take it that in framing this legislation, and seeking to give it effect, we do not necessarily pass a reflexion upon any nation with which we so deal. We simply say that in the pursuit of our own ideals, with a view to the permanent betterment of our own race, to the maintenance of our domestic: conditions, to the working out of our destiny, untrammelled and1 unintertered with by other people, we take the action we do. But, while it is true that in the last resort force decides the fate of nations, it does not follow that the nations which in that resort betake themselves to force, and so wield it as to enable them to assert their position to a place amongst civilized nations, necessarily also subscribe to these domestic standards which it is our aim and purpose to secure for our own race. A nation may be well skilled in the arts of war, may be able to assert for itself a place amongst the nations of the earth, and yet have such internal and domestic conditions as to make it almost a peril for other nations to have free intercourse with them.
– That is precisely my point. They may be able to enforce any conditions at the point of the sword, or by such other demonstration of force as they think fit, and may force their civilization upon an unwilling people, who regard it as certainly not in accord with their ideals and standards; and there lies the danger which we seek to avoid, I take it, in legislation of this kind. We do not wish to do anything which would irritate the nations which have the means at their command to carry out their will to a very great extent with regard to people who are less formidable than themselves, and who have not cultivated the arts of war to the same extent. Whether we like it or not, we are all compelled to subscribe to these standards of force and respect them as far as we may. And so I take it that we should frame our legislation so as to be as little irritable as possible to these people who do not subscribe to our domes- tic standards, and with whom it would not be desirable to have unrestricted free intercourse. But I venture to say., also, that the Eastern nation, of which so many of us are thinking to-day, is making mighty strides in civilization, too. It is true that its standards of life and comfort, and its domestic ideals are very different from our own - that is, viewed from our stand-point. It may be that they regard their ideals, their attainments, and their standards, as superior to our own. That all depends upon the point of view. But I contend that notwithstanding that their conditions of life, rates of wages, prescribed standards of social comfort, and social ideals, may not be equal to our own, yet they are fast coming to the same plane. And I venture to predict that if they keep on in their present course, they will more and more assimilate to our social ideals, as well as to those international standards which we all must respect. I therefore am glad to see an effort made by the Government of the day to shape our attitude towards them in a way that will be as little offensive as possible. That I take to be the main object of this Bill, although it contains other amendments in the law - mostly of an administrative character - which will need to be examined when we get into Committee. That, however, need not concern us at this stage. The great point is that the Bill is an effort, and I think a worthy effort, to meet the new condition of things which has arisen, and, at the same time, to preserve, as far as possible, and in the most strenuous way that we can, our ideal of a White Australia. I remember that when we were previously discussing this subject, reference was made to the advent of the Hindoo race to the neighbouring islands of Fiji. That shows, very conclusively, the great care which we ought to take with regard to the further admission of races which are called alien, and whose civilization is not our own. Nothing could more strongly indicate the necessity for looking sharply to the keeping of Australia to white methods and white standards, than what is now taking place in Fiji. The missionaries from that country tell us sorry tales of the continued influx of Hindoos. As a matter of fact, the Hindoo is elbowing out the Fijian. The Fijians are a declining quantity, and the Hindoos are a constantly increasing quantity.
– The Japanese are driving out the Fijians.
– Not to any great extent, I think.
– To an enormous extent.
– From our standpoint, the Hindoos are causing most trouble. We are told that the work of civilizing the Fijians isbeing retarded in every way by the influx of these people, who subscribe to a different religion, and one which colours and dominates their conception of existence. That is a very serious thing indeed. The religious aspect, of this international and social question is one of the most troublesome with which we have to deal. In Fiji the missionaries are complaining of the undermining of their efforts, directed, as they have been for the last fifty years, to the pushing of the Fijians to a higher plane of civilization. They say that their efforts, have been steadily undermined by a continued and steady influx of Hindoos. What occurs in Fiji would unquestionably occur here if, without let or hinderance, these races, which we deem to be inferior to our own - I mean inferior in point of their conception of civilized standards - were allowed to come here. While we preserve, with the utmost rigidity, our ideals as a white race, it behoves us to seek by every conciliatory method which may be open to shape our attitude towards these rising Eastern nations, which otherwise may give us trouble, and may prevent the object which we have in view. It isin that spirit that I cordially welcome this Bill, which I shall in Committee help to make as perfect as possible.
– On account of the way in which the noticepaper has been prepared for the last few days, I did not expect the debate on the second reading of this Bill to be resumed this morning. I cannot allow the measure to go into Committee without entering a protest. Evidently the object of the Government is to try to placate what is known as the “ stinking-fish “ party - the party who are continually decrying this country. Either the Bill is a sham or it is going to do something which will injure the White Australia policy adopted by the electors.
– It is a rank piece of hypocrisv.
– I do not know whether it is a piece of hypocrisy. I am afraid that there is something more than that in the measure. I believe that the Government has taken up the mistaken idea that by making a little sacrifice of a principle which the Parliament has adopted, they can placate their opponents. Nothing of the kind. If the Bill is a sham, the deputy leader of the Opposition knows that more capital than ever will be made out of this legislation by the Conservative press.
– What is a sham?
– The Bill is a sham in some respects and a danger in other respects. It is a sham in so far as it is an attempt to make the members in. the Labour corner believe that the principle of a White Australia is not going to be sacrificed, and it is a danger, because I am quite satisfied that it is going to be a menace to that policy. Clause 6 says -
If the Minister notifies by notice in the Gazette that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country regulating the admission to the Commonwealth of the subjects or citizens of that country, the subjects or citizens of that country shall not, while the notice continues to have effect, be required to pass the dictation test.
What does that mean? It means that it is going to be left to the Administration to say in what manner coloured aliens shall be excluded from or permitted to enter this country.
– Read sub-clause 2.
– It says-
The Minister shall not issue any such notice until the expiration of one month after copies of the arrangement to which it refers have been laid before both Houses of the Parliament.
Circumstances change. We do not know that after the next elections the right honorable member for East Sydney may not come back with a majority behind him, and if he did he would, by administering the law which the present Government are placing in his hands, allow the free admission of coloured aliens. Do honorable members on the Opposition benches think that that would not happen?
– We can safely risk thar.
– I take it for granted that the Bill is intended principally as a concession to the sentiment of the Japanese Government, who have objected to the education test being conducted in a European language.
– The leader of the Opposition has declared himself to be in favour of a White Australia policy.
– We are all in favour of the policy.
– And he has done a great deal more for the policy than has the honorable member who is speaking.
– We hear from members of the Opposition that they are in favour of a good many principles, but so soon as we try in a Bill to give effect to a principle in which they say thev believe, thev do all thev can to wreck it. I do not wish, however, to be drawn off the track. We have been told that the Japanese Government have no desire that their citizens shal.l immigrate in any numbers to Australia. But what are the facts? The deputy leader of the Opposition referred to what had taken place in Fiii in regard to the Hindoos, and I should like to point out what has happened in Hawaii so far as the Japanese are concerned. In 1894, there were 24,000 Japanese in Hawaii, and in 1897, their number had increased to 70,000. They have driven out the natives, Chinese, and the Americans in the same way that the Hindoos are driving out the natives and Britishers from Fiji. Therefore, it is useless to say that the Japanese do not wish to emigrate. I am in a position to adduce strong evidence on this point by quoting from a pamphlet issued by the late Mr. W. H. Browne, who was formerly the leader of the Labour Party in Queensland. Mr. Browne pointed out the danger of intrusting the Administration with large powers such as are contemplated in this measure. He said -
That the Japanese authorities are of the opinion that the Queensland Government are favorable to Asiatic labour is shown by the following extracts from a letter from the Japanese Consul to the Chief Secretary, 6th November I800 :- “ From your correspondence, it appears to me that your Government is anxious to maintain a certain proportion of people of the Asiatic race in your Colony, but I am unable to learn on what basis the proportion is arrived at, or how the limit of maximum becomes known.”
Mr. Robert Philp was then Premier of Queensland, and negotiations went on, resulting in an agreement that the number of Japanese labourers and artisans in the Colony should be 3,247, and that the number might be kept up by fresh importations. . This of course only applied to those calling themselves “ artisans or labourers,” and no restriction whatever was placed on those coming in under other designations. Now I am coming to an important point, which shows what can be done by an Administration to permit of the introduction of an increased number of immigrants. Mr. Browne said -
By the earlier agreement not more than twentyfive Japanese were allowed to be brought in in any one vessel, but on 14th August, Mr. Philp, in a telegram to the Japanese Consul, said - I have no objection to the number allowed to be brought by each ship being increased to fifty.
Mr. Browne added
It is just possible that there are about 80 per cent, of the people of Queensland and of Australia who have very strong objections to these numbers being increased, but this is of course of little importance. Robert Philp “ has no objection,” so “let them all come.”
That is precisely the position that might be taken up by some future Prime Minister. If we leave it open to the Japanese to come here, they will undoubtedly flow in in such numbers as to become a menace to our people. Mr. .Browne goes on to say.: -
One reason given by the Japanese Consul for asking for a certain concession is as follows : - “ In view of the large number of Japanese labourers returning to Japan from this colony, and of the distressed state to which the immigration companies (whose sole business was to supply
Japanese labourers to employers in this colony), have been reduced since last year, in consequence of the prohibition measures taken by your Government, the Japanese Government is very anxious to hear, as soon as possible, of your decision as to the proposition suggested.”
In despatch after despatch, the Japanese authorities manifested an anxiety to secure permission for Japanese to come into Queensland in such numbers as they might desire. Mr. Browne went on to say : -
This appeal went direct to the heart of the Premier ; the common everyday unemployed are only a nuisance. A hard-up swagman deserves no consideration, but fancy an “ immigration company “ in a “ distressed condition.” The very ‘thought was terrible, and some of the concessions asked for were at once granted. ‘
I cannot see what inconvenience has been caused, or to whom offence has been given by the administration of the present Act. What is the position in Japan at present ? No Britisher can own a single foot of land in Japan, or make his home there without first obtaining the express permission of the Government. I do not think that outlaws are nearly so rigid as are the Japanese laws in regard to foreigners. In 1904 there were only 2,133 Britishers in Japan, and I believe that this small number is due to the restrictive legislation that is enforced against foreigners. Therefore, I do not see why we should be asked to pass legislation that would permit of an unlimited influx of Japanese into Australia. When I visited Queensland recently, I was disgusted to find that the great majority of the storekeepers were coloured aliens. Surely it cannot be said that white people are unfit in that climate to act as storekeepers. I was also very much astonished to find that certain unpatriotic individuals were leasing their land to Chinamen. Apparently they were so fond of the coloured) races that they would do everything possible to retain them, and if some of the Europeans in Northern Queensland have their own way, there will be very little hope for the white sugargrower. I am very strongly opposed to any interference with the present legislation, except in the direction of closing up the gaps. Nothing will prevent some of the Agents-General, who apparently have little sympathy with a White Australia, from making statements such as are contained in the memorandum laid on the table yesterday. I do not .trouble myself about the misrepresentations of people, who, after having done well in Australia, proceed to England, and apparently direct all their energies to maligning the country of their adoption. Nothing of that kind would induce me to amend the law in the direction of intrusting Ministers with greater powers. I cannot say that I am altogether content with the present administration of the Act, but I believe that it is giving the utmost satisfaction to the country,. We know, however, that all Ministries are fallible, and that if large powers are conferred, they are always liable to abuse, especially when anuses will have the effect of favouring the wealthy, or land-owning, classes. I believe that for many year,s to come the coloured aliens who are already with us will be a great menace to the workers of Australia. The keen competition which white workers now have to meet is indicated by the statements of an Adelaide clergyman who has had a wide experience of the sufferings of the unemployed. He says : -
There were scores of so-called homes in Adelaide, where the furniture consisted of a few boxes, and where the inmates had not sufficient bread to eat, or enough clothing to keep them warm. He was satisfied that in many instances the distress was as great as in any of the slums of London. While on the one hand there was dire poverty, however, there was much waste in other directions. One of the leading citizens of Adelaide the other day - he could mention his name if necessary - said in a ballroom - “ I don’t know a Christian in Adelaide. I know I am not one, because I am not prepared to pay the price.”
This gentleman confessed that there were no men in Adelaide who were willing to proceed to the full length necessary to fight the battles of the workers. There were plenty who, like honorable members of the Opposition, pretended to be their friends, but who were not willing to pass the legislation necessary to protect them.
– There must be a very bad lot of people in Adelaide.
– Adelaide contains good, bad, and indifferent men, such as are to be found all the world over. To my mind, there is no justification for the proposal contained in the Bill. On the other hand, there is every reason why we should’ decline to increase the powers of administration’. In every measure we have, where possible, laid down the principles upon which the Administration must act.
– The Administration can d’o nothing under this Bill without the assent of Parliament.
– Yes ; but it is not so easy to reverse an Act of Parliament as to reverse the administration of an Act.
– In this case there could be no reversal except with the consent of Parliament.
– Yes ; but when it is not necessary to introduce a Bill, the consent of Parliament can be easily obtained. I have indicated what has been done in Queensland, and I do not wish to open the door for abuses of a similar character. We hear continual complaints of lax administration, and’ the less we leave to administration the better it will be for the country.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh has complained that the proposals contained in the Bill are hypocritical.
– No; that statement was made by a member of the Opposition, who interjected. In speaking in that way honorable members are attacking the British Government - whose advice we are following.
– In my view, the charge to which I have referred might have been levelled justly at the original measure, which was drafted in accordance with the wishes of the British Government.
– And also because of its public insistence that the Bill should take a particular form.
– It was drafted with a desire to make the position of the British Government, in relation to foreign Powers, and particularly with those of the East, aseasy as possible.
– The fault did not liewith the White Australia party.
Mr. WATSON. No. In common with a considerable number of other honorablemembers, I endeavoured to so shape the Bill that it would clearly and candidlystate our intentions. However, another form was adopted ; and I must admit that, putting aside the question of policy as to the statement of our meaning, which, I think, should have been as candid as possible, the administration as a whole has been satisfactory. There has been a diminution of the coloured aliens ‘ within the Commonwealth. After making allowance for State permits that were issued prior to our law coming into existence, and which in a measure had willy-nilly to be honoured by the Federal Government - considerations which I should take it are a fast-expiring quantity - we cannot but be fairly satisfied with the administration of the Act. I should like to direct the attention of the honorable member for Hind- marsh to the fact that in this measure there arequite a number of provisions that would be of material advantage in the administration of the main principle, from a White Australia stand-point. While the honorable member appears to think that the whole Bill consists of a proposal to placate the feelings of the Japanese, as a matter of fact there are provisions in it which will close up a number of loop-holes a.nd increase the possibility of effective administration. From that stand-point, therefore, 1 think the honorable member should hesitate before dubbing the Bill a. sham. When we come to the main features - outside of the corrections to which I have referred - there are, it seems to me, two points involved. One is that the form of the dictation test is to be varied, by making it possible to omit insistence upon a European language.
– Is not that a sham, inasmuch as the immigrant can still be tested in an European language?
– It is a proposition of the Imperial Government which the honorable member calls a sham.
– I am inclined to think that such a provision will not be taken advantage of very frequently. I do not imagine that any Government that we are likely to have in Australia for some time will omit an examination in an European language, and insist upon an examination in an Oriental language. I hope, for my own part, that the feeling of Parliament will always beevinced against any such suggestion.
– Does not that show that this Bill is really a sham?
– The honorable member appears to overlook the fact that there is more in this Bill than that one particular provision. If he wishes to insist that the dictation test is a sham, there is no reason why he should apply the term to the whole Bill. For myself, I admit that I have no sympathy with this method of approaching the question. I expressed that opinion long ago in this Chamber, when the subject was first brought under consideration; and I have not altered it in the slightest degree. But I do not see that this proposal, especially with the safeguard that the Prime Minister has put forward since, is likely to make the provision one whit worse, so far as concerns the admission of coloured aliens. Under the principal Act. at the present time, a Minister sympathetic towards the admission of coloured aliens could practically allow in asmany as he liked.
– That should have been stopped under this Bill.
– The honorable member is, getting away from the point to which I am trying to get back - that this Bill puts us in no worse position than does the original Act, so far as concerns the admission of coloured aliens. The whole principle underlying the Immigration Restriction Act is dependent upon stringent administration. The principle of the education test is, I think, wrong; but I say emphatically that this Bill puts us in no worse position than the original Act did; because under the principal Act you have to depend upon the bona fides of, or upon the strong attitude that is assumed by, the administrator. If the administrator to-day cared to do so, he could allow the examination of Japanese to take place in the English language, and there is a very large proportion of the Japanese who, according to what we read, could pass such an examination. If that be so, it is evident that a sympathetic administrator could facilitate the admission ot thousands of coloured aliens.
– When we are altering the original Act, why not stop that sort of thing bv amending it properly?
– I do not know that the House is prepared to reverse the whole policy that has been in operation ; and I do not think that at this stage of the session it is worth our while to enter upon such a consideration. I must say, speaking for myself, that with the safeguard which the Prime Minister has introduced - in the amendment suggested - under which no regulation prescribing any language will have any force until it has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament for thirty days, or. if within that time a motion has been proposed in either House of the Parliament, until the motion has been disposed of - I think that it is clearly placed within the power of Parliament to consider any alteration of the prescribed test, and that, therefore, everything necessary has been provided for. With that reservation, it does not seem to me that those in favour of the White Australia policy run any. greater risk under this new proposal than we have been running for the last three or four years. In view of those considerations, therefore, I do not think that it is necessary to take any steps to secure the rejection of the measure. I trust that the Prime Minister will agree to apply to clause 6 a provision similar to thatof which he has given notice in respect of clause 3 - that is, to insure thatParliament shall be consulted in some form or other before any binding arrangement is entered into with the Government of any country with respect to the admission of its subjects.
– I have no objection to that.
– I think the position would be fairly met if such an amendment were made. With respect to the principle involved in it, I may say that we are already working under an arrangement with the Japanese Government, so far as regards touristsand business visitors from their country to this.
– No one surely objects to tourists coming to Australia.
– Honorable members will see that, in the absence of some arrangement of that sort, every Japanese coming to Australia, whether he was a tourist or a commercial man, would be compelled to go through the examination test. I do not think that any one desires to see that’. Therefore, when, on coming into office, I found that such an arrangement had practically been entered into though not finally completed, I was very glad to bring it to its completion, and have the matter amicably fixed up with the Government of Japan.
– Even under that arrangement, of course, lax administration could do a lot of harm.
– Quite so. I admit that it has to be very carefully watched to see that ostensible tourists, people whose intention really is to settle here, are not admitted. We require careful administration, even of an arrangement of that character; but. we were compelled to take the responsibility of making such an arrangement, because there was no provision for the purpose under the law, by which Parliament would, ordinarily speaking, require to be consulted before any coloured alien could be admitted. Clause 6, with the addendum I have suggested, will bring any such arrangement within the purview of Parliament, which might, if it thought necessary, take action in regard to it. That being so, I do not see any strong objections to passing the Bill.
– When the honorable member for Hindmarsh saysthat there is no justification for a measure like this, he surely must be somewhat oblivious of events that have taken place during the last two or three years, and of the relationships now existing between the British Empire arid Japan. Those relationships, cordial as they were previously, have become still more cordial and intimate recently. The honorable member for Bland himself admitted that when he took office, and had laid upon him the burden of administering the Immigration Restriction Act, he found it desirable that certain changes should be made in the administration of the law ; and he, therefore, very wisely made such arrangements as would meet the susceptibilities of the great Eastern Nation, that has come so quickly to the front. I do not think that any one would blame him for doing so. This Bill, I take it, is anotherattempt in the same direction. While it does not alter the principal Act in any important respect, it enables the administration to be so varied as to meet the views of the Japanese Government. In that it is to be commended. I think that the alliance entered into some time ago between Great Britain and Japan was hailed with very great delight throughout all Anglo-Saxon countries, and in noplace more than in Australia. We must remember that we are but a few people here, andthat we have gained a verystrong, powerful ally in the East. The alliance makes the position of Australia as regards the danger of invasion absolutely safe. Therefore, if we can meet the feelings of the Japanese in any way. it is our duty to do so. The honorable member for Hindmarsh is quite correct in what he hassaid as to the influx of Japanese to America. They are flocking into the United States, into Hawaii, and into Fiji. During the coming session of Congress in America, the most vital question that will have to be discussed will be this influx of foreigners, and more especially of Japanese. Throughout the west coast of the United States there is a very strong feeling amongst the people that something should be done to put a. stop to it. There are prohibition laws in the United States, but I was told that nevertheless the Japanese come there in great numbers. They are met in the bay by agents from the shore, when the ship anchors, and these supply them with a certain amount of money ; and when the immigration agent goes round and inspects them to find out what their means of subsistence are, they have this cash in hand ready to show him that they are amply provided for. But that money is returned to the Japanese banks when the immigrants go ashore. If it came to a question of having to choose between Chineseand Japanese immigrants my experience shows me that the Chinese would be the better class. The Chinese keep the law ; they are peaceful ; they are good workers, and they conduct their industries in a lawful manner. So far as I could gather in America, the Japanese are very acute, very quick, very apt to learn, and very ready to take any advantage they possibly can. They will engage to labour and to carry on their work, say, in an orchard, but at a critical time they will stay away and leave the owner without means of getting in his crops. A gentleman in America said to me, “ If you have a Japanese working for you, in tenyears time he will have the orchard and you will be out.” With regard to the measure before us,,, I think we can support it. We are not justified in doubting the Administration ; for no Government holding office in this Commonwealth will be likely to administer a measure like this otherwise than honestly and fairly. I think we ought to pass the Bill, which I regard as a satisfactory proposal.
– At this stage of the session, I cannot grow very enthusiastic over the proposal of the Government to amend the Immigration Restriction Act, which to my mind, has worked very satisfactorily. I am quite prepared to admit that in that Statute full effect was not given to the wishes of the Australian people, as voiced through the constitutional medium of the ballot-box. Irrespective of whether or not a sufficient justification existed for this Parliament adopting a roundabout course to secure the exclusion of Asiatics from this country, I certainly hold that we have no warrant from the people for altering our present legislation. That this Bill, will interfere with the administration of the original Act is undoubted. In my opinion, it has been introduced to placate that very small section of the community, to whom the honorable member for Hindmarsh has justly referred as the “stinking fish” party.
What has induced the Governmenttotake this step ? Because there are a few “squealers” in the community, I do not think that it is wise to interfere with legislation which has been approved by the vast majority of the people. It seems to me that the one desire of those who are favorable to the proposed amendment of the law is that we should avoid giving offence to what is termed “ the great rising Eastern nation,” Japan. The timidity of some Australians at the prospect of the Japanese adopting a hostile attitude towards us is extraordinary.
– That is exactly what the Russians thought.
– And I believe thatwith peace at home it is exactly what they would have proved. My experience of the Japanese in Australia is not one which would induce me to offer them increased facilities for admission to our territory. I have travelled over most of. the States, and my observation leads me to believe that they are chiefly occupied in this country in maintaining or living upon women of doubtful virtue, or in conducting laundries. Holding that opinion, I view with feelings of extreme doubt the proposal of the Prime Minister to omit the word “European “ in paragraph a of section 3, with a view to substitute the word “ prescribed.” I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh that in matters of this kind, the more wet can make the desires of the people clear in our Statutes, and the less we leave to the Administration of the day, the better. I cannot grow enthusiastic over the prospect of an officer of the Customs, or of some other Department, meeting an army of foreigners at our wharfs, and prescribing for them a dictation test of fifty words in their own particular language, as he will be able to do under this Bill. The Prime Minister has circulated an amendmentwhich considerably clouds the position ; indeed, the chief object of some of the suggestions offered during the past few days apparently, has been to obscure the issue in a perfect maze of language. The original Act sets forth our intentions in as clear and concise a manner as they can possibly be presented, and I fail to see any necessity for altering it. Although I am not keen, on opposing the second reading ofthe Bill. I shall do my best to amend it in Committee. In another measure, the Government propose to eliminate the contract labour provision which is embodied in the principal Act. I do not think it is competent for me to discuss thai matter at the present time, -.but I know of no protest from the Aus tralian people which would justify me in altering the decision of Parliament in that direction. The law has been badly . ad- ministered ever since it was placed upon the statute-book. Immigrants have been coming to Australia under contract-
– I mus,t ask the honorable member not to debate that question.
– I was going to complete the sentence by; saying that persons have been coming to Australia under contract, although the fact cannot be proved. Whether or not the amendment of the law which is contemplated will assist in establishing that fact, I am not now prepared to say. Though I might support the second reading of the Bill, in order to allow of its consideration in Committee, upon the matters which I have mentioned I s.hall be found opposing any amendment which will weaken the existing law.
– My objection to this Bill is very largely con(fined to its educational clause. It seeks to accomplish, in an absolutely- hypocritical manner, that which the Government should do openly and straightforwardly.
– We adopt this course in deference to the’ wishes of the Imperial authorities.
– I am dealing with the proposal which is now before us.
– There are international relations involved. Should we pay no respect to them ? Is that what the honorable member means?
– The honorable member for Bland has, stated that this measure is a harmless one, which will practically have no effect. Personally, I have always contended that the educational test prescribed in our Immigration Restriction Act is a hypocritical method of giving effect to the decision of Parliament. Only the other day I saw that an immigrant to Western Australia had been subjected to a dictation test which had reference to the properties of radium. I have no hesitation in saying that if that test were applied, to the members of this House, 75 per cent, of them would fail to pass it. It was distinctly a “catch” tes.t. It related to the properties of radium, an entirely new ele-ment, of which comparatively little is known. Very few men indeed would care to sit down in their own offices, and -write out from dictation the sentence which, was. prescribed in the case to which I. refer. Either the existing Act requires amendment so far as the educational test is. concerned, or it does not. The amendment proposed by. the Government will reduce the whole legislation of the Commonwealth to an absolute farce. The original Act provides that coloured immigrants shall be required to write from dictation fifty words in a European language. Under the proposal of the Prime Minister, the word “ European “ will be excised, and the. word “ prescribed “ substituted. There will then be nothing to prevent a Minister from subjecting an immigrant to a test in a European language.
– The Bill makes the whole matter one of administration.
– Subject to the approval of Parliament.
– I should like, to emphasize the objection’ of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that the practice of the Government introducing Bills, and then flooding the House with amendments upon them, is very seriously to be deprecated.
– Does the honorable member call our one amendment in connexion with this measure “ flooding the House with amendments ‘ ‘ ?
– I am referring ‘ to other measures in addition to that which is now under consideration. The House has been flooded with amendments after amendments upon Bills which have been presented by the Government. This measure provides that until some particular language has been prescribed, the dictation test shall be in the language authorized by the existing Act. That will give the Minister power to prescribe a test either in an Asiatic or a European language. I have always been strenuously opposed to the flooding of Australia with alien races; but I say that if Ave wish to exclude those races we should at least do so honestly. If this Bill is designed to placate the Japanese, I maintain that Ave shall incur very much greater risk of giving them offence if
Ave allow them to come to Australia in the belief that they will be subjected to a test in their own language, to find upon their arrival that they are required to undergo an examination in Portuguese, Spanish, or Greek, than we should do by directly excluding them.
– The position is exactly the opposite to that.
– Then what is the object of the Bill? I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh that under it a Government which was hostile to the policy of a White Australia could open the whole of our territory to alien races, or vice versa.
– So they could under the principal Act.
– I doubt whether they could. Under that Statute the test prescribed must be in a Europeanlanguage, and I believe that 90 per cent. of Asiatic immigrants would fail to pass such tests as are now given. Under the present proposal, it is left to the Government to prescribe what language they choose. Let us be honest, whatever we do. If the Bill is intended to restrict the Act we have passed, dealing with the influx of alien races, let the Government be honest enough to say so. If, as the honorable member for Bland has assured the honorable member for Hindmarsh, it is quite safe to pass the measure, because it will not have the effect of lessening the power of the existing Act. but will have a more stringent effect in covering up the deficiencies of the present measure, let us say in plain language that that is its intention. To pretend to do that which we have no intention to do is calculated to bring the Government into more disreputethan all the critics - than all the stinking-fish party “-
– To which the honorable member belongs.
– I challenge the Prime Minister to say that I have ever used one word in depreciation of Australia. A gentleman occupying the position of Prime Minister should be careful as to the statements he makes.
– What is the honorable member saying now ?
-I was just going to say that the passing of a hypocritical statute, such as this-
– At the request of the mother country.
-I was going to say that the passing of a hypocritical Bill, such as this, will do more to defame the Parliament of the Commonwealth than all the articles that have been written, including the severe criticism of the Secretary of the Trades and Labour Council, Sydney, the other day, in the course of which warning was given to intending immigrants not to come to Australia.
– The mother country would like to send the Chinese here asthey sent them to South Africa.
– I understood thePrime Minister to say that this Bill is introduced at the request of the mother - country.
– The honorable memberknows that I said no such thing.
– That I took tobe the effect of the Prime Minister’s interjections.
– The honorable memberwas speaking of the language test, and I have had to correct him several times before in respect to it.
Mr.Mcwilliams.-Which of the two language tests has the Prime Ministerbeen asked to include in this Bill? Wenow have a proposal to strike out the word’ “ European,” and that, I take it, will allow an Asiatic to be tested in an Asiatic language. I understand that the Prime Minister has introduced the clause at the request of the mother country.
– I said no such thing.
– Not the clause asto the prescribed language?
– Did I not understand the Prime Minister to say that the language test was being altered at the request of the mother country?
– I said that the languagetest was introduced into the original Bill under those circumstances the honorable - member knows.
– While I have been speaking, thePrime Minister has. interjected distinctly three times that this Bill is introduced at the request of themother country. Evidently, in consequence of pressure brought to bear, the Prime Minister is going to ask us to strike out theword “ European,” so as to place it in thepower of the Government of the clay tosubject the Asiatic races to an Asiatic language test; and we are asked to accept anamendment declaring that the Bill shall notcome into operation until Parliament shall take further action. That is a position, which was condemned yesterday, and, I think, rightly, by Ministers when dealing with an amendment in another Bill. We are building up a law which we say shall not come into operation until some one else interposes. This Bill will probably have the effect of removing some of the odium which has attached to the Act ; but my chief objection to it is that, if the Federal Government intend to do a certain thing, they ought to do it in a straightforward way. I repeat that the language test is a piece of absolute hypocrisy - that we are deliberately saying that this is a safe measure - that, though a sham, it will attain the end’ in view. That is certainly not the sort of legislation the Commonwealth should pass.
– What would the honorable member substitute for the Bill?
– I should deal with the matter in an honest way. If we do not intend that these aliens should be admitted to Australia, a very good proposal would be one which I had the honour and pleasure of carrying in the State Parliament of Tasmania. I was instrumental in imposing a poll-tax of something like £100 on every Chinaman, If we do not intend to admit these aliens, let us say so. We ought not to perpetuate a sham, espe- cially under pressure from outside. We ought not to delude the people in England, Japan, and elsewhere into the belief that we are going to allow immigration, when we know that by means of the Bill before us we shall prevent any influx of those regarded as undesirable. Whatever we intend, let us be honest to ourselves and the outside world - let us state in plain English what we mean, and let those who administer the Act carrv out our intentions.
– The (honorable member’s appeal for candour and ihonestv is too late. That appeal ought to have been made when this question was discussed by the last Parliament. The two members who have spoken against the present proposal were, unfortunately, not with us when the question was previously considered ; and I am afraid it is now too late to talk about the “hypocrisy,” the “ dishonesty, “ or the “sham” of the measure. The passing of a measure which, on its face, does not really show its intention was not brought about at the desire or with ‘the support of any party in Australia.
– It was done at the request of Mr. Chamberlain.
– The measure was passed under pressure from the British Government - a pressure which a consider able number of honorable members of this Parliament wisely, or unwisely, did not withstand. There were honorable members who opposed the sham to the best of their ability, and the provision was carried by only a small majority. The desire of the opponents of the position was to have a measure stating exactly what we wished to achieve. However, we have to deal with circumstances under which the “sham “ has been in operation. The Act Ls now being administered in such a way as to bring about precisely what was aimed at - the results of the Bill are exactly what we sought to obtain by a straight-out colour-line. It must be admitted that the administration of the Bill has been just what the public of Australia desirein the direction of the maintenance of a White Australia.
– I do not think it has.
– In my opinion, the Act has been administered in the way the public of Australia would desire.
– What is the effect of substituting “ prescribed “ for “European ‘ ‘ ?
– The honorable member knows that the effect depends entirely on the administration.
– Hear, hear !
– The Bill before us simply makes the attainment of a White Australia a little more a matter of administration. Public opinion is undoubtedly in favour of a White Australia; and’ the Government who defies public opinion must be prepared for the reprisals of an outraged people. Personally, however, I have no fear on that score. I do not see very much difference between the two proposals. Even if we had an Act which drew the colour-line, we should have to exercise constant vigilance in order io maintain a White Australia, and chiefly against enemies of our own race, who ever desire to introduce cheap coloured labour. We may ultimately have to take up arms in the maintenance of a White Australia; but we do not want to precipitate that day. I understand that the alterations in the Act are introduced chiefly at the request of the Japanese Government - a request not made directly to us, but known to have been made. We understand that the desire of Japan is to have an opportunity themselves to prevent the influx of their countrymen into Australia. The terms of any arrangement have to be laid before the people’s representatives in this Parliament and agreed to by them, so that, whatever terms may be settled, both parties will be satisfied.
– How has Japan treated us in regard to her land laws and the conditions of residence in that country ?
– So far as the Japanese treaty is concerned, I believe it places both nations on precisely the same footing.
– Europeans are not allowed to reside in Japan without special permission.
– If the honorable member will read the treaty he will see that both countries are placed on the same footing.
– Oh, no; there are the Japanese local laws.
– If the honorable member looks at the treaty he will see that it is as I have stated.
– I have looked at the treaty-
– Unless the method now proposed be adopted, we shall have a continuation of irritability on the part of an allied nation. It will not make any difference so far as an influx of Asiatics is concerned.
– Is the honorable member sure of that ?
– I am sure that it will make no difference as long as the people remain strong in their determination that Australia shall be white. When once that decision weakens, administration of the law may be different from what it has been, and an influx of Asiatics may then take place.But everything depends upon our vigilance in constantly keeping prominently before the people the ideal of a White Australia.
– The honorable member will admit that the Government might whittle down the Act.
– They may do that at the present time, but any Government that attempted to do so would be met by a storm of antagonism.
– If everything is to depend upon administration, why not pass the Bill in blank?
– The honorable member is making an absurd suggestion. We have in our minds the irritation that the present Act has caused the people of an allied nation.
– And also the people of” India.
– Quite so. As long as the alliance between Great Britain and Japan remains irritation is sure tobe caused by the continuance of theold system, and this suggests, at least, the desirableness of removing someof the causes of that feeling. If there were no alliance we should have possibly something more than a feeling of irritation on the part of the Japanese; and might have to consider whether our Defence Force was adequate to effectively maintain a: White Australia. I am as ready as is any honorable member to shoulder arms for the maintenance of the purity of the white races, but I am not going to endeavour to bring about a set of conditions which must almost necessarily be attended by a calls to arms when we can achieve our object by diplomacy.
– Is the honorablemember in favour of the test put to anAsiatic being in an Asiatic language?
– The honorable member is aware that no one is in favour of such a proposal.
– Then why should’ we alter the word “ European “ ?
– The honorablemember is well aware that the object of this Bill is to allay irritation on the part of nations who are prepared by means of treaties, to settle the question of immigration to Australia. Ifwe leave thequestion of the language in which the test is to beapplied an open one, the chances of the present irritation being allayed will be increased. As I have already said, everything will depend upon the administrationof the measure, and upon the presence of a majority in the House in favour of themaintenance of a White Australia. The mere terms of the Bill itself are not a matter of much moment. If I thought that it would lead to the addition of a s.ingle Japaneseor coloured immigrant, I should strongly oppose it, but I do not think that it will make the slightest difference in that regard and, therefore, shall not oppose its second’ reading.
– I agree with thehonorable member for Boothby that this Bill will make no difference as regards thelanguage test. The Ministry evidently started out with the idea that they oughtto have the option of prescribing any language so as to meet the reasonable desire of the Japanese that they should not be placed in the same category as other coloured races. But, evidently subsequent developments affected their opinion, with the result that their present proposal amounts practically to nothing, because no language is to be prescribed as the test, unless with the assent of Parliament. If an honorable member objected to the language prescribed, it would be open to him to table a motion, and to induce some one toblock it, with the result that nothing would be done. The mere fact of a motion having been tabled to disallow a regulation would suspend the operation of the regulation until the motion has been disposed of. We are well aware of the position of private members’ business. Some of the motions submitted by private members are deserving of settlement, but it is only by the most strenuous endeavour on the part of those responsible for them, and the consideration of others, that an opportunity is afforded of bringing them to decision.
– If the honorable and learned member recollects the announcement made by me when introducing this Bill, he will recognise that not the slightest change has taken place in the intentions of the Government.
– I care nothing for Ministerial intentions; I have to deal with the facts before me. What I know is, that the Ministry seem to have adopted a recommendation drawn up. apparentlyby the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne ; that no change is to take place in the existing law, until the Parliament, by resolution, has sanctioned that change. It seems to me ridiculous for the Ministry to take up the position that they will seek power to prescribe a language test suited to the susceptibilities of a race with which we are allied, but that they are not going to apply that test until the Parliament, by resolution, approves of it. Having regard to the momentum which honorable members can give to legislation, by virtue of their being on the Treasury benches, as well as by reason of the alliances to which such a position leads. Ministers ought to have a little more pluck. The position taken upby them in this connexion seems to be scarcely in keeping with the dignity of the Federal Parliament.
– And yet, even with this proviso, the honorable member for Hindmarsh will not trust any one.
– I do not trust even the present Government in this matter.
– That part of the Bill which substitutes for the language test imposed by the Act of 1901, an agreement with a nation as to the method of regulating the immigration of the subjects of that nation will be welcomed. I think, some eight or ten years ago, the Japanese, and also the Chinese, addressed remonstrances to the Imperial Government in regard to the immigration restriction laws of the Colonies. It was pointed out that both nations had been willing, for several years, to regulate the emigration of their subjects to the British Possessions and America., that the whole matter could be arranged by treaty, and that under the operation of these treaties, quite as great a restriction would be imposed upon the subjects of those nations, as would be effected by the restrictive legislation of the various colonies. I am pleased to find that even at this late hour, we are proposing to enter into an arrangement by virtue of which the amourpropre of Japan can be consulted. As Japan is our ally, we are bound to consider her susceptibilities. At the same time, we must be cautious to provide that the Japanese do not come here in too great numbers. No race should be introduced that is incapable of intermarrying with our own people. Where that rule is not observed, the only result is either the exploitation of the lower races, or infertility. Professor Weismann, the great German, points out that the intermarrying of races which are not sufficiently close in type always results in diminished fertility, and a lower standard of ability and character than results from the intermingling of races between whom such differences do not exist. It is difficult toget at the truth about the Japanese. There can be no doubt that they are a great military nation, but according to some writers, that is simply because their internal history from the sixth to the middle of the seventeenth century was a welter of blood. I do not know whether that statement is true, but an interesting article on the subject appears in the Athenaeum of the 19th August last. The Athenaeum is not a paper which writes hysterically on any subject. It is the leading literary journal of England, and perhaps one of the leading literary newspapers in the world. In a review of two books - Bushido, the Soul of Japan, by I. Nitobe. and Young Japan, by James A. B. Scherer - the Athenaum apparently adopts an estimate of the character of the Japanese which in some respects is not overflattering. It points out that the history of old Japan, more or less authentic, from the sixth to the seventeenth century, is a mere welter of blood ; that “ Bushido,” which is a Chinese word adopted by the Japanese, means the “ way of the executioner, ‘ ‘ and that the castes who were designated by that term were -
The executers of the will of irresponsible petty princes or their councils, they were the instruments of oppression and themselves the victims of a pedantic and absolutely merciless ceremonialism.
It goes on to quote from Mr. Scherer’s work as to the general character of the Japanese, and points out that -
He admits to the full, as every one must, “ the five noble qualities of Japanese character : bravery, loyalty, alertness, thoroughness, and self-control.”
At the same time, it states that he goes on to say that -
The two cancers at the core of the Japanese character are deep-set dishonesty and abandoned impurity ; either would be sufficient towreck the life of any nation.
I am not adopting that language. I am merely pointing out that this criticism is approved apparently by a leading English literary weekly. Something a little in the same direction, although far more generous, written by a bishop, appeared recently in the Times, but in justice to the Japanese, it must be said that the Times’ pointed out that so far as allegations of dishonesty were concerned, there was not one case of dishonesty against the Japanese in connexion with the subscriptions to the En’ cyclopaedia Britannica. The obligations incurred in connexion with the Times edition were met by the Japanese in a way which was exceptional, when compared with the honesty of the British people themselves. I believe it was stated that in only one case was a subscription delayed, and that in no case was a subscription not eventually paid. Even those who had to go to the war made provision out of the small remuneration they were receiving to meet the honorable obligations they had incurred. I make this statement in justice to the Japanese, because I have quoted from an article which seems to take a strong and probably an exaggerated view in. the other direction.
– It is too early to judge them. It isonly fifty years since they emerged from a state of semibarbarity.
– No. doubt; but this criticism is based upon the description of the character of the Japanese people by the writers to whom I have referred. We must not judge them on the sudden spurt which they have made during the last fifty-five years in copying Western civilization. It is probable that the Chinese are a better race, but I do not wish to offer an opinion on that point. I am pleased with the alliance that has been entered into. There is no doubt that the Japanese have reversed the opinions entertained prior to the war by Western nations as to their probableprowess, and have established by their self-denying character, their splendid attachment to the ideals of their country, the marvellous ingenuity with which their forces were marshalled by their generals, and the discipline and’ dash of the men, a position which entitles them to the respect of all the other civilized! races of the world. As I have said, under the circumstances, we are getting something, from the Bill that is not, like the earlier clauses, merely a profession, in that wemay have a treaty arranged which maybe acceptable to Japan, and may accomplish the objects we have in view. Personally, I do not believe that thereis very much danger of any considerable immigration of those races. We must beprepared to meet the possibility of such an immigration, but, at the same time, I think we need not fear it. Some articles haveappeaxed in the press of Japan, intimatingthat there might be such’ an immigration of Japanese to Australia, and that Japanesewarships might be used for the purpose.
– The fact that therehas been an increase of many thousands in Hawaii does not show that there is nodanger.
– There is an open door in the Sandwich Islands.
– I do not intend to deal with the other races concerned. I acknowledge the necessity of providing against thepossibility of any considerable increase of this kind of immigration, but when I say that we need not be in a blue funk about thematter, really I am remembering the actual statistics dealing with the immigration of these races during the fast fifty or sixtyyears. There was a Chinese scare got uphere in 1888 by a Conference of Premiers that sat in Sydney, but, as a matter of fact,. while there were 42,000 Chinese in Victoria alone in that year, there were only 43,000 Chinese in the whole of the Commonwealth in 1888. The numbers had shrunk intermittently, no doubt there being sometimes an increase, and sometimes a decrease, but the balance showed a very considerable shrinkage in 1888. A vessel, named The Afghan, came out here carrying 250 Chinese ; so big a shipment led to the impression that the Chinese were going to come in hordes to Australia. However, that shipment was stopped, and that led to the well-known case of Ah Toy v. Musgrove. In 1888 the numbers were gradually dedining.
– They are declining now.
– I do not know the rate of decline, but from 1888 to 1895 the immigration and emigration statistics of New South Wales, at all events, showed a decline in the number of Chinese. I admit that we must be cautious, and in the circumstances I am prepared to support some reasonable principle of restriction.
– We are all agreed that we should not do anything in this Bill to alter thepolicy of a White Australia, which we have already adopted. I do not think any such intention is indicated in the Bill. Of course, we knowthat the efficacy of a language test to exclude undesirable immigrants depends almost entirely on its administration. That that is so under the present form, or any proposed form, must, I think be selfevident. As I have been compelled recently to say some hard things regarding the proposals of the Government. I feel very pleased that on this occasion I am able to congratulate them on the introduction of this Bill.
– That is why we are suspicious of it.
– The measure proposes to do in a less objectionable way what is done under the existing Act, or, in other words, it proposes to do by treaty that which is done now in a way which almost necessarily offends the susceptibilities or a great nation that is our next-door neighbour. I see no danger in this Bill of any serious departure from the policy al ready affirmed, because any treaty which we enter into with the Japanese or with any other nation regulating the intercourse between them and ourselves must be laid before Parliament before it can be acted upon. I think that Parliament, represent ing public opinion throughout Australia, may be trusted to do nothing that will in any way endanger the policy of a White Australia that we have already agreed to. To that extent, therefore, the Bill is a very desirable one. With regard to the difference between a European or a prescribed language, it is more apparent than real. The obvious intention of the language test was to prescribe sucha test as would exclude undesirable immigrants. That, I presume, will be done as effecttively under the proposed amendment as it has been done under the existing arrangement. In common with other honorable members, I feel that it would be much more in conformity with our own desires if we could pass a Bill which would express straight out what we really mean, but we must remember that if, without departing in any way from our original intention to maintain a White Australia, we can meet the desires of another country, it is reasonable that we should do so. We should not forget that the Empire has about 300,000,000 of coloured subjects, and an Act of Parliament passed by a portion of the Empire, expressly excluding those subjects on account of their complexion, must necessarily be offensive to those people. It was pointed out by the Imperial Government that, whilst they in no way desired to interfere with our right to exclude undesirable immigrants, we might do exactly what we proposed to do in a less offensive way. That was the reason which induced the Government of the day, in deference to the susceptibilities of the mother country, to adopt the language test, instead of the straight-out colour line, which would have been much more agreeable to ourselves. In these respects, I think the Government do not intend to depart in any way from the present policy of a White Australia, but desire to carry out that policy in a way less offensive to the susceptibilities of other nations. It is only reasonable that we should do what we can, without endangering our policy in any way, to meet the desires of the mother country. It appears to me that that is the intention of this Bill, and though I may not agree with allits details, with the main object in view, I am in hearty sympathy and accord.
– Listening to some of the speeches delivered this morning, one would think that the Immigration Restriction Act was passed with a view especially to keep out the Japanese. We know that that Act was passed for the purpose of keeping out undesirable immigrants, no matter to what nation they belonged, or from what country they came. When we were passing the measure we were asked by the British Government to adopt the language test in order that it might be said that we were not proposing to treat any nation differently from the way in which we proposed to treat our own. I venture to assert that if the Japanese had not come out victorious from their recent war with Russia we should not have heard all this clamour for an. amendment of our law.
– We had commenced this before the war.
– I point out that the proposed amendment means either that we are prepared to let the Japanese come into Australia, or that we think they are a very simple people. Certainly if we contend that they will be pleased by an alteration to words which mean exactly the same thing, the suggestion is that we think them very foolish people indeed. During the controversy which was raised in connexion with this legislation, we were informed by Japanese Consuls, and others having authority to speak for the Japanese people, that there was never a danger of any considerable incursion of Japanese into Australia; but, while those statements were made, we have now the statement made by an honorable member of this House, who has recently made a trip to America, that thousands of Japanese are at present endeavouring to get into that country. If that be so, and if the statement made by the honorable member for Hindmarsh as to the increase in the number of Japanese in Hawaii be correct, the contention that the Japanese had an ample field for the occupation of thousands of emigrants in the new territories over which they had obtained control must fall to the ground. I desire to say a word or two with respect to the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act in the past. We have heard it stated that it has been administered as the people of Australia desired, -but I can prove that prohibited immigrants are finding their way into the Commonwealth, and that, when, they are not kept on board ship, and are allowed to land, they are being kept by the States Governments until the ship leaves the port at which she has called. There is nothing in the Bill now before us which, so far as I can discern, will alter that state of affairs. If it is to> be passed as it stands, I believe that shipmasters coming here with prohibited immigrants will be able to evade its provisions whenever they choose. One case which, amongst others, I could recite to< show how easily this can be done, is that of a Chinaman who was allowed toleave a vessel. He was practically. “ crimped “ ashore, and the course usually adopted was followed in that case. Theshipmaster immediately offered a reward of. *£5 for the man’s apprehension. As hewas not apprehended, the shipmaster, before leaving the port with his ship, had todeposit £100 with the Customs authorities.. As he left the port without the prohibited’ immigrant, the agents of the vessel weresummoned, and fined £10. They immediately afterwards secured the refund of” the ^100 deposit, and. the £5 put up asa reward for the apprehension of the prohibited immigrant, with the result that this; Chinaman was landed in Australia at acost to the agents of the vessel of £10 ; and, as it was afterwards established thatthey owed the Chinaman ^25 in wages,, they made £15 out of the transaction.
– The honorable memberwill find that that is met in this Bill.
– I find that the Bill’ contains a clause imposing a fine of £tooon any shipmaster who allows a prohibited immigrant to land contrary to the provisions of the Bill, but the provision whichexempts the masters and crews of vesselsremains unaltered, and the new provision- is effective only where the shipmaster allows a prohibited immigrant- to land.
– Under the Bill, the captain who, under any circumstances, whether wilfully or not, lands a prohibited immigrant, is liable to a fine. The honorablemember very properly called my attentionto the flaw in the Act, and I think that weshall succeed in remedying it.
– I wish to make certain that the Act does not require furtheralteration to put a stop to the practices to which I have referred. In any case, I doubt whether the imposition of a. fine of” ^100 will place us in a better position thanthe States were in under their laws.
– The New South Waleslaw imposed a penalty of £100.
– Even if a fine of £100 had been exacted in the case which I have just mentioned, the Chinamanwould practically have been permitted to- enter the Commonwealth at a cost of only £75 to the owners of the vessel by which he came. Possibly he may have stayed here against his own wish, because it is a common thing, when a ship arrives in port with a big wages bill to pay, for those interested to try to get the sailors to desert, in order to effect a saving. Where it can be proved that foreign sailors who are prohibited immigrants have been allowed to land by the connivance of the shipowners, or captain, or any person on shore, a fine of ,£100 is inadequate. Then, too, it sometimes happens, when a captain has among his crew prohibited immigrants, and the ship is remaining in port for any length of time, that he will allow them to go ashore, and then cause them to be arrested for desertion, when they are’ taken before a magistrate and sent to gaol, being kept there at the expense of the Government of the State until the ship is ready to proceed to sea, when they are put on board again. That sort of thing frequently happens in nearly every port of Australia. Does the Prime Minister think it fair that the Governments of the States should have to bear the expense of keeping such men during the stay of the vessel in port, which, in places like Newcastle, ls sometimes as long as two or three months? Why should not the interests of the foreign sailors themselves be studied? The ship’s officers should not be allowed to get rid of the responsibility of looking after the men on board, and should be prevented from practically causing them to become criminals in the way I have described. I view any proposed amendment of the Aliens Restriction Act with concern, and in Committee shall watch very carefully to see that the measure is not made less stringent, while I shall also endeavour to have remedied certain defects in it, so that it may be perfected as an instrument for maintaining the policy in which every member of this Parliament has affirmed his belief - that of a White Australia.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh suggested that the trouble to which reference has been made has probably been due to the faulty administration of the Aliens Restriction Act, and he said that if the present leader of the Opposition were returned to power after the next general elections, there would be reason to fear that the Act would be administered in such a way as to permit of the wholesale immigration of un desirable persons. I do not think that the honorable member had any justification for that statement, and, in my opinion, it will be better to discuss the amending Bill without making such suggestions, giving all honorable members credit for the best of motives, whatever their position in regard to it may be. The honorable the leader of the Opposition has frequently expressed his belief in the principle of n. White Australia, and he has certainly shown himself to be a fair -and prudent administrator of the laws. I believe in maintaining the racial purity of the people of Australia, and I do not think that there is much difference of opinion amongst honorable members as to the desirability of doing so. But it is desirable to avoid unnecessarily irritating the nations whose subjects we exclude by our legislation^ and the Bill seems to me to be an attempt to do that. While it does not surrender our right to preserve Australia for a white race, it makes the provisions of the law less objectionable to those it seeks to exclude. The Government are to be commended for altering our legislation so that it will be less distasteful to the Japanese nation, with which, as part of the British Empire, we are in close alliance. The fear has been expressed that the Bill will open the door to the wholesale immigration of Asiatics into Australia. I do not think that the proposals before the House give any cause for alarm in that connexion other than existed previously. As a matter of fact, we have the assurance of her Government that it is not the desire of Japan to use Australia as a dumping ground for her surplus population.
– Nor is it the desire of any country to use its population in that way.
– Not necessarily. We know that m some countries, the population gets so overcrowded that it becomes very necessary for the Government to lookout for desirable fields of colonization, and this is no less the case with Japan than with other nations.
– Does the honorable member describe such people as “ surplus population “?
– If the honorable member had been paying attention he would not have asked such a. silly question. We in Australia have nothing to fear in that connexion, because, as the result of the recent war with Russia, Japan has acquired Korea, which will afford ample room for many years to come for the settlement of any surplus population which the former country may have. I only mention that fact because it gives point to the declaration, of the Japanese officials that they have no desire to use Australia as a colonizing ground for their surplus population.
– What are the millions who are in Korea to-day going to do?
– It has not anything like so large a population as Japan. The honorable member has only to refer to the statistics of population in the two countries to realize that in Korea there is ample room1 yet for the settlement of a very large additional population.
– It is very thickly populated.
– So long as Japan has a neighbouring territory which can be utilized, and which offers peculiar advantages for the settlement of her surplus population, I do not think-that we have anything to fear in that connexion for many years to come. I do not say that a few years ago there was not a possibility, if not a probability, of Japan looking to Australia, especially to the Northern Territory, as a possible colonizing field for her surplus population. But I submit that the result of the RussoJapanese war has changed the aspect of matters in that regard. The only reason underlying the objection of the Japanese people has been set forth very plainly. They object, not so much to Japanese being kept out of the Commonwealth, as to the attempt to class them with nations which they regard as inferior to themselves. They ask that the immigration to Australia shall be regulated in another way - by a friendly treaty between the two Governments - and this seems to me a reasonable proposition. So far as I can understand, they do not desire that the Commonwealth shall abate one jot of its right to exclude those whom it may consider undesirable immigrants. They only desire that they shall be treated with ordinary courtesy, and recognised as an ally with Great Britain, and that the immigration to- the Commonwealth shall be regulated by a method less offensive. lt seems to me that in trying to meet their objection, the Government is doing right, and to the extent to which it is endeavouring to meet the difficulty in a way which will not give rise to friction, or continue the friction which has been created, it cer tainly is deserving of support bv every well-wisher of Australia.
– When I see how earnestly the members of the Opposition are welcoming this Bill, I, as a democrat, am satisfied that it is dangerous for the well-being of the Commonwealth. I may be mistaken, but that is my feeling. I am afraid of my judgment, when I see the enthusiasm with which my honorable friends opposite are welcoming the Bill.
– The honorable member’s judgment is hinged on that of other men.
– My judgment, like that of every other intelligent man, is liable to enlargement, according to the progress of the age. My view is indorsed by the greatest national daily organ in the Southern Hemisphere - an organ which is often wrong in its democracy, but generally right in its nationality - which says that the Prime Minister ought not to have attempted to alter a law, which, in every way, met the situation, and which is not half so stringent as the law of the United States or Canada, or any other civilised nation. We’ embodied in that law the recommendations of the British Government, and the Prime Minister was AttorneyGeneral in the Barton Ministry when it was placed upon the statute-book. But now, because of the cry of the opponents of the White Australia policy - because of. the cry of what the honorable member for Hindmarsh has described as the “ stinking fish “ party - our democratic Government brings in this Bill, I believe conscientiously, before the Parliament for its consideration. I have heard honorable members say that the Japanese, would not come to Australia, that the Emperor, Ministry, and Parliament of Japan are not in favour of Japanese coming here. When the Japanese begin to emigrate, when they have money enough to leave their own country, they do not ask their Emperor where they will go, any more than Australians would try to find out from the Prime Minister where they should go. The Japanese will go wherever they can do best for themselves. I notice by American newspapers that their correspondents, without any ill-feeling, say that wherever they travel in Japan. Korea, or Manchuria, the one great idea of the people i”5 to get enough money to enable them either to get into the United States if thev can, or to go to Australia, in order to make a “bit,” and return to live like big men on a small amount. According to one of the American correspondents, a man with a couple of thousand pounds is regarded as a financial Emperor in Japan. If that is true - and we know that it is - why should we make it possible for our Immigration Restriction Act to be administered by a Minister according to his idea of the people who ought to come into Australia ?
– We shall have to get the consent of both Houses of this Parliament.
– I can quite see how genuine the Prime Minister is in submitting this Bill, and I wish I could look at the matter as he does.
– I shall satisfy the honorable member as soon as we get into Committee.
– I know that my honoured leader is also of the sameopinion. I differ from the honorable member for Bland and the Prime Minister, and I desire to divide the House on the motion for the second reading of the Bill.
– Would it not be better for the honorable member to wait until the Bill reaches the Committee stage, so that he may vote for those provisions of which he approves ?
– Perhaps, that would be the better course to take. For years and years the people of New York and the other States on the Atlantic coast could not be prevailed upon to join in a movement for the exclusion of Chinese from America. When a number of Congressmen of the Eastern States visited San Francisco, they were dropped down in themidst of China town, and were lost there for the night. What they saw there brought home to them a full realization of the terrible crime they were committing, and the utter degradation to which they were exposing the whites, by introducing people of Oriental races who were entirelyunfamiliar with the conditions of life among Europeans. I do not say that Orientals are inferior to Europeans - I am not speaking from that stand-point; but I contend that they cannot be assimilated with white populations. The poll-tax imposed by the United States proved utterly inadequateto exclude Chinamen from that country. The six big companies of California notonly paid to ship captains the 500 dols.deposit required by the Customs officials, butalso bribed them to allow Chinamen to getaway from their ships.
– Not one in 50,000 could afford to pay a poll-tax of£100.
– That was arranged for by the big companies which were making money out of the introduction of Chinese into the States. Similar combinations would operate here in the same way. Abraham Lincoln once said that you could fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time. Soit is in connexion with this measure. The public will not be fooled into the belief that Chinamen will be kept out whilst it is possible to bribe ship captains and others to bring them in here. It was reported recently that Chinamen were stowed away in the coal bunkers of a vessel which recently arrived at F remantle, and there is no doubt that ship captains are being bribed to bring coloured aliens to Australia. Every one in this country who is not a millionaire is endeavouring to become one as soon as possible, and many people are not particular as to the means which they employ to that end. Is it to be supposed that men who are anxious to become rich will be proof against the inducements which could be offered to them under a measure of this kind to introduce Asiatics into Australia? Bad as the Chinese are in America, in that they drive white workers out of certain employments, the Japanese are infinitely worse.
– That is because they are better men.
– An agitation for the exclusion of Japanese from the United States is now proceeding. This is not attributable to any ill-feeling towards the Japanese, but is due to the fact that wherever they settle the white man has to go. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a large settlement which was previously occupied by whites has been absorbed by the Japanese, who have bought out, or driven out, the former occupants. The Japanese now own a large number of the orchards of California. They do not spend a single dollar in the country; they import everything they want from Japan, and send their money to that country . That might be very good for Japan, but it would not be of benefit to a country like Australia, If the Japanese settled in Australia inany numbers, whether in the Northern Territory or elsewhere, they would gradually acquire vested interests, and, if we attempted to regulate them, would appeal totheir
Government, and bring upon us a trouble similar to that which arose from the settlement of Uitlanders in the Transvaal. It would have been better for the Boers if they hadnever allowed a European to settle in their territory. Now, what has happened in the Transvaal ? Instead of furnishing a field for the employment of thousands of British subjects, it has become a den of Chinese slavery. By the aid of the gold mines, the country should have been settled by British people, who would have purchased British goods from British manufacturers, and would have carried British guns if the nation had ever become involved in war. I cannot understand how any one can desire to make the Commonwealth half white and half black, or half white and half yellow. No nation could prosper under such conditions. A few hundreds of years ago the Liverpool merchants, with a view to afford an opening for their trade in the colonies which now form the Southern States of America, established slavery there, and, as a consequence, the United States Government now have to face a serious race problem. Let us profit by the lesson that is to be derived from the experience of the United States, and at once abandon the idea of admittingcoloured aliens to theCommonwealth. I desire to know whether if the word “European” is struck out that will enable the administrator of the Act to admit immigrants who know the Chinese or the Japanese language ? I will now read a fewpassages from a leading article published in the Age newspaper of 13th November. It says -
It may be hoped that the Prime Minister’s amendments of the Immigration Restriction Act will not be accepted by Parliament. They are virtually an abandonment of a White Australia. They open the door to all sorts of dangers and abuses; and they do so without any justifiable reason. In striking out of the Act as it stands the need of coloured aliens passing an education test in a European language, permission is virtually given to any Minister who chooses to let in any number of a coloured race. Mr. Deakin himself has taught us what that means. We know what use Mr.Reid made of his period of power. He endeavoured by the indefinite extension of a period of fiscal truce to subvert the Protectionist policy of Australia by the continuance of a Tariff which is strangling some of the industries of one State.
Again, the article says -
That change could have no bad effect at all as long as there was in office a man loyal to the policy of a White Australia. Mr. Deakin himself could be fully trusted to “prescribe” such a language test as would exclude every undesirable alien. But very few people indeed in the Liberal camp would intrust a similar power in Mr. Reid’s hands, or in those of Mr. Bruce Smith, Mr. Dugald Thomson, or any of their immediate coterie. As the law stands at present, it is safe and effective, and no one can say that it has been productive of any serious inconvenience.
Further down it says -
Mr. Hutchison was not travelling an inch beyond the records when he said that the innovation proposed by the Prime Minister wasa blow at the policy of a White Australia, and nothing which Mr. Deakin advanced in support of his proposal relieved it of that imputation.
– The honorable member must not read newspaper comments upon parliamentary debates.
– I am reading a leading article referring to the question before the House. Is that against the rules ?
– The honorable member must see that what he was reading were not comments upon the Bill but upon a debate in this House. That is not in order.
– I should have liked to read a few more passages from the article, but they are all upon the same lines, showing that this measure will endanger the White Australia policy. It is a wellknown fact that the recent boycott of American goods in China was inspired by the capitalists of the United States, who wished to create a feeling in favour of weakening the Alien Immigration Act of that country. Their object was to be able to do as the millionaires of the Rand had done - import Chinese as slaves to work in the mines. Files of the American newspapers to hand show that American capitalists wished the Chinese to be brought into America in order that they might replace white men by docile slaves. They desire to substitute Chinese slavery for black slavery. Suppose this Australian continent is not filled during our life-time with a population of tens of millions, what will it matter? Australia is the last resort for the British race. It is a place set apart for the surplus population of Great Britain.
– -They are shut out.
– I am amazed that the honorable member should make such a declaration. How are they shut out? The only people belonging to the white race who are shut out from Australia are criminals and lunatics. We do not want them. Has not the honorable and learned member seen in the newspapers accounts of theMafias., the Italian secret society, in New York? Those people have been allowed to flock in and destroy the peace, order, and good government of the city. We must have immigration restriction laws to prevent the immigration of such people. It is our duty to make it impossible for this country to become the resort of those who would,, on the one hand, black-mail and sweat the people of this country, and on the other become “ boodlers.”
– I regret very much that this Bill has been introduced, especially as we are so near to the close of the session. In view of the discussion which took place in 1901, when the original Immigration Restriction Act was introduced, I can only regard the measure from beginning to end as practically a piece, of hypocrisy. I have always regretted that one of the most vital matters of policy affecting the future of Australia should be based on hypocrisy. I am not blaming the Government for that any more than. I blame those who voted for the section imposing the education test. But it struck me that, though we intended to impose a law to keep out Asiatics, we had not the moral courage tol say exactly what we meant. I remember hearing the right honorable member for East Sydney taunt the then Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, with being so docile and meek that he was practically under the thumb of Mr. Chamberlain. He alleged that whatever the then Colonic 1 Secretary desired, Sir Edmund Barton was prepared to say, “ Yes, Mr. Chamberlain.” Indeed, a considerable portion of the debate turned upon the point that we were not in a position to legislate upon this subject as we might desire, but had to accept a certain amount of dictation from the Imperial Government. I wish to know whether we are in the same position now, and whether we are still prepared to accept dictation from the Imperial Government. This may be but a small matter, and some honorable members may regard it as a means of coming into line with the necessities of British politics. But, no matter how trifling it mav appear for the moment to be. it may ultimately turn out to be a very important matter of principle. We ought at all times to guard our rights, and shoulder our responsibilities, in connexion with any legislation that we may i:ass. Are we not aware that the Japanese have known all along that our intention in imposing the education test was to keep them and other Asiatics out of Australia? Does any one mean to suggest that they are not sufficiently intelligent to know that, although we alter the terms of the Immigration Restriction Act, the amending measure will be so administered as still to keep them out? Under the circumstances, I claim that we ought to directly exclude coloured aliens. I believe that up to the present time, the Act has not been administered in such a way as to give effect to our original intentions. That Statute conferred upon the Government of the day. power to entirely exclude these undesirable immigrants.
– The honorable member’s leader has said that the Act has effected all that it was designed to accomplish.
– I am not concerned with what my leader may have said. No doubt if the honorable member for Parramatta will follow him, he will be very pleased to welcome him as a new’ convert. The present law has not effectually excluded coloured Asiatics. Under the Bill as it was originally drafted, there was ample power to effect that object, had its provisions been properly administered. I do not know how many coloured Asiatics have been admitted to Australia under various Administrations, but I do know that if the law had been administered in accordance with our intentions, a large number of those who have been admitted would have been excluded. According to the latest return, the total number admittedto the Commonwealth since the Act was passed, is 7,026.
– How many of those have left?
– I do not know. The latest return, which was published in the newspapers only yesterday, shows that more coloured aliens have been admitted to Queensland than were admitted to that State prior to the enactment of this legislation. Then again, the number of permits issued to Chinese entering Australia is simply enormous. I make bold to say that there is not a nation under heaven in which - judging from the number of Chinese who leave Australia - so many are able to take trips abroad. Upon all hands it is recognised that many of these permits are frauds,, and yet the States are still allowed to issue them.
– Not now’.
– I am very pleased to hear that. Last year, out of the small number of Chinese in Australia - some 20,000 odd - there were no less than 847 who could afford to take trips abroad: That is an enormous percentage, and evidences that there must be a leakage somewhere. In addition, the coloured aliens admitted to the Commonwealth during the period, included 9 Cingalese, 54 Philippinos, 64 Hindoos, and 461 Japanese.
– What education test was applied to them ?
– That is what I wish to know.
– Out of the 461 Japanese, 419 were engaged in pearling operations They simply landed, signed on, and then went to their boats.
– Nearly every issue of the Torres Straits Pearler contains an announcement of a reward for the apprehension of certain Japanese who have left their indentured masters. They get from the pearling vessels to the mainland, and are then at libertyto travel throughout the States. . I would further point out that when the master of a vessel who allows coloured aliens to be introduced into Aus- tralia is hauled before the Court, he is often fined only£2 or£3. These undesirables are perfectly prepared to pay that amount.
– The captain may owe them twice that amount in wages.
– A number of alien immigrants have secured admission in that way. Under these circumstances I think it is idle - especially at this late stage of the session-
– Is it a late stage ?
– It is generally expected that the session will close next week.
– Is that intimation official ?
– It is what I have been led to believe. I do not know whether it is official. I claim that this matter should have received more consideration. I am opposed to the Bill, and. accordingly, I shall vote against its second reading.
– I have no desire to delay the second reading of this measure, but I cannot give a silent vote upon it. In submitting it for our consideration, the Prime Minister gave a masterly exposition of the White Australia policy, and I do not intend to accuse him of weakening upon that policy, or of attempting to depart from it in any degree. I believe that both he and his colleagues are in close touch with Australian sentiment, and that even if they wished to do so they would not dare to act contrary to the general opinion upon this question. But I am not convinced that the Government are justified in asking the House to agree to the proposal that is embodied in clause 4 of the Bill. We have had no official intimation that either Great Britain or Japan has made any specific request for an amendment of the existing, law.
– That is correct.
– Butthe understanding is that in some way or other are intimation has been received that the passing of a measure such as this would remove some of the causes of irritation that exist, more particularly among the officials of the Japanese nation, with whom England has recently renewed her alliance.. That raises the important question as to how far we, in our legislation for Australia, should be affected by Imperial considerations. I shall not attempt to discuss that question at length, but merely say that I am loyal to the Empire, and recognise Australia’s dependence, to some extent, onGreat Britain for our defence for some time to come. I think it would not be advisable for a Government to ask the people to approve of legislation of this kind, not because we ourselves desire it, but because the Colonial Office have asked us to pass it in the interests of the Empire. The people of Australia have aspirations for a national life of their own, and, while loyal to the Empire, would resent any attempt at interference with our domestic or national policy. My fear is that if we pass these amendments we may open the door to similar intimations, which may be more farreaching in their effects.
– We have interfered with British legislation.
– What about the Transvaal resolution?
– We simply expressed an opinion, which is a very different matter from an official intimation that we desired the Imperial Parliament to pass certain legislation. I shall reserve what I have to say further, until the Committee stage is reached : but my chief objection to the clause, to which particular reference has been made, is that it contemplates the abolition of European languages as a test.
– Not the abolition of European languages.
– In some cases, yes.
– The power lies with Parliament, if it thinks fit, to add other languages to the European languages.
– We cannot get away from the fact that with the amendments contemplated it is possible or probable that European languages, as a test, may be abolished.
– If that is not the object what is the meaning of the Bill ?
– That is the view I take. At certain times waves of feeling, take possession of the public mind and their effects are felt within these walls. It is almost impossible, as we know, for a majority of this or any other Parliament to withstand a passing wave of public opinion or public clamour in favour of certain legislation. For that reason, I would much rather see the legislation made definite, than that it should be left to a resolution of the House at a time, when, perhaps, the pressure of popular opinion may lead to a step we shall regret. I support the second reading of theBill, with the object of endeavouring to secure amendments in some of the clauses. But I shall be found strongly opposed to the passing of clause 4.
– I much regret that a question so important should have been brought forward at this late period of the session. It is a matter of oractical impossibility to keep pace with the many measures introduced, that is, to read and understand the various clauses. Indeed, it would be much better to leave the drafting and consideration of these measures to a Committee of halfadozen, so as to insure at least some deliberation.
– We do not want governmentby committee.
– I, too, am totally opposed to government by committee but under the circumstances it is advisable to insure at least some consideration of the proposals submitted. In the present case only the draftsman and one Minister have apparently, had timeto deliberate onthe measure. No better proof that the Ministers generally have not had time to give any attention to this amending Bill, could be afforded than the fact that, when the Minister in charge happens to leave the Chamber, none of his colleagues are able to take his place. This only shows that the pace is far too fast to insure the due consideration of measures by the Government, and that we now have legislation at the hands of single Ministers, and not from the Cabinet as a whole.
– The remedy for that rests with the House.
– A remedy might be found in devoting longer time to the Consideration of the Bills submitted. It is sometimes complained by Ministers that a week or ten days is devoted to the discussion of a measure; but I venture to saythat if in 1901 more time had been devoted to the Immigration Restriction Act, many amendments would have been found to be unnecessary. As the case is now, however, we have not one, but two, amending Bills introduced. After all, the vital principle is to preserve, as far as possible, Australia for the people of our own race. It is self-preservation, and there can be no stronger or sounder doctrine than that the people should demand for themselves and their children, some dwelling-place wherein will flourish the institutions they most favour. We should not be patriotic or true citizens if we had not a fundamental belief in that principle. When we were asked tocalmly stand aside and submit to a peaceful invasion, which would just as surely wipe us out as would a warlike invasion, we were absolutely justified in adopting some effective means of defence. To that extent, and to that extent only, is legislation of this kind justified. What I disapproved of at the time, and what I have since seen more reason to disapprove of. isthat when we could have accomplished the larger part of our aims in a peacefulway, we chose to adopt the mostobjectionable means we could. The means adopted doubtless carried out the intention of the House, but they went a great deal further than was necessary. For instance, when Japan offered us a peaceful method of excluding immigrants whom we did not desire to come here in large number, lest they might change the character and the habits of our people, why did we not accept its offer? We declined to arrange the matterbytreaty. Under a certain degree of pressure, it seems that the Government propose to make changes. the chief of which is the abolition of the present test in an European language, so that the Minister administering the Act for the time being will be at liberty to frame the test in any form he pleases. I have always entertained a strong objection to placing an extreme power in the hands, of a Minister. I do not like such a delegation of power. The House appears to be constantly falling into the danger of placing a despotic power in the hands of Ministers - a power so great that, if we fully understood what we were doing, we should not think of granting it. The proposal, however, seems to be treated lightly. When the honorable member for Kennedy voiced his objection to it, I heartily agreed with him. We should not place any Minister above the law, and yet that is what we are asked to do.
– Nothing should be left to regulation which can be clearlyprovided for in the Bill itself.
– Quite so. We should not allow bureaucratic influences to prevail. It would seem that the folly of legislators is. building up a corrective, and that many honorable members quite unconsciously are handing over to large bureaucracies a power which in the past has been almost entirely controlled by the Parliament. In view of the actions of some legislators at the present time, I do not see in this practice the danger that I should have feared a few years since. That, however, is merely by the way. It seems to me that the amendment of which notice has been given by the Prime Minister could best be carried into effect by striking out the clauses, giving the Minister power to prescribe the test. The amendment provides that -
No regulation prescribing any language shall have any force until it has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament for thirty days, or if within that time a resolution has been proposed in either House of the Parliament to disapprove of the regulation until the motion has been disposed of.
– Such a motion might be kept going interminably.
– We have seen that done. One honorable member will be able to object to the test prescribed, with the result that it will be held in abeyance for an indefinite period.
– Does the honorable and learned member think that a Government would allow such a thing?
– In view of the honorable member’s experience, I think that they would allow a great deal.
– But would the House allow it?
– We have known the same notices of motion to appear on the business-paper from one session to another. Honorable members objecting to a-test prescribed by the Minister would take the road presenting the most difficulties to its adoption. On some pretext or other the consideration of the motion would be delayed.
– We have the closure standing orders.
– If the honorable member means to suggest that those standing orders are to be used to prevent reasonable discussion, he should not have supported them.
– They are designed to prevent a waste of time.
– The honorable member was one of those who said that time was. being wasted in discussing the original Bill, and yet it has been found necessary by the Ministry to introduce two amending measures. Some honorable members appear to think that it is a waste of time to attempt to discuss any measure. Had the original Bill been properly discussed we should not have met with the present difficulties. The Prime Minister himself has been unable to determine which principle should prevail, and that, to my mind, is a reason why thismeasure should not be pushed through the House at the present time. It should be allowed to remain in abeyance until the’ Cabinet has arrived at a definite decision. I presume that the Prime Minister assumed that the Bill, as drafted, afforded the best means of overcoming existing difficulties ; but other members of the Cabinet, or private members, must hold . a different opinion, otherwise we should not have had circulated a set of amendments which practically nullify the Bill as submitted. When the framers of a measure have not fairly considered it, or made up their minds as to the best course to pursue, it is incumbent upon them not to ask the House to deal with it, especially in the closing days of the session. The supporters of the Government rely on their bringing forward a well-considered measure, but that has not been done in this case. This practice is especially objectionable when the House is sitting from twelve to fourteen hours a day, and when there cannot be that discussion upon Bills submitted to us that ought to take place. The inevitable effect of this will be that new troubles will arise. No honorable member is prepared to give proper consideration to this measure, because our attention has been closely devoted for some weeks past to other Bills. The Bill before us repeals paragraphs m and n of section 3 of the original Act. Under those paragraphs, a man who is not a prohibited immigrant is allowed to bring in his wife and all children apparently under the age of eighteen years, whilst any man who can satisfy the officer concerned that he has been formerly domiciled in the State is exempt from the provisions of the Act. Whilst we allow men of an alien race to live here in small numbers, less danger is likely to arise from permitting them to bring in their wives than must eventuate from allowing the present state of affairs to continue. In an assemblage of men, I need not go into all the reasons that actuate me in that bslief ; but I am satisfied that the more honorable members think of this point, the more fully they will recognise the desirableness of allowing these aliens to bring in their wives. For that reason, I think that the proposal to repeal paragraphs m and n of section 3 of the original Act is a mistake. Many cases of great hardship nave arisen - aliens who have been living here for twenty years or more having been refused permission to land their wives after once taking them out of the Commonwealth. Surely that is not a good thing for the community. Surely it is not based upon those principles of equity and justice which ought to prevail among all civilized nations. We are a young and a weak community ; but. even if we were a powerful nation, we should still recognise those principles. That which is not morally right can never be politically or financially right. Although it may seem expedient, in the long run it always turns out to be an evil and a menace to the community to depart from fundamental moral principles. We are paying no attention to one side of the moral aspect of the question when we say that a man who has been living here for some years shall not be allowed to bring in his wife. Under the original Act, there is some escape from that position, and in a few cases the sense of justice and equity of the Minister administering the Act has been touched. Even the right honorable member for East Sydney, when Minister of External Affairs, allowed some of the cases brought under his notice to be put beyond the scope of the Immigration Restriction Act. This shows that he considered that to have refrained from doing so would have been to contravene the principles of equity and justice.
– To what class of cases does the honorable and learned member refer?
– They were cases in which the wives of immigrants who had formerly lived in Australia were not allowed to land. In some instances this involved considerable hardship. I think that in one case a man who had been living in. Australia for twenty-five years was not permitted to bring in his wife after his return: from a visit to his- own country.
– Many who pretend to> have been here before have never been in the country. The statements of those desirous of entering Australia cannot always, be relied on.
– No doubt that is so, but in the cases to which I refer it wasclearly proved that the men had formerly lived here. Even under the Bill the Minister will not have sufficient power to deal” fairly with cases of this kind.
– If every Chinaman who left Australia returned with a wife, we should soon have a large number of Chinese living here.
– There is very little danger of Australia being swamped by Chinese, because the Minister may refuse to admit even men who, prior to leaving” Australia, had lived here for many years. Besides, our knowledge of the world should” teach us that it may be better to allow acertain number of foreign women to comehere. A provision which it seems to merequires amendment is that of substituted’ clause 14A, which provides that - -
Every member of the police force of any State, and every officer may, without warrant,, arrest any person reasonably supposed to be aprohibited immigrant.
I could understand such a provision if itwere to apply only in out-of-the-way places, to meet the isolated cases to which theMinister referred; but, even then, I thinkit would be unnecessary. The regulations, however, might be so framed that the Minister could authorize any police officer toact in the manner provided for, and if theclause were amended to read, “ The-
Minister may authorize any member of the police force,” my objection to ic would be largely removed. It must be remembered that we are allowing the Government to make arrangements with foreign Governments for the admission of certain of their subjects on the presentation of passports, duly vised, and on the observance of other necessary precautions against imposition. Even the honorable member for Bland, when in office, agreed that this might be done. The men who will come here under this arrangement will belong chiefly to the tourist class, who will come here for purposes of sight seeing, or to the merchant class, who will come here to obtain trade. At all events, they will be men recommended by the Governments whose subjects they are, and it would be a great affront to those Governments if any of them were suddenly arrested in the streets of one of our large cities, without other authority than this provision, by any member of the police force who chose to take such action. The power is one which is not likely to be often abused, but we should not run the risk of it being abused at all. It might happen, if the clause were left as it stands, that some raw member of the force, anxious to distinguish himself, might availhimself of this power to be offensive :to one of these persons whom we are practically inviting to our shores. In my opinion the provision goes beyond what is safe or sound, and is likely to create difficulties in our relations with foreign Governments, because, possibly, the visitor subjected to indignity might be a man of influence and high rank in his own country. I trust, therefore, that the Minister will agree to the amendment which I have suggested.
I am sorry that the measure is being brought forward so late in the session.
II extends the power of the Minister to make arrangements with foreign Governments, but, in my opinion, effects no real improvement of the Alien Restriction Act. The success of legislation of this kind depends largely upon its administration, and the administration of the past has not been such as to justify us in anticipating very successful results in the future. Had the measure been brought in earlier, I think there would have been a better recognition ot what is due to other nations, and I would then anticipate less difficulty in the future than I now foresee. In my opinion, it would be better to postpone its fur- ther consideration until next session, when we will come fresh to it, and will be able to give full attention to the various points put forward bv honorable members.
– I regret that the Government have introduced legislation to amend the Alien Restriction Bill. At the last election every opportunity was- taken to decry that measure, and the opponents of the Labour Party made use of it against us. Having successfully defended ourselves in regard to it, why should we now allow it to be modified? Queensland will be the greatest sufferer if more aliens are permitted to enter the Commonwealth, because Chinese, and the people of the other coloured races, make for that State first. There is now in Queensland a great number of Chinese, Japanese, and other coloured aliens, living amidst all the filth and dirt imaginable, and why should that State be a receptacle for the black, brown, and brindles of the whole world? I shall oppose the motion for the second reading. We often hear of Chinese puzzles, but the measure seems to me to provide a Japanese puzzle. I cannot understand what language is to be used as the education test. Why should we substitute for an “ European “ language a “ prescribed “ language ? What language is to be prescribed? Is it to be the Japanese language? Those who support the Bill’ appear to be favorable to the admission of Japanese to Australia because their nation has recently defeated Russia after a great struggle. That is no reason why we should be afraid of Japan. In my opinion, both the Russians and the Japanese are practically savag.es, except in their knowledge of civilized methods of warfare, though probably the Japanese are more civilized and humane than are the Russian’s. “Still, that is no reason why we should admit them into Australia. I know the evils which have resulted from the admission of Japanese men, and especially of Japanese women, into Queensland, and it would be a disgrace to allow any more of them to come here. They do not come to Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.
– We have a great many in the Northern Territory.
– Yes, but thev are more isolated there, and do not come as much into contact with white people as they do in Queensland. Round about Cairns, and in other places on the Herbert
River, we find that there are great numbers of Japanese, Chinese, and other blacks, browns, and brindles, engaged in the. sugar industry, and I do not wish their number to be increased. It is not the administration of the law by the present Government that we are afraid of, but its administration by future Governments. I am satisfied that if we amend the law in the manner proposed we shall find it difficult to preserve a White Australia. I, therefore, intend to oppose the second reading of the Bill. The Labour Party, which went to the country as the main supporters of that measure, came back stronger than ever, and I do not see why we should modify legislation of which the electors have approved. I do not believe in introducing any of the black races into Australia, and I shall certainly oppose any provisions in. the Bill that would have the effect of opening the door for them.
– Every true Australian, whether by birth or adoption, should seriously consider the proposal now submitted to us. We are asked to amend an Act of Parliament which has occupied a more prominent place in the public attention than perhaps any other measure passed by an Australian Parliament. I believe that the Prime Minister is sincere in his desire to preserve a White Australia, bub it is human to err, and I think that the honorable gentleman is now taking a course which I think he will have cause to regret.
– The Bill is intended to close up the loop-holes that now exist.
– Yes, but whilst some of the provisions of the Bill are intended to operate in that direction, others will have the effect of opening the back door more widely than ever, and, under the administration of a Government not fully sympathetic with the White Australia policy, of permitting a wholesale influx of coloured aliens.
– I think not.
– I take the opposite view. In view of the extent to which coloured aliens are monopolizing trade and industry, particularly in the country districts of the various States, we should be careful to refrain from adopting any course that would lead to the augmentation of their numbers. At Wellington, one of the most prosperous towns in New South Wales - and it is the most prosper ous settlements that are chosen by coloured aliens for the pursuit of their operations- - the Assyrians, who, of all foreigners, are the most objectionable to the housewives of the bush, are taking possession of the whole of the business. In other towns the Chinese are predominant among the traders. In the Tumut district the tobacco-growing industry is practically wholly in the hands of the Chinese, and in Queensland the sugar industry is gradually drifting in the same direction. I am afraid that the substitution of the words, “ in any prescribed language,” for the words “ European language,” would afford a loop-hole which would be taken advantage of by unscrupulous administrators to defeat the purpose for which the Act was passed.
– No other language but European can be added without the consent of Parliament.
– I am quite aware of that, but the mere fact that any other than a European language could be used under certain conditions would lead to agitation from time to time in favour of making concessions to various peoples with whom Great Britain may enter into alliances. Throughout the last election members of the Opposition practically lived upontheir abuse of the administration of the Immigration. Restriction Act, and they will be prompted to continue their agitation with unabated vigour if the slightest opportunity presents itself. The present. Act is much less stringent than the measure which was proposed in NewSouth Wales, with the object of excluding; coloured Asiatics, when the right honorable and learned member for East Sydney was Premier of that State. It was reported by the authorities in Dowling-street that the Bill in its original form was not in accordance with the treaties into which Great Britain had entered with other countries, and it was suggested that the language test should be adopted. That course was followed. We have also listened to similar representations on the part of the Imperial authorities, and, so far as I am aware, no objection has been raised by them to the present Act. I do not see any reason why we should, on our own motion, relax those conditions which are intended to, as far as possible, guard us against an influx of undesirable immigrants. Why should we pay any respect to the clamourings of members of the
Opposition, who have filled the newspapers with their declamations against the Act ? The right honorable and learned member for East Sydney, in the course of an interview, which was accorded by him by a representative of one of the Sydney newspapers, charged the Prime Minister with having deceived him in connexion with this Bill. He adopted the most insulting tone towards the Prime Minister, and pretended to feel much aggrieved at the way in which he had been treated. But, knowing the right honorable gentleman as we do, we must find it difficult to believe in his sincerity. “We know that he is not above adopting any means in order to obtain his ends. My suspicions in this direction are borne out by the attitude honorable members of the Opposition are adopting towards the Bill. The right honorable member was merely throwing dust in the eyes of the people, and was endeavouring to disarm those who have fought all through the piece for a White Australia. Any one would suppose that we were attempting to impose restrictions more severe than ‘ any hitherto adopted by other countries. But I would point out that in the United States immigrants are subjected to a very much more searching examination than are persons desirous of entering the Commonwealth. The Americans do not clamour for a White America, but they desire to protect their people from the degrading influences to which they would be subjected if immigrants of a low type were admitted to their dominion. I find by reference to a document issued by the Oceanic Steam-ship Company that immigrants have to supply answers to no less than twenty-one questions. In the first place, they are required to supply their name in full, and to state their age and sex, and whether they are married or single. They are then called upon to describe their occupation, and to state whether they are able to read or write. The nationality has to be given, and also the last place of residence. Further, they are required to name the seaport in the United States at which they intend to land, and also the State, city, or town which is their final destination. A question is also directed as to whether they have a ticket which will enable them to reach that destination. They have to state bv whom their passage was paid, and whether they are in possession of any money, and, if so, whether more than $30, and how much, if it amounts to $30 or less. They have to state, further, whether they have ever previously been in the United States, and, if so, where; whether they are going to join relatives, and,, if* so, what relatives; whether they have ever been in prison or almshouses, or supported by charity, whether they are polygamists ; whether they are under contract, expressed or implied, to labour in the United States. They have to furnish particulars as to their condition of health, mental and physical, and as to whether they are deformed or crippled. The Americans do not entertain the same ideas in regard to a White America as we do concerning a White Australia. We all recollect the letter which was written by the honorable member for Oxley to a friend of his in Wales. That communication contained statements which were not in accordance with fact, and was of a character which should not have emanated from an ordinary citizen, much less from a public man. The honorable member informed his correspondent that, if he came to Australia, he would in all probability be required to return to his native hills.
– Why does not the honorable member agree to excise paragraph a of section 3 of the principal Act?
– The honorable member knows perfectly well that the Act has never been applied in the way that he suggests. Yet he did something which would have reflected discredit even upon an ignorant citizen of the Common wealth.
– I am afraid that the honorable member does not know what he is talking about.
– I should like to think that the honorable member did not know what he was writing about.
– Honorable members opposite did not allow me to finish my say. They were too angry.
– Even- when members address themselves to a question as calmly as I do, they are accused of being angry. Personally, I have never known what anger meant. I admit that, perhaps, I am a little more in earnest than are most honorable members who address the House, but, as a rule, I believe, what I am saying. If I can be accused of exhibiting anger, what can be said of the deputy leader of the Opposition, who, upon almost every occasion he speaks, is absolutely savage?
– I vent my savagery upon honorable members, and not upon a poor innocent stationmaster.
– If the honorable member experienced two or three, trips similar to that to which I had to submit, we should get rid of his1 presence in this Chamber very quickly. When I was tempted to digress, I was referring to the leakages that might occur under existing legislation. lt is well known that undesirable immigrants gain admission to the Commonwealth in the way that has been described by the honorable member for Newcastle ; and, despite the strictest administration of the Act by a sympathetic Government. That being so, what will happen if this Bill be passed ? Why is not the honorable member for Parramatta declaiming against it in the same way that he denounced the Trade Marks Bill ? Is it because he sees in the measure some means of gratifying his masters, by allowing them to bring in contract labour without any supervision whatever?
– I do not think that, I ought to allow the honorable member to speak of any other honorable member as doing the work of his masters. I do not consider that it is a proper expression, and I suggest to the honorable member that he should withdraw it.
– I think I am perfectly in order in saying that the honorable member is doing the work of his constituents.
– If the honorable member had used the phrase in that sense, no objection could have been taken to his words. But he must see that he used it in another sense, because he intended to imply something which was not proper.
– I. withdraw the expression, sir, but I do not understand your ruling.
– Whilst I am pleased to hear the honorable member’s retraction, I desire that his withdrawal should be made in a full knowledge of all the circumstances. The honorable member, in speaking of the deputy leader of the Opposition, said that he was desirous of doing the bidding of “ his masters.” ‘ If the honorable member intended the words “ his masters “ to refer to the constituents of the honorable member for Parramatta, I cannot understand why he used the expression at all. He must have intended something else, and in so far as that expression applied to any body other than the constituents of the honorable member for Parramatta - to the capitalists to> whom he seemed to be referring - I ask. him to withdraw it.
– I withdraw the statement in obedience to your ruling. I know the view which is entertained by the majority of the constituents of the honorable member for Parramatta.
– I happen to be with’ the honorable member’s leader upon this Bill. Is that wrong?
– That fact in itself constitutes a warning to me. I do not like such alliances upon matters of this: kind. I do not consider it is necessary for me to detain the House any further. I shall vote against1 the second reading’ of the Bill, and if it be carried, I shall endeavour in Committee so to amend it as to remove its objectionable features.
– I think that this measure contains sufficient reasonable clauses to warrant me in supporting itssecond reading. lit strengthens the hands of the Executive where that has beenproved to be necessary, and it meets a number of technical points which have beenbrought before the law courts in connexion with alien immigration. But, although I intend to support the second reading of the Bill, I shall endeavour, when clause 3; is under consideration, to prevent the restrictions which we now impose in regard’ to the dictation test from being broken down by the adoption of a language which is not European. So far as. that clause is concerned, I think it might well be described as panic legislation. It is an old rule that hard casesmake bad laws, and it seems to me deplorable that a state of panic which hasbeen created by Oriental victories should have forced us to adopt a course of procedure that we do not desire to follow. I ask any honorable member whether clause 4 would have been introduced if it had” not been for the victories at Port Arthur, Liao-yang, and Mukden ? In this Bill, are we not getting the echoes of the guns: which the Japanese employed against the Russians? When the original Act was introduced, I protested against the interference of the British Government, and T object, still more to our being called upon to concede rights to Oriental nations inrespect of our internal legislation.
– “ Concede “ is - not . the word to use. and the honorable and* learned member knows it.
– I do not know it. On the contrary,’ i think that the word is a very proper one to use. The present is not the first occasion upon which Imperial representations have been made to us in this regard. I assume that, in consequence of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, Imperial representations have been made in regard to this question. But it is already being conceded by some of the greatest authorities in England that Mr. Chamberlain was wrong in insisting upon our adopting in the original Bill the language of the Natal Act, instead of allowing us to pass such legislation as we deemed fit. I have here a copy of an article written by the Sydney correspondent of the London Times, and published in that journal on the 27th October last. The writer puts the position well when he says -
One can only hope (not very hopefully) that the misleading educational test will be abolished, that the exclusion of Japanese will be arranged by treaty - as it used to be in Queensland, and :as the Japanese have always desired - and that Australians will be allowed to say honestly and straight-out what they wish about other non-white folk. If a man wants to be selfish (assuming, for the moment that “ White Australia “ is a purely selfish policy), you will not cure him by making him pretend not to be so ; you will only irritate him from the first, teach him the easiness of subterfuge, and in the end demoralize him altogether.
Commenting on this letter, the Times, in its leading columns, writes -
In its essence there is nothing more insulting in limiting by legislation the work that may be done in Australia by Japanese immigrants than there is in limiting the importation of Japanese ;goods by a tariff. What is insulting is a system which professes to be educational, and then defines the European languages as the sole standard of education, which may be applied to a scholar and a gentleman from China, but is never, as our correspondent points out, applied to a European navvy. As Mr. Deakin suggested in his reply to the Japanese Government three days ago, there is room for a general re-statement of the form in which these restrictions are cast. The growth of Imperial unity must be Eased on compromise, not on verbal subterfuge. We must realize the nature of Australia’s problems, and modify our preconceived theories to suit them. On the other hand, Australia, in the interests of the Empire, and her own progress, must learn to separate what is essential to the development of the white race, and to the maintenance of her standard of living, from what is unessential, so that she may retain the former and discard the latter.
We have here an admission, first, by the Sydney correspondent of the Times, and, secondly, by the Times itself, that when the original Bill was under consideration a great mistake was made by the Barton Government in refusing to accept the amendment moved by the honorable member for Bland, proposing to set forth a clear statement of what Australia desired. That Government admitted that the wording of the clause was not in accordance with their desires, but that they had been forced to adhere to the provisions of the Natal Act, not only because of the representations of the Colonial Office, but because they feared that the Bill might otherwise be vetoed.
– They would not have done that.
– Sir Edmund Barton said that he feared that the Bill might be vetoed if it contained clauses providing for the direct exclusion of Asiatic races.
– He had in mind the experience of the New South Wales Government.
-He might also have had in mind the experience of the people of British Columbia. For a number of years they have been endeavouring to exclude Japanese immigrants, but Bills passed with the intention of giving effect to that desire have been vetoed time after time. If we are going to allow ourselves to be pressed by one nation, we must prepare to be coerced by another? With Orientals nothing counts for more than does prestige. When the Japanese scored two or three naval and military victories their prestige was raised throughout the Orient, but, according to the Peking correspondent of the Times, immediately the Japanese failed to secure the war indemnity which they demanded from Russia, the Chinese Government once more leaned towards Russian predominance. If the people of India and China see that the Government of Australia, simply because the Japanese have been able to win several land and naval fights, are anxious not to offend their susceptibilities, and that we are prepared to so amend our legislation as to conform to their wishes, it is difficult to say where our steps in this direction will lead us. It is not long since Mr. Coghlan did a useful work for Australia, when, by means of a letter to the Times, he threatened Germany with Tariff reprisals, unless she did her duty to the Commonwealth in connexion with the incident of the Jaluit Company and the Marshall Islands. Germany, which is a dominant military power, is aiming at becoming a dominant naval power, and if she finds that Japan, having become a great naval power, is able to secure concessions from us, is she not likely to also bring pressure to bear upon the Commonwealth ?
– Is not the proposed action practically an invitation to her to do so?
– I think that it is. If we once admit that a growing power has a right to bring pressure to bear upon us in regard to the form which our legislation shall take, we shall offer an invitation to others to attempt to influence us in the same way. I should be very sorry to see this proposal attended by the results which have followed the treaty made between Queensland and Japan. I had the good fortune to be a member of the parliamentary party which visited Queensland last year, and cannot help saying that those who went there with sentimental ideas as to the policy of a White Australia, came back with a practical view of the question. At Point Lucinda, for example, I found that, out of a total population of about 100, there were fifty or sixty Japanese.
– The Queensland agreement was to allow a certain number of Japanese to enter that State.
– And they were to be deported at the termination of a certain number of years. Notwithstanding that the time limit fixed has expired, Japanese are still in Queensland, and are spreading throughout the States. The following advertisement is an indication of how some of these men secure admission to the Commonwealth : - £5 Reward will be paid to any person giving information resulting in the arrest of Kasuke Yajura and Ishimatsu Matushita, indented Japanese crew of Schooner Aladdin.
Geo. W. Thom.
I am informed that this is one of a class of advertisements that frequently appear in the Queensland newspapers,in relation to men who escape from pearling vessels, and go to swell the Japanese population in Australia. The master of a pearling vessel is liable to a. fine of£5for allowing a Japanese to escape, but a Japanese labourer is worth far more than that to anyone who can secure his services. I would remind the House of the dangers that have arisen in countries where the Japanese and other Orientals have gone in large numbers. At Hawaii the Japanese are one of the most truculent sections of the population, and are insisting, not upon their rights, but upon privileges. Their numbers are so largely out of proportion to the numbers of the white population, that they are able to take up this stand. If we go to Singapore, the new naval base in the northeastern seas, we find that the Chinese, who at the outset comprised only a small minority of the population, have so largely increased, that they can control the banking and commercial interests and, in short, the whole of the organizations of that place. The only protection which the white population have against them is that during certain hours the Bund, a kind of public re-sort, is closed even to the most wealthy Chinese. The poorest white soldier in Singapore mav go there, but Chinese and other coloured races are excluded during the hours fixed. If the Japanese came into this great, lone land of ours, which seems to be a natural appendix to the Oriental countries, and we sought to prohibit their appearance in public resorts at certain hours, we might find the Japanese Governmentattempting to influence our actions in regard to even so small a matter of internal administration as that would beThe Japanese declare that they have a right to come to Australia. Mr. E. W. Cole, in A White Australia Impossible, describes his visit to Japan, and gives statements made by ex-Ministers, Members of the Parliament of Japan, and others holding high official positions, who declared that the Japanese had a right to come here.
– Onwhat grounds?
– They say that on the one hand America seems to have been designed to afford a proper outlet for the overflow population of European countries, and that Australia is a natural and proper outlet for the overflow of the Oriental countries.
– The official statement of the Japanese Government is absolutely to the contrary. They acknowledge the absolute right of Australia to make laws excluding whomsoever we please. We have that admission in their official communications with us.
– For ten years they will have to adhere to that view of the position.
– That statement is contained in a communication received by us prior to the Anglo- Japanese alliance. It has been repeated by them at different times since 1897. They have said that they do not question our right to exclude any one, but they ask that a discrimination be not exercised against them more than against any one else. “ If you like to exclude us,” they say, in effect, “do so; but do not exclude us on the ground of colour,’’’ and so forth.
– As soon as Japan feels her feet she will observe her representations to us just as England observed representations which she made to Oriental countries. When Commodore Perry first went to Japan he was only going to convey the compliments of the President of the United States to the Mikado; but it was not long before treaty ports were opened up. I venture to say that the representations made by the Japanese Government in 1897 will not be observed long after they find a definite way of securing a permanent foothold in Australia, ten years hence. We are creating an internal enemy. If we believe that it is because of our weakness that certain legislation must be thrust upon us, it is about time that we looked to our defences, or else bent our backs, like craven curs, to Oriental peoples. We must fight for the control of our own destinies : if we give way in one direction, we shall have to give way in others.
– But we need not talk about trailing our coats.
– I do not think that we are. The honorable and learned member for Parkes, in submitting a motion to the House, some weeks ago, spoke of Japan as one of the greatest naval and military powers in the world, and also of the high national character of her people. Honorable members will recall to mind his statement that they were a great and humanitarian race. But what does the Times say? Throughout the war it supported the Japanese, and is therefore unlikely to misrepresent their character in the slightest degree. When peace was .declared, and the Japanese did not obtain all that they desired, riots took place in Japan, and the details of the disturbances were recorded in the Times, Peace was engineered by Asiatic financiers, who, in nw opinion, control not only our finances, but to a large extent the Imperial policy of Great Britain. The following cable messages from Tokio appeared in the Times of 15th September last:-
The attack on the offices of the Kokumin was followed by serious rioting. Throughout the day a series of demonstrations were made in the neighbourhood of the Home Minister’s residence. Late in the afternoon the mob charged, swept the police away, and battered down the gates. The police and the servants resisted stoutly, but the mob surged round and entered the house. Further details regarding the attack on the resi dence of the Minister of the Interior show that one of the mob leaders, carrying an armful of burning straw, gained the rear of the building, and succeeded in setting it in flames. Police reserves charged the crowd, using their swords freely, but the mob rallied in several quarters, and stoned the firemen when they arrived. The members of the Minister’s household were rescued and escorted to the Imperial Hotel. When darkness came, the burning building lit up a threatening scene - the mob hoofing and throwing stones on the police and firemen, and the police repeatedly clearing the streets.
The mob burned and destroyed ten Christian churches and one mission house school on Wednesday night. No one was injured.
During the commotion the coolie class seized the occasion to destroy thirty electric cars. A member of the Salvation Army exhorted the mob to disperse, whereupon it wrecked the Army’s substation.
The Catholic church, the school, and the priest’s residence in Honjo have been destroyed, as well as four small houses, which were burned. The Protestant church at Honjo, and the pastor’s residence, were burned. Three mission churches in the Asakusa district were partly or completely wrecked. The Hiogo church, anticipating an attack, removed the fences round the church, and hoisted the white flag. The mob contented itself with destroying a few chairs and tables. The Methodist church in Okachimachi-street was attacked by the mob, and the walls and fences were wrecked, and part of the furniture carried into the streets and burned. The Yonokura and Hamacho churches in Nihonbashi were burned.
In the Kanda district a crowd first threatened to burn the Russian cathedral, but a Sergeant of the Guard prevailed upon them to desist by threatening that if the cathedral were destroyed he and the guard would commit suicide. The crowd thereupon agreed not to touch the cathedral. Though the mob created considerable uproar there was no destruction of property, nor any serious conflict with the police. Demonstrations against the Metropolitan Police headquarters continued until a late hour.
The Government, on the authority of the Imperial Emergency Ordinance, has suspended the publication of the journals Miyako, Yurozu, and Niroku.
The city is quiet. No serious disorder has been reported anywhere during the night. Disorder occurred at Kobe on Thursday night. A statue of the Marquis Ito was pulled from its pedestal, and dragged through the streets.
The Government has ordered the suspension of . the Tokio newspaper Asahi and the conservative journal Nippon and the radical journal Jinmin for having published objectionable articles dealing with the present situation.
According to an estimate made by the metropolitan police, the casualties in the recent rioting were as follows : - 3S8 constables, r6 firemen, and a soldiers were wounded ; while among the mob and the bystanders 9 persons were killed and 387 wounded.
These things are happening in a country whose civilization, we are told, is equal to . ours.
– Those outrages are almost, though not quite, as bad as what is happening in Russia.
– If, to meet the susceptibilities of the Japanese, we are going to prescribe Japanese for the language test, why should we not prescribe Chinese also ? I have yet to learn that the Chinese are not at least equal to the Japanese in civilization. The Japanese got their writing, their scholarship, and their civilization, from the Chinese, and if honest clerks are required, even in the Yokohama banks, Chinese have to be imported. It it well known that the Japanese rarely keep their contracts.
– The honorable and learned member should not believe wholesale statements made about any people.
– I do not wish to condemn any race wholly, because, no doubt, there is something good about every people ; but my statements are borne out by travellers and residents in Japan. Are the Chinese to be regarded as inferior to the Japanese because they are imbued with the idea that evil should not be resisted by force, and support the ideal whose recognition the International Workingmen’s Union is trying to obtain, bv giving way to the aggressor to avoid violence, and to secure peace. The Chinese, in some of their philosophy and practice, might well set an example to the rest of the world, find, in my opinion, are superior to the Japanese. I understand that the Prime Minister himself opened negotiations with’ the Japanese in April of last year. Why did he not also open negotiations with the Chinese ?
– The Chinese are an inferior race. or. at all events, have not shown their superiority as the Japanese have done.
– The Chinese have not killed some thousands of men in a recent war as the Japanese have done. If that proves their inferiority, I admit it.
– The superiority about which the honorable and learned member is contemptuous, must nevertheless be respected by every Government.
– If we do this with the Japanese, why should we not make similar arrangements with the Hindoos?
– We opened up negotiations with India and Japan simultaneously.
– Surely persons of races whose members have fought side by side with our own soldiers in the defence of the Empire, and for the extension of British trade and commerce into the Shan “States, Baloochistan, Burmah, and Further India, should be given the same consideration as the people of Japan ! After the Boxer riots, it was not the Japanese whom we asked to go to China to protect our people there, and to do police work along with the members of the Naval Brigade .sent from New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia-; iti was the Sikhs who then fought side by side with our own citizens. Why, then, should we not consider the natives of India as much’ as the Japanese?
– We are doing so. We are not proposing to make any difference between them.
– Am I to understand that, if Japanese is to be a prescribed language, Hindustani and Chinese will also be prescribed languages?
– I do not say that Chinese will be a prescribed language. The honorable and learned member must recollect that the object of applying the language test is, not to allow persons to enter the Commonwealth, but to keep them out. I say so frankly
– Am I to take it that the various dialects of India, as well as the language of Japan, will be prescribed languages under the Bill ?
– There are 2bo or 300 dialects in India; but Hindustani is the general language of Hindustan, and I think that if Japanese is prescribed. Hindustani might also be prescribed1. The language test will not be used with the object of allowing persons to enter Australia, whether they be Japanese or Hindoos ; but we wish to make no distinction between the peoples of India and Japan and other peoples.
– Therefore, both Hindustani and Japanese may be prescribed.
– If Parliament approves of that being done.
– The intention being that neither natives of India nor Japanese are to be admitted to the Commonwealth?
– Not to any further extent now.
– Then, I think it will be better to provide that any language may be used - even the ancient Aztec of South America, or old Slavonian. If that is agreed to, we can always submit an objectionable applicant for admission to a test in a language which he cannot speak or write.
– That is always done, and is the object of applying the language test.
– Then why use the word “ prescribed “ at all ?
– So that Parliament may. if honorable members think fit, keep control of the test in this respect.
– I hope that the word “ prescribed “ will be omitted’. In South Africa, there are now about 46,000 Chinese, who have been imported there by other Asiatics living generally in Park-lane, London, in order to increase their dividends. The Chinese are objectionable to the white people living in Natal and Cam Colony, who wish to preserve the purity and maintain the supremacy of their race, so far as is possible, in view of the overwhelmingly large number of native Kaffirs. Therefore, Cape Colony has adopted very drastic legislation, to which I have already referred on the motion for the adjournment of the House.
– I call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that there is not a quorum, and, incidentally, remark that the only member of the Opposition present is nearly asleep. [Quorum formed.”]
– It seems to me that, if we adopted some of the provisions of the Cape Colony law. we should prevent the illegal influx of Japanese from the pearl luggers on our northern coasts, and stop Chinese from landing in the Northern Territory, and finding their way thence into other parts of the Commonwealth. They meet the difficulty by means of a forced registration. A man has a certificate issued to him by the Government, with his description, and sometimes with his photograph attached. They. also take his finger prints under the Bertillon system, and make a very careful record of his marks.
– We use that system in a still more perfect form.
– Then it would be much more easy for us to meet the position than it was for the Cape Government when they inaugurated the system. They insist upon every Asiatic resident in the Colony going before the magistrate of the district once every twelve months, and obtaining a certificate. The alien has to pay no fee;, but the magistrate certifies that he has appeared before him upon a certain date, and that document is sufficient in itself te* show that the man is properly domiciled ir> the Colony. If any man is found without a certificate showing that he has been before the magistrate at some date within the previous twelve months, he is called upon to show cause, and, in the absence of a satisfactory explanation, is liable to be deported. That appears to me to be a satisfactory way of dealing with aliens such as. are now reported to be improperly gaining admission to some of the States. About two or three years ago, when the Prime Minister was acting as Minister of External Affairs, I made an application to him oni behalf of a Chinese resident, who wished1 to secure the return to the Commonwealth of his son, who had been absent in England and China for upwards of two years. The Prime Minister would not relax the regulations-, and I was told afterwards by a constituent of mine, at whose request I had made the representations to the Minister, that if the regulations were not relaxed, the young man would be introduced in some other way. I believe that he hassince obtained admission to the Commonwealth. I informed the Prime Minister of the threat, because I thought it was desirable that he should know that means were available for evading the Act. J trust that the Government will agree to a system of registration- for Chinese, so that the Act may be made really effective. I shall support the motion for the second reading of the Bill, but, unless clause 3- is modified, I shall vote against it.
– Although it may not be intended to enforce the provisions of the Bill, as would on the face of them appear to be contemplated, I cannot altogether agree with the proposal1 now made by the Government. I refer more particularly to the clause which deals with the language test to be applied to immigrants, and in which it is intended to substitute a prescribed language for a European language. It appears to me that this is an extremely dangerous innovation, which would really deprive us of any safeguard that the Act gives against a people whose virtues have of late been trumpeted all over the world, and against whom the Act was particularly directed in the first case. I know of no reason why the Act, which was considered a good one when it was introduced, should now be regarded as defective. We all know that since it was passed therehas been a great war, and we are told that Japan has now entered the family of first-class nations; further, that she is knocking in a very polite but insistent way at the door of the Commonwealth, and that, if we like to open the door, well and good, but that, if we do not, she will knock later on in a more peremptory fashion. If the Bill has been introduced for such a reason, it may havemuch to commend it. If the door is to be battered down, we may as well open it. If, on the other hand, the measure has been introduced because Japan has claims to be regarded as a civilized nation, and becauseher people areregarded as desirable persons for us to consort with, I ask for some proofs of these assertions that were not in existence when the Act was placed on the statute-book. Japan was then, as she is now, a nation singularlyapt to copy the methods of Western nations. No one can deny her credit for the most amazing strides that she has made in the arts of both peace and war. Nevertheless, so far as those who believe in this legislation are concerned, her people are as little desirable as immigrants now, as they were when the Act was passed. Clause 3 provides for the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph a in the principal Act: -
Any person who fails to pass the dictation test : that is to say, who, when an officer dictates to him notmore than fifty words in any prescribed language, fails to write them out in that language in the presence of the officer.
To this the Prime Minister proposes to add the following provision : -
No regulation prescribing any language shall have any force until it has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament for thirty days or if within that time a resolution has been proposed in cither House of the Parliament to disapprove of the regulation until the motion has been disposed of.
Until some language has been prescribed the language authorized by the Principal Act shall be deemed to be prescribed within the meaning of this Act.
I ask what language it is contemplated to prescribe? It is obviously intended to prescribe one language, and one only, namely, such a one as will enable Japanese to come here. If, at the insistent demand of the Japanese for admission to the Commonwealth - an insistent demand cloaked, if you like, in the most diplomatic language - but showing beneath the gloved hand of the diplomat the mailed fist of the conqueror - we are to prescribe a language which will present opportunities for the admission of Japanese only, the whole proposal is a farce, and the Bill is. really intended to present opportunities for the admission into this countryof all the Japanese who choose to come here. If, on the other hand, we are to regard the present proposal as an indication that the Government are of opinion that the Act has been too rigidly framed, and that it is desirable that all men of suitable character who have attained a certain standard of education shall come in, well and good. We shall then know where we are. We shall then estimate the value of an immigrant by the amount of education he has received, and not by the standard of those other virtues which we have hitherto been accustomed to regard as of the foremost importance. Thousands of Europeans could not pass a dictation test in any language.
– Sometimes they cannot pass the test now applied to them.
– The Bill could be so enforced as to exclude nine out of every ten persons of European birth who would be regarded as most desirable immigrants. When the Act was under discussion, I said that it would exclude my own countrymen - I was speaking of men who had a speech alien to that of Englishmen - that it would exclude Welshmen, Irishmen, Frenchmen, and hundreds of the most desirable persons. Therefore, the test is in itself but a means by which we can exclude all those persons whom it is desired to keep out of the Commonwealth. If, therefore, we alter the language test, we may open the door to personswhom we are all agreed should be excluded.
– Who is to be the judge as to desirability?
– If we specify those nations, the peoples of which we regard as undesirable immigrants, the remainder of the peoples beyond our borders must be regarded as desirable. I regard as undesirable those persons who, from their habits, their traditions, their racial peculiarities, or their code of morality, are unfit to mix with us on terms of industrial, moral, and social equality. That is a very wide definition, and would exclude a very large proportion of the inhabitants of the earth, but it has been adopted by this House in the most emphatic way. I remember when the present Act was under discussion, there were practically but two sections of honorable members. There was, indeed, a small party led by the honorable member for Kooyong, but there were only two sections of any importance, namely, one in favour of direct exclusion by prohibition, and the other in favour of exclusion by some test such as that now adopted. So far as I know, those honorable members who desired to admit all sorts and conditions of men were few in numbers, and their opposition of small account. Now, we understand that after the experience of some years, and after much agitation in the press, and elsewhere, it is desired to amend the Act in certain particulars - although very few persons have urged that it should be amended in this particular direction, unless in’ others at the same time. It is now proposed to permit of the admission of Japanese, and Japanese only. The Prime Minister, in reply to aquestion addressed to him by the honorable and learned member for Corio, stated that Chinese, Hindoos, and others are to be entitled to the benefit of the proposed provisions; but I would ask honorable members to look at paragraph a of clause 3, and the proposed addition that I have already quoted. According to these proposals the languages now prescribed will stand unless altered by regulation, which will have to lay upon the table for thirtydays. That) leaves to the House at some future time the settlement of a question of a troublesome character. It will have to determine what language or languages shall be prescribed. It will be useless to think of prescribing any Asiatic language. The Prime Minister would not dream of permitting Malays or Javanese to enter here. Would he permit the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands to enter the Commonwealth ? Does he contemplate the admission of the more barbarous or the lesserknown tribes of Asia? I think not. Obviously this Bill is only introduced for the purpose of admitting the people of three great races, namely, the Japanese, the Chinese, and the Hindoos. It is primarily intended to benefit only the Japanese. It leaves to the House the task of deciding what language test shall be imposed. Will the House say to the Ministry - as it ought to do - “ You prescribe the test, and accept the responsibility.” Assuming that honorable members decide that a test in an Asia tic language, which may from time to time be prescribed by the Minister, shall be imposed, what will be the position ? Effect could not be given to the Bill without further legislation, because no regulation can be enforced until it has lain upon the table of the House for thirty days. Let us suppose that under such circumstances a number of Japanese are desirous of entering Australia. Are they to be kept waiting at our outports until the thirty days have expired, or is their arrival to be anticipated by that period?
– What would be the effect of a debate upon such a question in this House?
– I do not know. I leave that question to be answered by other honorable members. I am chiefly concerned with the consideration that this measure is intended to placate the Japanese Government, and renders them noservice, or that it is designed to placate them, and renders them a very great service ; or that it is intended to leave things exactly as they are. In its present form the Bill is indefinite. It postpones the evil day. It expresses our readiness to do something, and leaves the House todo it at some future time. It createsmachinery which is cumbersome, and I venture to think, ineffective. It proposes to enable the Minister todo something “ thirty days after date.” For instance, there may be Chinese, Hindoos, Japanese, and others, who are desirous of gaining admission to Australia. What language test will be prescribed intheir case? If Japanese, obviously the Japanese alone can benefit ; or are we, then, to declare that a person who passesany test in the Japanese, Chinese, or any language used by the natives of India may enter the Commonwealth? If so, since the Bill can only apply to educated Japanese,. Chinese, and Hindoos, the arrangement which it is now proposed to make a part of our statute law would be sufficient.. The clause which it is proposed to insert in the Act as 4a reads -
If the Minister notifies by notice in the Gazette that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country regulating the admission to the Commonwealth of the subjects or citizens of that country, the subjects or citizens of that country shall not, while the notice continues to have effect, be required to pass the dictation test.
It is well known that an arrangement was initiated by the present Prime Minister, and carried out during the regime of the Watson Government, whereby certain classes of citizens of India and Japan are permitted to enter the Commonwealth without being called upon to pass any educational test. That in itself is sufficient. If it is proposed to subject the Japanese and the Chinese to any test at all, only educated Japanese and Chinese can pass it. But I am bound to confess that the possibility of allowing persons who are not so educated to enter the Commonwealth fills me with apprehension. I am strongly opposed to any measure which can have that effect. If it is proposed to allow only educated immigrants to enter Australia, I venture to say that nothing can be said in favour of this Bill at all, because already the educated Japanese -an be admitted, if they are students, merchants, or tourists. They may come in under a passport system which has been already approved. And, under clause 4A, it is proposed to make that arrangement statutory., and to enable the citizens of any country with which a treaty has been entered into to enter the Commonwealth. I venture to say that this Bill is one that ought to be opposed. It is indefinite; it promises much, and will accomplish little or nothing that is good, but may prove dangerous. It will disturb a law which has been upon our statutebook for some years. That law may have many defects, but it does not number amongst them any which this Bill seeks to amend. I am opposed now, as I was when the original Bill was submitted, to the admission of Japanese into Australia. I believe that they should not come here to compete with us industrially, and that their admission can serve no useful purpose. I do not believe that there is in this country a public opinion in favour of an amendment of the law in this direction ; but, if there is, I most emphatically maintain that this Bill will not give effect to that opinion. At the best, it cuts into a vital part of the Immigration Restriction Act, and seeks to differentiate in favour of the Japanese, because they have acquired, in one of the most bloody wars on record, a reputation which it would have been well for them and the world if they had never had an opportunity to gain. But is that any reason why we should unbar our doors at the behest of the conqueror ? Rather is it not a reason why we should set up our barriers in triple brass, and prepare against that day when they will no longer ask admission from us in the language of diplomacy, but will thunder at our doors with the arms of an invader? I do not think that the Bill is called for. I do not believe it is a measure which will reflect any credit upon the Government. It leaves too much to the House to do hereafter. It speaks of some “ prescribed “ language. What does that mean? Obviously it can only mean the Japanese language. If it means other languages, the whole Bill becomes a farce. If it means that an immigrant may pass the educational test in any language, why not say so? But I would point out that that test has never been applied with a view to finding out what a man knows, but rather with the object of ascertaining what he does not know. To apply a test in Greek to a German is not to ascertain what he knows, but what he does not know. Such a test would exclude every honorable member in this Chamber. I am certain that it would exclude me. I could impose such a test even in English that I venture to say would exclude everybody present, and it would be very easy to frame an examination “which would accomplish that result if it provided for a test in a foreign language. The present Act has excluded undesirable immigrants just as effectually as if a direct prohibition had been imposed upon them. If it is merely proposed to strike- out the word “European” and to insert “ prescribed,” for the purpose of enabling the Customs officers to continue to exclude these persons, what is there in the Bill ? If, on the other hand, it is intended to be an instrument under which anybody may be admitted to the Commonwealth, it constitutes a danger of a more serious character than any of which I have yet heard, so far as the ideal of a White Australia is concerned. I shall oppose the second reading of the Bill, because I conceive it to be both unnecessary and faulty. It proposes, but it does not dispose. It proposes to do something, but it leaves to the House the difficult and delicate task of deciding what’ language test shall be applied. For that reason I consider it unworthy of our attention, and I shall give it my opposition.
– We have been assured on more than one occasion that there is no. desire on the part of the Japanese Government to encourage the emigration of its subjects to Australia, or elsewhere. I intend to show the utter fallacy of that statement, and my observations will be based upon facts which have been taken from recent American experience. In Japan at the present time there are four large companies, with unlimited capital behind them, whose special business it is to encourage emigration. These companies engage intending emigrants, send them to America, and supply them with the money necessary to enable them to land there. They reimburse themselves through the medium of the Japanese boarding-houses, to which the men are sent there. During the present year, and in California especially, there has been a very great agitation in this connexion, in which the principal newspapers have taken an active part. The labour organizations found that the position was becoming so serious that they despatched Mr. Edward Rosenberg, a very able man, as a special commissioner to the Orient to investigate the labour situation there. The experience of California should be of some assistance to us in dealing with this question. In 1880 there were only 86 Japanese there. Ten years later there were 1,147, and ‘n 1900 there were no less than 10,151. A special inquiry has been made by the United States Bureau of Statistics as to the number of Japanese in America, and while it is difficult to arrive at an accurate estimate, it is believed that at the present time there are about 100,000 there. The most noticeable feature of the situation is that during the last few years the Japanese have been pouring into California and other States in very large numbers. From 1000 to 1904,8,000 Japanese entered California, and in 1904, 7,000 arrived from Hawaii. It is believed that there are now 30,000 in California, and the position has become so serious that, as the result of public meetings held all over the State, the Legislature of California has appealed to Congress and to the President to put a stop to the Japanese invasion. And yet we have been told that the Japanese have no desire to leave their own country. The Japanese of Hawaii conduct a paper called the Shimpo, and in June of last year that newspaper contained a statement to the effect that there were 3.-Soo Japanese there who wished to go to California. . In May, .1 902. when the great influx of Japanese into California probably began, the Shimpo published the following paragraph: -
Lately almost every, steamer for the coast - that is for California - carries away a large number of Japanese labourers from here. They are said to be pre-engaged to work in Californian orchards, beet fields, or on the rail roads. Several recruiting agents now in the city are affording every inducement for them to emigrate.
I have a copy of the agreement made between the coolies and the big companies to which I have referred. The coolies bind themselves to serve for a period of three years. During that time they are practically slaves, the conditions of their employment being similar to those under which Chinese have been sent to South Africa. The companies make large profits out of the business. They undertake to return sick Japanese, and to reimburse the Japanese Government any expense to which they may be put in this connexion. The coolie pays a fee of ten yen, in order to secure an engagement. The orchardists of California believed that the influx of Japanese would supply them with cheap labour ; but the Japanese have become masters of the situation. Having squeezed out the European workers, they have succeeded by the completeness of their organization in placing the orchardists of California practically at their mercy, and are demanding higher wages than were asked by the Europeans. When the Japanese were first introduced, there was a resort to firearms and blood was shed in an encounter between the white and the coloured men. The white workers having been driven out of the fruit-growing industry, the Japanese labourers have lost that suavity which’ previously characterized .them, and are resorting to the bullying and tyranny which is characteristic of such individuate. In California, growers of peaches, which ripen quickly, find themselves completely at the mercy of the Japanese. Local conditions are responsible for the desire of the Japanese to emigrate to America, and must prompt them to seek a footing here. Japan has a population of 45,000,000 settled on an area of 148,724 square miles, only n per cent, of which consists of arable land. It is idle to say that now that the war is over. Manchuria, which has a population of about 20,000,000., and Korea, which has also a large population, will afford a suitable outlet for the Japanese people, when they know that they can earn more money in other countries. Higher wages constitute the temptation for them to emigrate to the United States and Australia. It is said that they have adapted themselves to the ideals of Western civilization. But what does that mean? Mr. Rosenberg found that instead of the Japanese being co-operationists, as was believed, their property was so great that the places of those who went on strike were immediately filled by others. The methods of settling trade disputes which have found a place in our Western civilization are not likely to be availed of there. We have to remember that in Japanuntillately work that is performed by machinery in civilized countries was for the most part done by manual labour. It is only during comparatively recent years that labour-saving machinery has been introduced, and the result is that millions of workers who previously managed to eke out an existence there now find themselves utterly helpless. I. should like these facts to be impressed on. the minds of the officers administering the Act. We are not wide awake. The facts that I am putting before the House are up-to-date, and should be of interest to honorable members. It must be recognised that a crisis has been reached in the history of these people that their conditions of life are being completely revolutionized, and that there is consequently room for the agents of the large employing companies to secure Japanese labour for the Californian orchards and beet fields. These companies are not anxious to return the coolies to Japan, and having once reached California they drift to other States. The figures which I havequoted are admittedly only estimates, but they should be sufficient to show that we are facedby a very real danger. It is, therefore,highly im- portant that our Immigration Restriction Act should be vigorously administered. Imperfect though it may be. it is still capable of keeping the Japanese out of Australia. The idea that the Japanese do not wish to come here is absurd. The experience of the United States shows that they are anxious to emigrate, and that we have a serious danger to face. Mr. Rosenberg, the representative of the American Federation of Labour, to whom I have referred, writes -
On my way from Osaka to Tokio I had a lengthy conversation with T. Nakahashi, the president of the Osaka Shosen Kaisha, a steamship company, capitalized at $2,250,000, and owning seventy-six steamers. He was emphatic in his statements that the organization of labour on Western lines is impossible at present. He said, “Any attempt to do so would fail, the population of the country being so dense that the places of strikers could be quickly filled.”
My observations in Japan incline me to the belief that there is considerable truth in the opinion that there is ahead for the working people* of Japan an era of great and long suffering, just as in thelast decade of the eighteenth century the English workers suffered great hardships when machine production was revolutionizing English industry, and the workers lacked the organization of labour necessary to successfully demand a fair share in the nation’s industrial advance.
The conditions of living in Japan are such that the surplus population are forced to seek a livelihood elsewhere. The introduction, of machinery into Japan has had. more to do with creating a surplus popula tion there than has the natural growth of the people. It is generally agreed that Japan is over-populated, and that she has now secured an outlet for a large part of her surpluspopulation in Manchuria, where the people have less energy and are less capable of managing their affairs. But the four large companies to which I have referred find a profit in exporting Japanese labour, and if they were given the slightest opportunity to extend their operations to this country, Australia would soon be swamped with Japanese. In California the Japanese are taking possession of the orchards, and in the cities are displacing domestic servants.
– No doubt the householders of California, like those of Australia, cannot procure other domestic servants.
– Domestic servants could always be obtained if they were paid properly, and treated like other employes.
– However disposed one may be to pay and treat domestic servants well, that class of labour cannot easily be obtained.
– Decent employers can always obtain decent employes. In San Francisco, Japanese are also taking the places of women assistants in shops. If the honorable member prefers Japanese-
– I do not. I object to their introduction into this country.
– In that case I regard his interjection as irrelevant. The position of affairs in California has created such an agitation that the Legislature has already passed resolutions calling upon the Government of the United States to take action in the matter, and thoughtful men are pointing out that, whereas theintroduction of the negro slaves has created a race problem too large for the best intelligences of America, a second race problem is now being created in California and in Nevada. The immigration restriction laws of America are more severe and complete than are ours, but, in spite of them, the States which I have mentioned are being swamped by persons of this coloured race about which there has been, so much noise lately. It is absurd to say that the Japanese have no desire to emigrate. Emigration from that country is organized, and it must be known to the Government, so that it is nonsense to say that steps are being taken to prevent it. It could not be prevented. I do not say that our Immigration Restriction Act cannot be improved, but it should be improved in the direction of making it more stringent and certain in its application. The statistics given bv the honorable member for Kennedy should impress the House. The number of Japanese which have entered Australia since we passed the Immigration Restriction Act is very large in relation to our population. The desertion of prohibited immigrants from ships, to which the honorable member for Newcastle referred, is, of course, a common occurrence in the United States. But the deliberate importation of Japanese to which I have referred is more important there, and1’ the operations of the companies of which I have spoken would be directed to Australia if we relaxed our present precautions. I do not say that the substitution of the word1 “ prescribed1 “ for the word “European” will necessarily allow more prohibited immigrants to come here, though I am rather suspicious of the motive underlying the proposal. Undoubtedly the Japanese wish to be placed on the same footing as other peoples, and to have all restrictions on their immigration here removed. I do not pay much regard to the talk which we have heard in regard to their sensitiveness in respect to the wording of the present Act. That measure is somewhat hypocritical in its language. It was intended1 from the very beginning that coloured aliens should be kept out of Australia, and the method adopted for keeping them out has been to subject applicants for admission to an examination in some language with which they were unacquainted. I am afraid, however, that all our officials are not sympathetic towards the law, and that such influence is brought to bear by those connected with the shipping business, and others, that the Act ls not too strictly administered1. I would’ prefer an Act which would provide that all members of certain specified white races might come here, and that all other people would be’ excluded. It is too late this session to discuss such a proposal, but I think that such legislation should be passed by us. No doubt, I shall be told that the Governor-General could not assent to it ; but let it be sent to the old country, to see if the authorities there would’ refuse assent to an honest and straightforward declaration that we decline to allow the white race here to be deteriorated by the admixture of alien and inferior blood, and wish to prevent the creation of a race problem such as confronts the American people. Eventually we must pass such a measure. When we have an Act of that kind on the statute-book, there will be no question of trusting our officials. I am satisfied that a certain number of aliens now slip in in various ways - by deserting from, ships, and by getting ashore from pearling fleets. The North Queensland’ papers frequently contain advertisements offering rewards for pearlers who have run away, and who remain in this country because they are better treated than they would be in their own country, and are, therefore,- likely to send home for their families and friends. Such an Act as I speak of would prevent the immigration of all undesirable peoples. Australia runs more risk of being swamped by Eastern nations now than she did when the Immigration Restriction Act was passed, and therefore we should be careful to leave no loop-hole by which an undesirable immigrant may enter. I pay no regard to the sentimental sensitiveness that has been made the excuse for the introduction of the Bill.
– We have not heard that the Natal Act has been amended.
– No, though possibly the people of that country are not so anxious as we are to keep out aliens. I believe that all political parties in Australia are convinced that this country should be kept for a white race, but all our officials do not hold that view, nor do all members of this House. At any rate, one honorable member is in favour of making an arrangement with the Japanese for the admission of certain of their people. America’s experience during the last two or three years should show us that it would’ be absurd to make a treaty with the Japanese on this subject. Such action would not have the effect of preventing the immigration of Japanese to this country. We should see that our laws are so framed and administered that all coloured races will be kept out of the Commonwealth.
– I am as desirous as is any honorable member to preserve the purity of our race - if a mixed race like the Anglo-Saxon can be termed’ pure - and to maintain the conditions which are understood by the term “ a White Australia.” I regard the Bill, however, as an attempt in the right direction, to deal with a problem which every .year will become more difficult, and more an international question. It is idle to suppose that the Japanese who are so rapidly pushing their way to the first rank among the nations of the world, will allow themselves for many years longer to be kept out of Australia by a hypocritical measure, such as we now have in force. The Prime Minister is proposing what he can to meet the present conditions, though ultimately we must do something more than is provided1 for by the Bill. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney spoke about the people of Japan knocking at our door, and demanding admission. If it were not for the .’alliance between Great Britain and Japan, we might regard the nearness of Japan to Australia as a very great danger, deserving the most serious consideration. But are we. under the circumstances, justified in assuming a confident attitude? Is it to be imagined that the 4,000,000 people who are scattered over this great continent could effectively resist the Japanese if they chose to attack, us, and we were unsupported by Great Britain? The supposition is so absurd that the statesmen of Japan who read the speeches of some honorable members will regard them as ludicrous. We can maintain our present position only with the help of Great Britain, and Japan, in the years to come, will not allow us to continue to hold an enormous unoccupied territory if her own country becomes overcrowded. The time will come when, treaty or no treaty, the Japanese will demand from us the some consideration that we extend to other civilized races. They, have shown readiness to adapt themselves to the conditions of Western civilization, and conducted themselves with the utmost humanity during the terrible war in which they were engaged with Russia. It is ludicrous for honorable members to attempt to belittle a people who, by sheer force of their virtues., have attained an exalted position among the nations. How could we effectively resist the Japanese if they thought fit to attack us?
– Does the honorable member mean to imply that we are a lot of curs ?
– No ; but I do not consider that any man is exhibiting courage when he declares that he will fight singlehanded against twenty or thirty men armed with the most effective weapons.
– According to the honorable member, Japan would have to bring 2,000,000 men here.
– The honorable member knows very well that it would be impossible to concentrate in any one part of the Commonwealth’ a number of armed men sufficient to resist an attack by a force such as the Japanese were able to launch against the Russians, In . order to render our position secure, we should1 encourage by every means in our power settlement by people of our own race upon the broad lands of the Commonwealth. It is” absurd for honorable members to raise all sorts of objections to the introduction of suitable immigrants. Legislation such as that now under our consideration cannot be regarded as anything more than a temporary expedient. We should bring into this country not only Britishers, but Germans, Frenchmen, and Italians. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of land which could be profitably occupied by people of a virile race like ourselves, and it is only by encouraging such settlement that we can hope to safeguard ourselves against aggression. I desire to see a White Australia ; but I ask whether we are to allow our own people to lose their virility by engaging in laborious operations in the tropical parts of Australia. Unless we turn our resources to profitable account, the Japanese will tell us that the earth was made for them as well as for ourselves, and that if we will not utilize our tropical lands, and our great natural resources, they will utilize them. I think that the Prime Minister deserves the support of honorable members, on this side of the House, because he is dosing the best he can to meet a. difficult situation. I would impress upon honorable members, however, that if we continue to allow our vast areas of rich lands in the tropics to lie idle and undeveloped, we shall have to justify ourselves in the eyes of the world.
– I wish, to say a few words in reference to this question, because it is one of the greatest interest. I do not know that there is much fault to be found with the Act. It has certainly been the subject of gross misrepresentation, and if by means of slight amendments we can provide for its more satisfactory administration, we should direct our energies to that end. At the same time we should take care to guard against the introduction of undesirable immigrants. Some honorable members have objected to this measure being brought for- ‘ ward for consideration so late in the session. In this respect they have completely changed their tone within twentyfour hours, because yesterday they were demanding that attention should be given to another measure which they desired to see passed before we went into recess. I have been represented by some sections of the press as a member of the Labour Party, but I occupy the same independent position that I did when. I was returned to this House without the assistance of any party. I have been surprised to hear honorable members of the Labour Party who have previously expressed themselves in favour of the amendment of the Act declare that they are opposed to the Bill. I am glad to notice, however, that those who. know most about the difficulties of administration are supporting the Government proposal. I was astonished at the attitude taken up by some honorable members with regard to the suggestions made by the Imperial authorities with regard to this class of legislation. I take it that we are not in a position to disregard the advice proffered to us from that quarter. Some honorable members tell us that we need not spend much money on defence, because we can rely upon the British Navy to protect us. If we are willing to -.accept the protection of the Imperial Navy, we should not hesitate to heed the suggestions made by the Imperial authorities. I take it that the Commonwealth could not stand for many weeks without the assistance of Great Britain, and, therefore, I am always ready to seriously consider any suggestions or recommendations made by the Home authorities. I think that honorable members who publicly point out the weak points of our defences are acting most unpatriotically. If our defences are defective, honorable members should not proclaim the fact to the world. In the same way, it is undesirable that we should speak in disparagement, as did the honorable and learned member for Corio, of the Japanese, or any other nation with which it may. be necessary for us to enter into negotiations. It is better for us to keep or* good terms with all the nations. The honorable member for Franklin accused the Government of dishonesty, and of putting forward a sham. I should be very .sorry to call any man an honorable member, and immediately afterwards accuse him of act-: ing dishonestly, or of foisting a sham upon the people. I do not think that such conduct was creditable to the honorable member or to his constituents. When the Reid Government were in power,. I always gave them - credit for honesty, although I could not agree with their policy. If we wish to raise this House in the esteem of Australia, we can only do so by speaking well of one- another. I shall vote for the second reading of the Bill.
– :It was quite a revelation to me to hear the honorable member for Kooyong accuse the Labour Party of keeping desirable immigrants out of Australia. If he thinks so much ofl these vile Eastern races, why does he not associate with them ? In Queensland the lazarettes are filled with lepers from them. They have brought into our midst diseas.es which, if disseminated, would decimate our population.
– Where is the State legislation on the subject?
– We were legislated for by such men as the honorable member.
– The honorable member ought to be ashamed of the State legislation on the subject.
– I am. The electors of Queensland showed that they were ashamed of it by returning to this Parliament Labour representatives who desire to alter that condition of things. If the honorable member for Kooyong and others of his class think so much of the niggers, why do they not take them into their families? Why do they not marry them to their daughters? It is the people whom I represent who have to suffer the disadvantages attaching to this alien immigration. One can be very virtuous upon ^40.000 a year, but I. say that the men who have to labour with the niggers in the sugar plantations of Queensland are degraded by their contact with them. It is very well for the honorable member for Kooyong, with his feet under the mahogany, to say, “ Oh, I am all right. Let us have the blacks here.” The honorable member for Oxley would admit them, indeed he would impose no restriction upon their admission to the Commonwealth. There is no greater advocate of coloured labour than he is. He would flood Queensland with black races to-morrow if he could.
– I rise to a point of order. I think some little check ought to be imposed 011 honorable members who make statements which are not accurate. The honorable member for Maranoa has no right to say that I favour the condition of things to which he refers. I have already stated that I am absolutely opposed to it.
– That is not a point of order. It is a matter which could have been better dealt with by way of personal explanation at the conclusion of the speech of the honorable member for Maranoa.
– The honorable member ought to take his gruel kindly. We have had to take ours during the past three or four weeks. As long as I occupy a seat in this House, I shall vote for the exclusion of the coloured races. The honorable and learned member for Corio put the matter very well this afternoon, when he stated that it is the force of Japanese arms which is making Australia apprehensive. I am getting on for fifty years of age, but I am quite prepared to take up a gun in the defence of Queensland, and there are thousands more who would follow my example. The honorable member for Kooyong says that he does not believe in the introduction of coloured aliens. Then why does he advocate their free admission ?
– I do not.
– The honorable member wishes to break down the existing barriers. It is the swindling mining syndicates which have been formed - not the Labour Party - which have “cooked” Australia. The Labour Party endeavours to purify politics, and it is doing it. We are opposed to alien immigration.
– Is the honorable member speaking for Mr. Watson?
– I am speaking for myself. The Labour Party does not desire to exclude desirable immigrants. If the honorable member for Kooyong, and the party which he supports, are sincere in their desire to maintain a White Australia, they will make the restrictions imposed upon coloured immigrants as strong as possible. If merchants, or any other individuals, from Eastern countries wish to come to Australia I have no objection to their doing so. As an evidence of that, I am prepared to vote for the second reading of the Bill. I think that the law requires amendment, and I am ready to assist in amending it. Two years ago I was talking to an American Senator at Parliament House, Brisbane. Two or three members of the State Legislature were present, and during the conversation which took place, the visitor asked some questions in regard to the working of our Immigration Restriction Act. I handed him a copy of the Act, which I procured from the Parliamentary Library, and after perusing it, the American remarked, “Look here, stranger, in a hundred years’ time the children of Australia will bless you for what you have done. We are suffering in America from the very evil that would have befallen Australia if she had not enacted this legislation.” To-day America would pay millions to solve the problem which we have solved by a simple Statute. If the honorable member for Kooyong is sincere in the declaration which he has made, he will assist the Labour Party to maintain a White Australia.
– If we can avoid offending the susceptibilities of any nation, by the mere substitution of one word for another, I am perfectly willing to adopt that course. I am thoroughly satisfied with the assurance of the Ministry that no regulation will be framed to admit coloured races to the Commonwealth unless it has first been approved by both Houses of Parliament. If the spirit of democracy rules here, surely a majority of the two Houses of the Legislature, whose members are elected by the people of Australia, should be able to decide this question. I must confess that my own opinion of the East, and of the dangers which we had to apprehend from that source, were completely changed by my trip to Japan early during the present year. I trust that the honorable member for Kooyong, and the representatives of the wealthy class, will recognise the necessity . which exists for imposing a land tax in Australia, in order to provide us with the funds necessary to secure an adequate system of defence. Whilst the honorable member for Bass was speaking, a member of the Opposition interjected, “ Are we to let the whole world know our weaknesses ? “ As far as Japan is concerned, that nation is already seized of our weaknesses from a defence stand-point. Is it not a fact - as was stated by the honorable and learned member for Corio, and proved through the columns of the newspapers - that when the Japanese fleet visited Melbourne in connexion with the Commonwealth celebrations, its vessels approached the only part of the coast which the guns of Queenscliff could not command? When some of the officers of the fleet desired to see our fortifications, Major-General Hutton, with’ a due appreciation of the position, intimated that he would prefer to be present when visitors of such standing were making their inspection. That, of course, amounted to a polite refusal of their request, and accordingly the projected visit was abandoned. Subsequently, when our officers paid their respects to the officers of the Japanese fleet, many questions relating to our defences were asked, and one of the visitors revealed the fact that he had a perfect knowledge of all our arrangements. I am credibly informed that an officer of the Japanese Intelligence Department, while serving as a cook at an hotel in Queenscliff, photographed every portion of our defences there. We know that that would be a very easy matter, inasmuch as a lighthouse overlooks the fortifications, and it is possible to carry a camera concealed under one’s waistcoat. At the present time our chief defence is the splendid fleet which carries the English flag. That that fleet may long continue to be the protector, not only of ourselves, but of the Empire at large, is the wish of every honorable member. But surely any one is at liberty to ask himself whether it is not possible that even that splendid arm of defence may fail in the hour of need. Had any one, prior to the Boer war, put to me a question on the subject, I should have said that Great Britain could put into the field 250,000 troops equal to any other body of men on earth.
– So she can.
– I am not disputing the point ; but it took -more than a soldier for every man, woman, and ,child in the Transvaal to conquer that sparsely populated country.
– Does the honorable member think that any other nation could have done as well?
– I do not think the “ well “ is good enough to boast of. Whether Ave did well or ill, the only result of the war was to find work for the yellow races in South Africa.
– But that is not the question.
– I think that, if necessary, I could quote some of the greatest authorities in England in support of the contention that the British Army broke down, and did not do as well as England had a right to expect of it. I am not making an attack upon the Army; I am simply giving expression to my own honest convictions. Every man of note in the British Army will admit that, in connexion with the South African war, it failed to do what might reasonably have been expected. That being so, does it need any stretch of imagination to believe that our splendid line of naval defence might also fail in the hour of need? In that event, how long would it be before our chief port in the East - Hong Kong, which, according to the Statesman’s Year Book, has only 3,500 regular defenders and 375 volunteers - was overrun by the Japanese ? What might happen in. such an event may well form food for reflection. Next to the defence which Great Britain affords us comes that offered by our splendid relatives in the West. The United States stands to-day as a sentinel in the Pacific. I am glad that they have taken over the Philippine Islands. In the hour of danger they may stand as a sentinel between us and Eastern countries ; meantime thev are assisting to preserve the health of the people of Australia. If a great influx of Chinese took place, the diseases which have been enumerated by my honorable friends would be easily disseminated here. But the United States authorities in the Philippine Islands insist that every ship, before entering the port of Manila, shall not only be passed by the harbor-master, but shall, through her master, furnish the American Consul with full information as to the health of the immunity in every port at which she has touched. We therefore owe to the United States a meed of praise for the splendid vigilance which she exercises in this regard, and which tends to the preservation of the health of our own people. Perhaps, in a free-trade sense, Hong Kong is the most complete port in the world. So far as I was able to ascertain on the occasion of my recent visit, no duties whatever are imposed. But it is the great focus point of disease.
The fact that in one year the bodies of 1,100 persons who have died from cholera, small-pox, plague, and other diseases, are put into the streets of Hong Kong, is some indication of the perils to which the health of the community is exposed.
– -How is it that every one there does not die?
– Thedeath-rate among the Chinese there is so great that if there were not a continual influx from the mainland the natives would soon disappear. The European residents have taken far greater precautions in the interests of health than have the natives. But my honorable friend will recognise that even one dead body lying in the street as the result of cholera, or one or other of the contagious diseases I have mentioned is sufficient to carry infection, if not to human beings, at least to the rodents of Hong Kong. America is, therefore, not only a sentinel in the Pacific against the military dangers of the future, but in the present day is guarding us against the spread of disease from Eastern countries. In what is, perhaps, the most eventful epoch known in history, 47,000,000 people have suddenly slipped into a first place among the nations of the world; but that is no reason why we should open our doors to them. If the peril is to come, the white races were never stronger to meet it than they are to-day. As the years roll on, the organization of the mighty millions in China, and also inIndia - where the natives are not too fond of English rule - will become more complete. Millions of native races in India, notwithstanding the high intellectual standard of many of them, are in a state of semislavery, and will never be permitted to have a vote. On the other hand, the Japanese are allowed to exercise the franchise.
– Only about 89,000 out of something like 45,000,000 are allowed to exercise it.
– I think that the proportion is larger, but there are tens of thousands of Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen who are not thought fit to have a vote. The Japanese, therefore, have that which many white people do not enjoy. Then, again, they have never insulted the Chinese, as our white races have too frequently done. That, in itself, constitutes a serious menace. If George Washington - that man of mighty intellect and splendid character, who threw aside the crown that was offered him - had with his compatriots stood between the Americans and the Africans and had said, “ These coloured men shall not come to our shores,” would not the people of America have revered his memory even more, if that be possible, than they do now? The Labour Party in Australia is standing up for a White Australia, and the Prime Minister will indorse my statement that the two words which aroused the audience at the defence meeting held in, Melbourne last week to the highest pitch of enthusiasm were a “ White Australia,” as they fell from the lips of Mr. Prendergast.
– Hear, hear!
– We do not give fair play to the people of our own race. The honorable member for Kooyong has asked why we do not encourage people from Great Britain to immigrate to Australia. It is because even in this sparsely populated country the land has gone into the possession of the few. Our land system is a huge monopoly. As leader of the Government of Western Australia, the Treasurer succeeded in placing upon the statute-book of that State better land laws than we have here. Hundreds have to leaveVictoria toseek holdings elsewhere. These are the men who would help us against the attacks of alien races. If the removal of one offensive word from our statute-book will enable the splendid diplomacy of the Japanese to assist us in our desire to keep Australia white, no one will welcome the change more than I shall do. Peace is always better than war, but if the Japanese come here, it will be our duty to force them away by every means in our power. I do not think that the United States of America would see us controlled by an Asiatic race. If there is to be a realization of the present fear, I hope that the Europeans, will join, not in a marauding crusade, like many of those of ancient days, but in a true crusade in the interests of the white races. I hope that it will be a crusade of the Latins, the Slavs, the Teutons, and the great AngloSaxonCeltic races. But no word of mine will ever give offence to the Japanese. I have too much admiration for their art and their splendid inventive genius to insult them. Within the last few days I have had presented to me a toy which was invented in Japan after my visit to that country. There is nothing upon which they will not improve, and, if the worst comes to the worst, they will be able to give us, a splendid example of the nationalization of industries. When exJudge Casey, whose courtesy and ability to cross-examine should have enabled him to obtain much information on the subject, asked, during his visit to Japan, what men had raised Japan from the lowly place which she occupied in the middle centuries to her present high position, he was told that the one and only man responsible for the change was the reigning Mikado. If, in course of time, the Mikado be succeeded by a monarch such as was one of the kings of Bavaria, who went about carrying sticks in his mouth, believing that he was. a stork, and about to lay eggs, the educated Japanese, with their great nationalized industries, would never dream of permitting him to rule. And so Japanmay be the first socialistic nation in the world. I shall never speak of the Japanese as monkeys “ or “little brown men;” but if fate decrees that the children who are to follow us shall be dominated by. an Eastern race, I hope that it will be, not the Japanese, but the Chinese.
Question put. The House divided -
Ayes … … … 39
Noes … … … 6
Majority … … 33
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section three of the Principal Act is amended -
by omitting the whole of paragraph a, and inserting in lieu thereof the following paragraph : - ” (a) Any person who fails to pass the dictation test : that is to say, who, when an officer dictates to him not more than fifty words in any prescribed language, fails to write them out in that languagein the presence of the officer “ ;
by omitting from paragraph e the words “ within three years,” and by inserting in that paragraph, before the words “received a pardon,” the words “served his sentence or “ ;
by omitting the whole of paragraphs m andn.
– I move -
That after the word “officer,” line 10, the following words be inserted : - “ No regulation prescribing any language shall have any force until it has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament for thirty days or if within that time a resolution has been proposed in either House of the Parliament to disapprove of the regulation until the motion has been disposed of.” “ Until some language has been prescribed the languages authorized by the Principal Act shall be deemed to beprescribed within the meaning of this Act.”
Thefirst paragraph of the amendment has been borrowed from sub-section 3 of section11 of the Representation Act. If the clause is agreed to as I propose to amend it, the law with respect to the language which may be employed in administering the test will remain as it is at present, but this, or any future Parliament, may, if if thinks fit, sanction the use of other than European languages. “ Prescribed,” as honorable members know, means prescribed by regulation, and an ordinary regulation, when made, takes effect from the date of notification, but is laid before Parliament for thirty days, inorder that honorable members may have an opportunity to consider, and, if necessary, disallow it. I propose that in this case Parliament shall be given more direct and effective control of the administration of the law. Honorable members asked, during the second-reading debate, what advantage will be gained by this alteration of the Act. Exceptionhas been taken to the use of the word “European,” not only by distinguished representatives of Japan, but also by leading statesmen associated with the Government of India, and prominent members of the Hindoo race. It is said,in effect, by the Governments of Japan and India, “We do not ask Australia to alter its domestic legislation, restricting the admission of our peoples, but we desire that country not to discriminate against them on the ground of colour or any similar ground. Let them exclude us, if they will ; but let them exclude us on the same terms as those on which the peoples of other nations are excluded. The Government of Japan has had no communication, either direct or indirect, with the Commonwealth Government on the subject, but the Japanese Ambassador in London, Count Hayashi, and other leading Japanese, have asked, “ Why should Australia place a stigma on Oriental peoples. Cannot she so frame her legislation that it will exclude all on the same terms? We do not claim any right to say what she shall do in the matter of excluding, or admitting immigrants; but why should she unnecessarily offend Oriental peoples when her object can be secured in another way “ ?
– Has the correspondence on the subject been laid on the table?
– Most of it has been published, and is included among our records. Some of it goes back as far as 1 901 and 1902.
– I refer to the later cor- respondence.
– We have had no communication with the Japanese Government on the subject, though we were in communication with the Consul -General for Japan in Australia, who, as the honorable and learned member, knows, is a commercial, and not a diplomatic, officer.
– It is the wording, and not the operation, of our legislation to which the Japanese object.
– I dare say that, if they were asked, they would say that they object to its operation. But they recognise that their opinions on that subject cannot claim to be followed by us. In passing the clause as I propose to amend it, we sha.ll retain the existing law, but will make it possible to apply other than European languages in the education test. It must not be thought that there has been any hostile knocking at the door. There has been no communication from Japan which could be interpreted in that way.
– Any threat would have been resented.
– No concession could be made until a threat, if ever made, had been withdrawn. We would not propose this alteration had there been any threat. But, although no request on the subject has been made by the Japanese Government, the Japanese Ambassador in England, only a few weeks ago, when speaking to a newspaper interviewer, and other distinguished Japanese, have said that they feel that we should not discriminate against their people on the ground , of colour, or for any similar reason.
– Is there not this discrimination in the administration of the law?
– Nevertheless, it need not be shown on the face of our Statutes.
– We have the right by international law to exclude foreigners.
– It was held in the Ah Toy case that noperson who is not a British subject can claim the right to enter Australia.
– Will Indian British subjects be exempted from the operation of the Immigration Restriction Act?
– We are not proposing to exempt any one. All we propose is that Japanese, Hindustani, and other languages may be added to the European languages for the purposes of’ the education test, if Parliament consents to that being done. This amendment of the law will not alter its principle or policy. The language test is administered, not to discover the knowledge of an intending applicant, but to give effect to. a policy of exclusion in the way thought to be least offensive to the peoples excluded. We adopted the language test on strong representations from the mother country. We were told that we might exclude whom we pleased, and might make our conditions as stringent as we thought right. Mr. Chamberlain admitted that the influx of aliens which was feared here should be prevented at all hazards, and said that we were quite entitled to take any steps which would amply protect us, but he asked us to adopt the education test as a means of exclusion. The charge of hypocrisy could be rightly made against us, only if we had at any time pretended that the test would be applied to discover the measure of education possessed by those presenting themselves for admission into the Commonwealth. It was never so pretended. It was stated from the first that the test would be used as a means of excluding those whom it was desired to shut out, without offending them by discriminating against them by name or nationality. There was no hypocrisy about the provision when its purpose was announced. If all the Eastern languages were added under the present proposal, the policy would remain the same, and the administration would be unaltered. The needs of the future will be met explicitly by this Parliament, or its successors, after due consideration. Even if we desired to do so, we could not tie the hands of future Parliaments. We are making no alteration in our present policy, or in the law, beyond removing the word “European,” which is regarded by certain peoples in the East as conveying an unnecessary reflection on them. It has been plainly stated that they would accept it as a tribute to them if they were not discriminated against merely because they were Japanese or Chinese, or whatever they might be. They do not mind being excluded, so long as they are excluded with the rest of the world.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The Prime Minister has told us that the object of this Bill is to remove from the present Act an offensive word, which is calculated to wound the susceptibilities of an Eastern nation, which is on particularly friendly terms and in treaty relationship with the Empire of which we form a part. It occurs to me, however, that by the amendment, whilst removing the offensive word, the Prime Minister does not propose to remove the offensive thing which the word represents. It is the very essence of hypocrisy to pretend to do a thing, and in reality not to do it.
– What does the honorable member propose?
– I propose to vote against the amendment.
– Then the honorable member is favorable to the admission of the Japanese?
– Nothing of the kind. I am prepared to trust the Government to prescribe a test that will exclude them. That is stated to be the specific purpose of this Bill, and the only difference between the honorable member and myself is that he is not prepared to trust the Government to earn’ out a specific in,struction of Parliament, whereas I am.
– I would rather trust the Parliament.
– Honorable members are prepared to trust a future Parliament, but not to trust themselves.
– When I set out to assist the Government to remove the cause of complaint, and, at the same time, to make the exclusion of “aliens as complete as ever, I was thoroughly in earnest. It appears to me, however, that the Government were not. They are preparing to remove a cause of offence to the Japanese and the Hindoos, and to immediately withdraw it again. Either we are in earnest about this matter or. we are not. We must take the Japanese to be very simpleminded people, if we think that they will see any concession in this Bill. They will not be fooled. They will see that matters are a little worse than before, so far as they are concerned. They will realize that present conditions are to be perpetuated until they are altered by some future act of the Parliament, and they will not be humbugged by any such pretence as that now being made. The Prime Minister should have made it plain to the Japanese that he was not prepared to legislate in the matter.
– I told the Consul-General of Japan precisely what I intended to do - to remove the word “ European,” but not to alter our policy in any respect.
– But whilst the Prime Minister has removed the word, he has not removed that which the word represents.
– I said that I could not do so.
– The Prime Minister is merely emphasizing the offensiveness of the whole proposal, so far as the Japanese are concerned.
– The course that the honorable member suggests is not one whit better in essence.
– I propose to complete the concession at once, and have done with it.
– Do I understand that the honorable member would allow the Japanese to be examined in their own language - because that is the alternative?
– No, it is not. The alternative is to leave the matter in the hands of the Government of the day, and not to depend upon parliamentary action.
– Is not that just asmuch hypocrisy?
– I do not think so. In that case, we should remove the offensive word, and should do all that is asked for by the Japanese. Under the Government proposal, however, whilst removing the offensive word, good care is taken that the amendment shall not operate except as the result of some further action on the part of the Parliament. That appears to me to be “ rubbing it in,” rather than removing the cause of offence. Then again, it seems to me that the Government are entirely abdicating their responsibilities. Surely Ministers can be trusted to administer an Act of Parliament, and to interpret the intentions of Parliament. The Government are weakly surrendering their responsibilities, and throwing them upon the House. If that course is to be pursued, the sooner we resort to the plan of elective Ministries, advocated by the honorable member for South Sydney, the better it will be.
– Did not the late PostmasterGeneral submit the English mail contract for the approval of the House?
– That is a very different matter. There is nothing in a business arrangement that may not appropriately be brought before Parliament, but in matters of delicate negotiation between nation and nation, it is of the very highest importance to have a Government in whom the fullest confidence can be reposed.
– Does not the honorable member recollect when the PostmasterGeneral of New South Wales entered into an agreement with the Eastern Extension Company ?
– That was quite a different case. All mail contracts are submitted to the House of Commons. But treaties are not submitted before they are ratified.
– This is not a treaty
– No, “but it stands on the same footing. It belongs to the same class of subject, and has to do with an international arrangement. All civilized Governments treat these questions as matters of supreme Ministerial responsibility,, and not, until completed, as subjects which are to be ma’de the sport and playthings of a public assembly, like this. Therefore the Government are, in my judgment, abjectly abdicating their supreme responsibility, and are doing it in a way that is bound to give greater offence to the Japanese. What would the Government do supposing that a case arose that required to be dealt with within a week? Would they have to wait for thirty days - until Parliament had been consulted ? Ministers should- be careful to retain their full responsibility in all matters of negotiation, with which Parliament, owing to its party constitution, is unable to treat as fairly as desired. All such matters should be removed from the area of party warfare.
– Hear, hear; that is what we say.
– No, it is not. Before any prescribed language can operate, there must be a party conflict m this Chamber. No civilized Government could carry on its affairs if it adopted any such course as that proposed. The British Government never consults the House of Commons before it concludes its treaties. The honorable member for Hindmarsh thinks that if too much power is given to Ministers, a_ Government might come into power which would play ducks and drakes with the administration of the Act. He said he would not trust the leader of the Opposition to administer the Act.
– I would not do so if he had the numbers behind him.
– The attitude of the honorable member has changed within a very short time. He can find no reason in support of his statement. I challenge him to look into the history of the right honorable member for East Sydney, particularly in relation to these matters, and to find a scintilla of basis for the insinuations he has made. When the honorable member for Hindmarsh has done as much to keep Australia, white as has the right honorable and learned member for East Sydney, he will have some excuse for talking.
– The honorable member is misrepresenting what I said. I say that if the right honorable member for East Sydney were in office he would be at liberty to administer the Act in accordance with his own views.
– He would only have the right to interpret the wish of this Parliament. Does the honorable member suggest that the only dutv of a member of the Executive is to interpret Acts according to his desires?
– In the form in which the Bill at present stands, could not the right honorable member for East Sydney, if he were in power, prescribe a test in the Japanese language?
– The honorable member is only trifling with words when he talks like that. No member of a Government would dare to interpret the Act in such a loose way as he suggests.
– It is not loose at all. The Bill leaves it open to the Minister to prescribe a test in Japanese.
– Any Executive might do just as it pleased, if there were no Parliament behind it.
– Under the present Act, the French language test might be applied to coloured French subjects.
– Why not adopt the language of the ancient Britons?
– That is precisely what the honorable member for Franklin asked to-day. May I remind the honorable member for Hindmarsh that when we desired to do what is being suggested upon all sides to-day, the Government in which he has such implicit confidence would not consent. When the honorable member has done as much towards keeping Australia white as has the right honorable member for East Sydney, he will have very much more reason to be suspicious than he has at the present time. It is only a piece of canting humbug for him to suggest that we are actuated by any other motive.
– The leader of the Opposition stated, on the public platform, that he wished to get into office in order that he might alter the law relating to the maintenance of a White Australia.
– That is one of those sweeping statements which certain honorable members are accustomed to make, and which do not contain even a tittle of truth. I shall oppose this amendment, because it does not make the Bill one whit more effective than it is. It is of no use for practical purposes, and may prove a great hindrance in the administration of the legislation which we have already enacted, and so defeat the very ends for which that legislation was introduced.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat - Minister of External Affairs). - Inreply to the honorable member, I wish to make it perfectly clear that this Bill can occasion no disappointment, because at no time have I held out the hope that we could do anything more than comply with the suggestion that the wording of the Immigration Restriction Act should be altered but that thepolicy which it embodied should be continued.
Ministers accept their responsibility, and cannot avoid or evade it. But the Government has not a responsibility for the choice of a language. That is a proper thing to be determined by Parliament. Under this Bill Ministers have unlimited power to grant exemptions, and if a case suddenly arose which called for action, it would be for them to use that power of exemption, and take the responsibility for so doing. By adopting the proposed amendment, we neither limit nor increase Ministerial responsibility in any way. We merely leave it to Parliament to dictate the languages which shall be prescribed.
– It does not dictate them now.
– Yes, it does; because in the principal Act the words, “ an European language “ are used.
– But it does not specify the languages which shall be applied to particular races.
– Neither does this Bill. At the present time we can apply to coloured immigrants a test in any European language, and we shall be able to do so in future. We cannot use any language other than European until a change has been made. This Bill does not diminish Ministerial responsibility, which remains absolutely adequate to cover all the urgent cases to which reference has been made.
– I support the amendment, and in doing so I wish to explain why I do not intend to. submit the proposal of which I have already given notice.
– I drafted this amendment after reading the proposal of the honorable and learned member.
– I felt that there was great danger in the Bill in the form in which it was introduced. It is admitted that the whole of this legislation simply resolves itself into a question of administration. If it were seen that the law prevented Australian Ministers from prescribing any but an European language, a foreign Power could not lay the blame at their doors.But if it saw that the law permitted Ministers to prescribe what language they chose in the case of coloured immigrants, it might well have cause for anger if Ministers did not exercise their discretion. Upon constitutional grounds, therefore. I feel that it would be very inexpedient to vest an uncontrolled power in
Ministers. The amendment which I tabled read as follows: -
No language other than European shall be prescribed except in pursuance of a resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament.
The Prime Minister has discovered that the word “European” is offensive, and I have no intention of adhering to the language of my proposal if I can secure in substance what I desire. The Prime Minister has suggested that all the European languages which are at present authorized shall be deemed to be “ prescribed “ in the meantime.
– Is that an addition to the honorable and learned member’s proposal ?
– No. I am speaking of the Prime Minister’s amendment. At the present time the only languages authorized are European languages. Consequently we start right. Another clause provides that no regulation prescribing a language shall have any force until it has been laid upon the table of the House for thirty days. Then, if any honorable member moved to disagree with a regulation prescribing a certain language, it would not become operative unless with the indorsement of Parliament.
– How long would that take?
– I cannot tell. All I can say is that the procedure I have described is necessary before any departure can be made from that policy which is dearest to the hearts of the people of Australia.
– I agree with the honorable and learned member as to the policy, but not as to the manner of giving effect to it.
– I assume that the honorable member is as strongly in favour of a White Australia as is the honorable and learned member for Parkes.
– I voted for the principle which that policy embodies before the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne did so.
– I do not regard the amendmentproposedas one which deprives Ministers of their proper responsibility. They must declare their opinions beforethey consult the House. They must commit themselves to a certain course of action by making a particular recommendation. We are then asked to declare that, unless the House objects, their decision shall become law. I do not think it is giving the House too much power to enable it to interpose before any departure is made from the policy of a White Australia. This Bill only serves to show how unwise was the educational test which we imposed under the principal Act, at Mr. Chamberlain’s request. There is no legislative provision upon our statutebook which has caused so much friction, or which has tended more to make Australia unpopular than have the sections of the Immigration Restriction, Act which relate to that test. I opposed it at the time, and my opposition has been perfectly justified by events.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive.
I wish, in conclusion, while urging the acceptance of the amendments to clause 3, proposed by the Prime Minister, to ask him whether he still adheres to his determination to accept the amendment of clause 4A that I suggested?
– The one bears upon the other.
– They certainly go together.
– And, therefore,I could not deal with the one without dealing with the other. I think this is a case in which we have to take the best that wecan obtain, inasmuch as we cannot secure exactly the legislation which we should like to have.
– I regret that this is a mere pretence at granting a concession to the reasonable request of a friendly, not to say an allied power. I cannot conceive how the Japanese Consul could have agreed to the Bill as proposed to be amended. I think that the Prime Minister mentioned that the Bill had been submitted to the Japanese Consul.
– No : not a word of it. I said that I had informed him what was my intention in the matter.
– That declaration of intention did not include the amendments now submitted?
– Either would carry out what I stated.
– Are we to infer that the Bill, as proposed to be amendedby the Prime Minister, will receive the acquiescence - if I may use such a; word in this relation- of the Japanese nation? I cannot conceive that the Japanese, when ‘they ask that the differentiation against colour, which is implied in the Bill, shall be removed* will regard the proposal as satisfactory. They do not ask for any alteration of policy. If we remove the word “ European “ from the original Act, they do not wish us to prescribe the Japanese language as a test for a Japanese immigrant. They simply wish us to refrain from differentiating on the face of our law between colour and colour. The reasonable remonstrance made bv a friendly power has not led tb such a change of policy as might have been naturally expected. We are going to do nothing, except vary a word which will not affect any change of substance in our legislation. The word “ European “ will remain in the regulation as submitted to the Parliament, and that regulation is not to have the force of law, if a motion is tabled in either House against it, until that motion has been disposed of. That is a shifting of responsibility on the part of this Parliament. We are asked to declare a policy. We refuse to do so, but say that we will place it in the power of some other Parliament to do that which apparently Ministers are afraid to initiate. When the honorable member for Parramatta said that the Ministry were not acting in accordance with that sense of responsibility that ought to characterize a Government, he doubtless had in mind the lack of initiative which they have displayed in this connexion. The alteration is either a good or a bad one, and why should we wait to ascertain what language ought to be prescribed? If there is to be an alteration of the language test, the Ministry should have decided before this what that alteration is to be. The test must be either one in a specific language for each immigrant, or one selected according to race or nation. I fail to see how the Ministry are likely to come to a decision on that point upon facts that are not now within their knowledge. We are in possession of all “the facts necessary to enable us to determine what words should be inserted in lieu of the word “ European.” Delay will not give us any guidance that is not now accessible to us. That being so, I fail to see why we should leave until next session the determination of what word is to be substituted for the word “ European “ in the original Act. As the honorable member for Parramatta has pointed out, the Ministry are merely shelving their responsibility by saying that they are unable to give the House any guidance at the present moment, but that they will do something during the recess, and next session bring forward a proposal, which, perhaps, will never attain the force of law. If that be so,, we are only making a pretence of conceding something to a reasonable remonstrance. The case of Ah Toy v. Musgrove decided that an alien cannot land here if we wish to prevent him. It decided that an alien, who is prevented from landing, cannot bring an action for assault, because he has no right to insist upon entrance to the British Empire. But in the House of Lords’ decision it was declared that, although an alien had no strict legal right to como in, the refusal of that right to any reasonable number would justify a remonstrance on the part of a power friendly to the nation concerned. It was held that, as long as there was no prohibitive legislation on the statute-book, the preventing of an alien from landing, merely by the exercise of territorial rights, would be an unfriendly exercise of suzerainty on the part of any particular power. Recognising that there are some rules as to the comity of nations morally obligatory on the powers, Japan has appealed to us to remove the stigma against coloured races, and the Japanese in particular, which is cast bv the differentiation in the language test. But we are not proposing to give effect to that request.
– Under the Government proposal, an alteration can be made only as the result of an angry party debate.
– Why should we postpone dealing with the matter? If this amendment were not inserted, the moment that the proposed regulation was framed it would become law. A substantial concession would thus be made. Under the Acts Interpretation Act 1904, a regulation becomes law as soon as it is notified in the Gazette. That Act contains a provision under which either House of the Parliament may pass a resolution, of which notice is given within fifteen days after a regulation has been placed on the table disallowing that regulation. But that is an altogether different state of affairs from that which will ensue from the adoption of this amendment, because under it the regulation- will not come into force until Parliament acts.. I use the word “Parliament,” because one House cannot say that the regulation shall come into force, but one will be able to say that it shall not. We are, therefore, proposing to take it out of the power of the House of Representatives to say whether or not the proposed regulation shall become law, and are giving the Senate power to block the intention of this House, if it is its intention to make the new test law. A small body in another place could obstruct business, and so frustrate any policy adopted by this House in connexion with the request of Japan. In the circumstances, the way in which the honorable member for Parramatta characterized the inaction of the Ministry was perfectly justified. I fail to see what will be accomplished by the amendment. Under it the regulation is not to become law until a motion objecting to it, which is tabled in either House, is disposed of. If no motion is tabled within thirty days, of course it may become law. That does not fit in with the Acts Interpretation Act, which provides that a resolution shall be tabled within fifteen days. I fail to see why we should be always varying the general provision made in that’ Act. If a motion be tabled in opposition to the regulation, as I have said, it is not to become law until that motion is disposed of. Does that mean that if the motion be adopted the regulation is nevertheless to be ‘enforced? It reads as if that were the intention. A motion is “ disposed of “ whether it be negatived or affirmed. The draftsman appears to have been in such a hurry to vary the policy of this Bill that he was not particular as to the words he employed. The effect of the amendment will be that,, if a motion be tabled to disallow the regulation, that regulation will become law as soon as the motion has been disposed of. Another point1- worthy of consideration is that we ought to amend the law regarding the rejection or adoption of regulations. If the regulation prescribed a particular language, the House under the present law would have to accept or reject it. It could not vary it, although an alteration could be made in the Bill itself. If we adopt the Ministerial proposal we shall take it out of our power to amend what we substitute for the words used in the original Act. The regulation may prescribe the Japanese language, or it may even prescribe Esperanto, which would not affect1 the question of colour, or anything else. The upshot of the whole matter is that in proposing to place_ on the statute-book a pretended concession, we are not acting in accordance with’ the high sense of honour which ought to characterize dealing with the relations of nations. In addition to that, the Ministry are not exercising that responsibility which should be incumbent upon those controlling a majority of the House. To put it shortly, the House is to some extent tying up its own powers. Although’ it has as much information in its possession as it will have six months hence, it is not taking the responsibility of inserting in the Bill some practical words, but is proposing to deal with the matter in a way that is less satisfactory, because we cannot amend the proposed regulation. In the circumstances, I think it would be well for the Committee to act upon the suggestion, made by the honorable member for Parramatta, and to reject the amendment.
– The amendment under consideration shows that there is a good deal of force in the arguments of those who opposed any interference with the original Act. I am glad that the Prime Minister has recognised that the Government should endeavour to meet the wishes of the majority, and that consequently we are to have another modification of the Bill. If we have one or two more we shall revert to our original position. I am pleased that this amendment has been submitted. Any proposal which, if adopted, would bring us back nearer to the original position will have my support. But I am rather surprised that the members of the Opposition blame the Government for trying to throw part of their responsibility on to the Parliament, because when the Commerce Bill and other matters connected with the administration of the Customs Department have been before us, they have always complained that Ministers have too much power. I, myself, would give Ministers as little power as possible, and whenever the will of Parliament could be definitely expressed I would so express it, since, if we leave the administration of our laws too much to the discretion of Ministers, we cannot complain very much if particular Ministers take advantage of any opportunities that may be offered to them to give effect to their own ideas. I was amused at the manner in which the honorable member for Parramatta tried to distort my remarks concerning the possible administration of this measure by the right honorable member for East Sydney were he ever in power again. When I spoke, the amendment was not before us, and I had only the Bill to go on. It provides that any person passing the education test in any prescribed language may be admitted into the Commonwealth, and I pointed out that the right honorable member might interpret that provision to mean that anyJapanese who could write out a passage containing fifty words in the Japanese language might be admitted to the Commonwealth. He has, time and again, told the House and the country that he has no sympathy with the Immigration Restriction Act, and would amend it if he. could.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The press has teemed with statements to that effect, made by the right honorable member. If I were in favour of people of alien races coming to Australia, and the law allowed me to administer a test of that kind as I had a mind to, I could not be blamed if I took advantage of the opportunity to carry my own ideas into effect. I entirely agree with the writer who, in a leading article published in the Age some time ago, spoke of the Immigration Restriction Act as a salutary piece of legislation to which no honest objection could be offered. If we open the door for the admission of aliens, to the slightest extent, it will be a practical abandonment of our White Australia policy; but I shall support the amendment, because I regard it as tending to close a door which has just been opened, though I may feel compelled to vote against the third reading of the Bill.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh did the right honorable member for East Sydney an injustice when he said that he is altogether opposed to the Immigration Restriction Act.
– To the coloured labour section of that Act.
– The honorable member must confuse the objections of the right honorable member for East Sydney to the coloured labour provision in the Postal Act with his position in regard to the Immigration Restriction Act.
– The position is the same.
– No; it is very different. The right honorable member has shown by the legislation for which he is responsible that he approves of restricting the immigration of coloured per sons into Australia, and both his acts and his statements show him to be still of that opinion. His remarks about the need for amending the Immigration Restriction Act refer to some such amendment as the Bill just introduced - without the further amendment now proposed - because he thinks it desirable to remove, without weakening, the exclusion provisions which the Japanese and the people of other countries regard as casting a slur upon them.
– I did not say that the right honorable member would take the action I spoke of ; but he could not be blamed if he did take it.
– The honorable member might say the same thing of any Minister.
– Hear, hear !
– I listened to the explanation of the Prime Minister in regard to the introduction of the Bill, and I take it that the Japanese object, not to the restrictions upon the immigration of their people to Australia-
– I do not say that they do not object to that; but they do not feel justified in mentioning the objection.
– I do not see how they could consistently object to them, inasmuch as they put restrictions on foreigners who wish to enter Japan. Except in certain places on the coast, no foreigner can settle in Japan and engage in certain enterprises there. Europeans are prevented from engaging in manufacture within Japan, either as workmen or as employers of labour. If a person wishes to erect and conduct a mill in Japan, he must be a Japanese subject.
– He must have a Japanese partner.
– In such a case, the business is conducted in the name of the partner.
– One cannot travel into the interior of Japan without a permit.
– That must be a recent restriction, because I once travelled into the interior of Japan without a passport. Japanese statesmen cannot logically object to any restriction which we may place upon the admission of Japanese into Australia. Their objection, to our law must be based - as I know it is - on the wording of the Act, which they regard as casting a reflection upon them, and other Eastern peoples. I agree with the Prime
Minister that we should endeavour to remove any expression which may pain the susceptibilities of a friendly power, without receding from the policy which Parliament has sanctioned. The Bill as introduced would do what is desired ; but no sooner had the second reading been carried than the honorable and learned gentleman moved’ an amendment, which, if it allows any satisfaction at all to be given to Japanese statesmen, makes that satisfaction as small as possible. No doubt, if the Bill were passed as it was brought in, t’he honorable gentleman would not examine aliens in their own, language, but would exclude them by asking them to pass a test in some language with which they were not acquainted. The Japanese would be satisfied1 if the law were so altered as to place the Japanese on a par with European languages, but the Bill, if amended in the manner proposed, will not accomplish that.
– Would the honorable member favour the adoption of the Japanese language as a test?
– I see no objection 10 it, if the precautions which are now taken are continued.
– Why not ask undesirable Europeans to write a passage in Japanese, and Japanese to write a passage in some European language with which they are not acquainted?
– That could be, and no doubt would be, done. As the law stands at present, any number of coloured’ aliens could be admitted to Australia, because many coloured people speak French, Spanish,,- Portuguese, or one of the other European languages which mav be used as a test. Any number of coloured people can speak English, and the English language mav be used as a test.
– Could they write English?
– Very many can. Some coloured peoples are much better linguists than are most Britishers. Some of the natives of the Seychelles Islands speak and write both French and English in addition to their own tongue, the trade of the place being conducted in French, whilst English is taught in the public schools. In many other parts of the world the natives are forced by the necessi ties of the situation to learn to speak and to write one or more European tongues with as much ease as many Britishers can speak and write the English language. The exclusion of undesirable immigrants rests solely with the -Administration. A large number of persons who would be strongly objected to might be admitted under the Act if it were not administered for the express purpose of shutting them out. Consequently the extension of power asked -for by the Prime Minister in the first instance involved no extension of responsibility. It was proposed merely for adding to the languages that might be used for the same purpose that European languages are now employed. I should have gladly consented to that extension. I agree with the honorable m’ember for Parramatta that once we have adopted a particular principle, questions involving delicate national considerations should be dealt with by the Administration. It is not desirable that an important question such as the adoption of an additional language for test purposes should be discussed by this Parliament. Very often the wounds that are inflicted by such debates are more difficult to heal than those which are caused by the operation of the measure itself. Therefore I prefer the Bill in its original shape, and I intend to vote against the amendment. Perhaps I may be permitted to say a few words which I think are necessary to define the position taken by myself and other honorable members. Our provisions for exclusion are not directed against certain races, because they are not considered good enough to associate with white people, or because we think that they would contaminate us. But experience has shown that the admission into a country inhabited by a white race of large numbers of persons so alien that they can never successfully unite with a white people, inflicts great injury upon that country. The Japanese themselves have excluded Europeans, because they have recognised a similar danger in their own case. Therefore no reflection can be cast upon us because we exclude from permanent settlement - and it is to permanent settlement only, to which I am now referring - or prevent from becoming an integral part of our population, races so alien that they cannot be successfully blended with a white race. The inevitable result of the introduction of large numbers of Orientals into Australia would be to raise up two separate communities, which in the end would come into conflict. That is the attitude adopted by most honorable members. It should be made perfectly clear that we do not exclude any particular race, because we consider our own superior - in some cases we may be superior, in others we are not - but merely because we desire to guard the community against the evils which have arisen in the United States and elsewhere through the growth within the same territory of two distinctly alien races. I agree with the Prime Minister that, whilst declaring this to be our policy - as it is the policy of Japan - we should take care not to wound the susceptibilities of any nation, and, above all, of a nation which is standing side by side with Great Britain for the benefit of the whole world. I regret that the Prime Minister, who took the right step in the first instance, should now propose to adopt an amendment which will rob his first proposal of much of its merit.
– I was particularly pleased to hear the remarks of the honorable member for North Sydney. I entirely agree with the view that he has put to the Committee. I think that the Act as it originally stood was sufficient to fulfilthe purpose for which it was intended. I do not believe that the three great races - the Caucasians, the Mongolians, and the negroes are capable of being amalgamated. The mixture of the Europeans with the Indian races has produced half-castes known as Eurasians, who are not acceptable to the British race. We have had an example of the evils attendant upon influxes of coloured aliens in the United States, and I shall always advocate the exclusion of the black or yellow races from Australia.
Mr.DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - I am indebted to the honorable and learned member for Angas and the right honorable member for Balaclava for having directed my attention to an omission in the draft of my amendment. As the amendment stands, no provision is made for the contingency of the resolution being negatived. Upon referring to the Act from which the draftsman adopted the provision now before the
Committee, I find that one sub-paragraph has been omitted. I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the first paragraph the following words : - “ If before the regulation comes into forcea resolution disapproving of it is passed by either House of the Parliament, the regulation shall be of no effect.”
– I would ask the Prime Minister to consent to temporarily withdraw his amendment in order that the feeling of the Committee may be tested as to whether the provision now in the Act should be retained.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Webster) proposed -
That the words “ any prescribed,” line 8, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ an European.”
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- I should like to know what attitude the Government intend to adopt with regard to the amendment ?
– They will stand by the Bill.
– I should think that if the amendment were carried, the PrimeMinister would at once withdraw the Bill.
– Indeed, I should not.
– Of what use would the Bill be if the amendment were carried ?
– The measure contains a number, of useful provisions apart from those embodied in clause 3.
– I know that it relates to a number of small matters; but they are certainly not of sufficient importance to justify the introduction of a separate Bill. This clause is the kernel of the whole measure.
– What attitude do the Opposition propose to adopt?
– They will support the Government. There need be no doubt about that. I am quite sure that as a result of that intimation there will be a very much larger vote than would otherwise be cast in favour of the proposal of the honorable member for Gwydir. Upon s matter of this kind, which goes to the very root of the Bill, I think that we should have a very clear statement from the Prime Minister regarding the attitude of the Government.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister pf External Affairs). - The position seems to me too palpable to call” for any Ministerial statement.The Government propose to omit the words “ an European,” with a view of inserting in lieu thereof the words “any prescribed language.” They regard that proposal as by far the most important in that portion of the Bill which relates to the language test.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause - put.
The Committee divided -
Ayes … …31
Noes … … … 13
Majority … … 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment (by Mr. Deakin) proposed’ -
That after the word “ officer,” line 10, the following words be inserted : - “ No regulation prescribing any language shall have any force until it has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament for thirty days or if within that time a resolution has been proposed in either House of the Parliament to disapprove of the regulation until the motion has been disposed Of. “If before the regulation comes into force a resolution disapproving of it is passed by either House of the Parliament, the regulation shall be of no effect. “ Until some language has been prescribed the languages authorized by the Principal Act shall be deemed to be prescribed within the meaning of this Act.”
– I should like to point out that the amendment of the Prime Minister omits to declare - as does the principal Act - that the prescribed language shall be chosen by the Customs officer.
– No; we say that the officer shall “dictate” to the immigrant.
– Suppose that there were eight prescribed languages, and that it was considered desirable to exclude, for example, a man from the Canary Islands. If Spanish or Portuguese were amongst the languages prescribed, I understand that the Customs officer has always had the power to say to him, “ We will examine you in Greek or German.” The present proposal, however, does not permit of him doing that.
– Of course, when the officer “ dictates,” he chooses the language in which the immigrant shall be tested.
– But if Spanish were one of the prescribed languages the immigrant could immediately say,’ “ I will be examined in Spanish.”
– No; the officer dictates to him. I will look into the matter again, but I do not think there is any doubt as to the meaning of the proposal.
– If this Bill is to accomplish anything at all, I think that we should understand exactly what is proposed by the Government. Under the present law the educational test has been uniformly applied for the purpose of excluding, and not of admitting, undesirable aliens.
– Order ! The honorable and learned member is now proceeding to discuss the clause. The question before the Chair is an amendment in favour of adding certain words to it.
– I apprehend that the whole thing turns upon whether the clause as it has been amended should be agreed to.
– Not yet. It isonly proposed to add certain words now.
– The words to be added practically mean that certain regulations shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament.
– Thequestion immediately under consideration is whether Parliament shall be afforded an opportunity of approving of the language in which the test shall be made. It appears to me that Parliament should not be asked to do that. It is not the proper body to do it. Either the Government proposal is intended to benefit one particular nation - the Japanese - or it is not. If it is so intended, the test ought to be made in Japanese. But if that be not its object, the immigrant should be examined either in any Asiatic or European language which may be prescribed The regulations dealing with this matter will require to lie upon the table of the House for thirty days. During that interval Parliament may do what it pleases. What can it do? It may be said that some immigrants are likely to arrive from Japan, or Java, or the MalayArchipelago, or Syria, or China, and Parliament may be at once asked to prescribe such a test as will exclude them. If it prescribed a test in any Asiatic language it would stultify itself, and the whole of this legislation would become null and void, because the education test will either be used to exclude every person to whom it is applied, or it will not. If it will admit them it is of no use. The test has heretofore been used only to exclude every person to whom it is applied. To put a test in Greek to a Portuguese would be to exclude him. This weapon was provided to please the Home Government. Rather than place in the original Bill a direct prohibition of certain Eastern peoples it was desired to have regard for their feelings by introducing the educational test. It is now proposed to admit certain persons - say the Japanese. We are going to put them On a footing with Europeans and other persons to whom the test has never been applied, except with the direct intention of excluding them. If we are not going to depart entirely from the principle, an Asiatic language is to be provided for in order to exclude these Eastern people. If they are to come in, let them’ come ; but do not let us pretend to allow them to come in. If, under the amending Bill, the same instructions are given to the officers as are now conveyed to them, no Japanese, Chinese, or other Asiatics, will ever succeed in landing in Australia by reason of this amendment, because the test can be put in such a way as to exclude every one cf them. It is proposed to amend the law, so we understand, to enable the Japanese or others to some in. What is the reason for this?
– The Minister says that the amendment is designed to keep them out.
– They are already kept out under the existing system, and their position will not be improved by the putting of the test in any Asiatic language. The test might be put in a dialect of Northern China to a Chinese from the south, i;i Hindustani to a Japanese, in Japanese to a Hindoo, and in Malay to a Javanese. I, therefore, wish to know whether the Prime Minister proposes to apply this test in future upon a principle different from that which has hitherto been observed. It would be much better to provide that the test may be put in any language. All persons would then be treated alike, and those whom we wished to admit would be allowed to come in. If that course were adopted, the responsibility would be placed upon the shoulders of the Ministry. No Minister can remain in power without a majority at his back, and therefore to ask the majority in Parliament to decide what shall be the test prescribed, when the Minister prescribing it would be governed by exactly the same majority in Parliament, is only to do by a roundabout way that which ought to be accomplished by Executive authority. Unless there is some good reason for this proposal, I should prefer to strike, out all reference to a particular language, and so ^prevent Parliament being asked to interfere in a matter which is purely the function of the Executive.
– I confess that, when I addressed myself briefly to this question this morning, I had no great enthusiasm for the proposals to amend the Act; but the more I recognise the possibilities of our being placed in an awkward position, as the result of a succession of votes upon amendments, the more I am satisfied that the first proposition was the correct one. I trust that the proposal just made bv the honorable and learned member for West Sydney will not meet with the approbation of the Minister. I favoured the retention of the word “ European,” but as that has not been done, I think we shall act wisely in providing that any proposal to alter the language test shall be submitted to the Parliament.
– The proposal made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney is the. better one.
– It may be in the opinion of the honorable member, but I atn sure that he is in a hopeless minority in the House, as well as in the country. If we adopted the proposal made bv the honorable and learned member for West Svdney there would be nothing to prevent a Government from admitting shiploads of undesirable aliens during a recess, and before Par- liament could have an opportunity to express an opinion. To accept such a proposal would be to give to the Executive for the time being a power which, in my opinion, no Government should possess. I confess that the wording of the amendment submitted to us is’ such that if it be carried our position will be slightly worse than it was this morning, but, under the amendment proposed by the Prime Minister, it would be just as impossible as it is now for undesirable aliens to enter Australia. If the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney were adopted, much of the time devoted to private members’ business would be occupied in the consideration of motions that a test in the Japanese language, for example, should be prescribed. Some honorable members of the Opposition have a partiality for the Japanese. I cannot conceive it possible that the Japanese are so lacking in intelligence as not to be able to see through the proposition now before us. I accept the. Government proposal as the next best thing to the maintenance of the provisions of the original Act. I do not favour the view of some honorable members opposite that if this amendment be adopted, a test may be put in the Japanese language; but the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for Corio, that under the amendment it might be possible for an applicant for admission to Australia to be able to prescribe for himself the language in which the test should be applied, is one worthy of the attention of the Prime Minister. The honorable and learned gentleman shakes his head, as if to indicate that he does not think such a contingency possible, and I am willing to bow to his superior judgment.
– I will make sure of the matter.
– I am glad to receive the assurance of the Prime Minister that he will look into it.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has objected that the adoption of the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney would enable the Minister administering the measure to flood Australia with Chinese during a recess. I would point out to him, however, that under the amendment we should still leave it open to the officers concerned to apply the test in an European language.
– And it would be the only test until we could make an alteration.
– The honorable member is surely aware that if a Government desired to admit aliens to Australia, the putting of the test in an European language could lead to the admission of tens of thousands?
– -And it would block tens of thousands.
– The honorable member fears that if the amendment were rejected, a Government might apply the test in such a way as to deliberately allow an undesirable immigrant to gain admission.
– I say that that is possible.
– Every test that has been applied has been with the direct object of preventing the admission of the persons’ concerned. I mentioned this morning that I saw a test that was put in Perth to an European, and which I venture to say not 75 per cent, of the members of this House could pass. The object of the Prime Minister is to have some consideration for the susceptibilities! of the Japanese. Let us consider for a moment the position that we are asked to create. If a Government introduced a regulation adding the Japanese language to those in which the test might be prescribed, what would follow ? There would certainly be an acrimonious discussion extending over several days. There are many who hold that the policy of Australia should be to exclude aliens at any cost. Honorable members can imagine what the position would’ be so far as Japan was concerned. An angry debate here, in which there would be a great deal of plain speaking, would do infinitely more to offend a nation like the Japanese than fifty proposals for the direct exclusion of that race would do. What would the Australian people and Parliament say, if the Japanese, or the Russians, or any other nation, were dealing with us as we propose to deal with the Japanese? We know that this is a “ slim “ and hypocritical measure ; that we are pretending to do something that we do not do. No doubt, the speech of the Prime Minister will be sent through Japan, to let the people there know that, while he is pretending to allow them to come into Australia, he is really shutting the door against them more closely than before. Such hypocritical and canting legislation will degrade Australia in the eyes of all (l civilized nations. It is time that we dealt fairly and honestly with the question of alien immigration. If we are opposed to the immigration of aliens, let us say so directly. If the amendment is carried, I shall vote against the clause, as amended.
– Does not the honorable member think that his speech is more likely to be circulated in Japan than that of the Prime Minister?
– I do not flatter myself that that is so. I feel, however, that the Japanese would rather be dealt with by us honestly than in the manner now proposed. The Prime Minister told us, on introducing the Bill, that he wishes to soothe the susceptibility of the Japanese by making certain concessions ; but directly he got into Committee, he moved an amendment which practically makes the Bill inoperative.
– I am opposed to the amendment, because, in my opinion, it provides a remedy which is worse than the disease. If these regulations have to be adopted by Parliament, we shall have discussions from time to time on the advisability of admitting certain alien races, which will defeat the object which the Prime Minister has in view. It is said that the intention of the Bill is to allay the susceptibilities of the Japanese. We have been told that we should speak with bated breath in discussing the measure, lest we offend! that nation; but we must perform our duty, notwithstanding the threats or inducements offered to prevent us from using what arguments we consider it necessary to use. I think that in this matter the responsibility for the proper administration of the Immigration Restriction Act should rest with the Cabinet. It is taking a step in the wrong direction to make any alteration of the present law ; but I certainly object to the proposal now put forward, which will cause more trouble than any other which could have been made. Some persons speak as though the Japanese have become a very superior race, by reason of what has occurred during the last two or three years ; but, in my opinion, there is nothing to sustain that position. There is just as much reason now for excluding the Japanese from Australia as there was before the war began. I do not think that the Japanese secured! such a glorious result by that war.
– They won every round.
– And lost all at the finish. I shall vote against the amendment, and if it be carried, against the clause as amended, since I am of opinion that Ministers should not throw their responsibility on to Parliament. The adoption of the course now proposed would create more friction between Australia and other nations than any other that could be put forward.
– I can understand why the opponents of the Immigration Restriction Act are against the amendment, but I am astonished at the position assumed by the honorable member for Gwydir in regard to it. He told us to-day that he considers the present law good enough, and voted against the second reading of the Bill ; yet he is opposed to an amendment which, if agreed to, would bring us back to the old position, unless Parliament deliberately altered it.
– Then why have we wasted the whole day over this matter?
– I have nothing to do with that. I shall vote for the amendment, because I think that the Immigration Restriction Act should not be altered, and the carrying of the amendment will practically bring us back to where we were.
– The honorable member for Grey says that he will vote for the amendment, because it will bring us back to the old position. But to do that he must vote against both the amendment and the clause.
– I shall be willing to vote against the clause, but I would sooner see it passed as it is proposed to amend it than as it stands.
– I shall vote against the clause if it. is amended in the way the Prime Minister proposes to amend it. and shall, of course, vote against the amendment, because I think it better to leave the Immigration Restriction Act as it is than to place a canting and hypocritical measure on the statute-book. The Bill, as introduced, provides that the test shall be the writing of fifty words in any prescribed language; but now, because of some pressure brought to bear on the Prime Minister, probably by his masters-
– I think it is inad visable for the honorable member to use that expression.
– I withdraw it, if it is considered offensive. If the amendment is agreed1 to, and regulations are framed and laid on the table of the House, a party debate will be stirred up, which will not be pleasant to the nation whose feelings we are trying to mollify. I am with the honorable and) learned member for West Sydney in the opinion that we should say straight-out what we mean.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted, be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 20
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
– Paragraph c proposes to omit the whole of paragraphs m and n from the original Act. Paragraph m makes an exception, so far as prohibited immigrants are concerned, in favour of a wife accompanying her husband if he is not a prohibited immigrant, and of all children apparently under the age of eighteen years accompanying their father or mother, if their father or mother is not a prohibited immigrant.
– The operation of that paragraph has been suspended for the last two or three years by proclamation.
– The law as at present administered operates very harshly. The
Chinese interpreter in the Northern Territory, who was born there, and is an excellent linguist, has been unable to introduce his wife from China; He married a Chinawoman many years ago, and afterwards took her to China with him. He returned to the Territory in advance of her, and has been precluded by the operation of the law from again bringing her into the Territory. I directed ‘ the attention of the authorities to this matter, but was informed that the law could not be relaxed. It is ridiculous that we should retain on our statute-book a law that prevents a man from introducing his wife into the Commonwealth merely because he arrives here in advance of her. Last week my attention was directed to another case, and I would suggest that we should so amend the original Act as to make paragraph m read -
A wife, if her husband is not a prohibited immigrant, and resides in the Commonwealth, and all children under the age of eighteen years, if the father or mother is not a prohibited immigrant, and resides in the Commonwealth.
– The proposal of the honorable and learned member opens up a very serious question. The great majority of the Chinesein Australia are males. Very few of them have their wives with them, and the majority do not desire to introduce them into Australia, but prefer to visit China every few years. Since the Act has been in force, however, they have sought to take advantage of the paragraph referred to by bringing in their wives and children. They introduced them in such numbers that it became necessary to suspend the operation of the paragraph by proclamation. If this course had not been adopted, the whole object of the Act would have been defeated, and numbers of Chinamen would have been encouraged to depart from their habit of retaining their families in China. I admit that the case mentioned by the honorable and learned member for Angas is deserving of reasonable consideration, and I promise him that if he brings it under my notice I shall do everything I can to remove any hardship that may have been inflicted upon the official in question.
– I should be quite satisfied if such cases were met.
– If we were to throw open the door to an influx of Chinese women and children we should reverse the policy of the Act and undo all the good we have accomplished.
Mr. LONSDALE (New England).Some time ago, I brought under the attention ot the authorities a case somewhat similar to that mentioned by the honorable and learned member for Angas. A Chinaman in my electorate, who is in a large way of business, and who has been resident in the Commonwealth for twenty years, lost his wife, and went to China in order to marry again. He desired to bring his wife with him on his return, but he was prevented from doing so. It appears to me that we should be moved by some of the finer feelings when dealing with cases of this kind - that our laws should be relaxed1 to a certain extent in such cases. We do not want the Chinese to marry our white women.
– No, we want them to go back to China and marry there.
– The man to whom I refer is practically one of our own citizens. He is highly respected, and I do not think that we should treat him as if he were a criminal.
Mr. GLYNN (Angas). - I am quite satisfied with the assurance of the Prime Minister - which evidently meets with the approval of the Committee - that exceptional cases will be fairly dealt with.
– I do not mind doing that, because we shall be able to deal with cases of hardship now, and we shall then be done with them for ever.
– I do not wish to diminish the number of eligible bachelors in the Northern Territory, and consequently I shall not press my amendment.
– I feel that I have been placed in a very peculiar position bv reason of the amendments which have been effected in this clause. It seems to me that they have destroyed the whole purpose underlying the alteration of existing legislation. This Bill, I understand, was introduced primarily to meet the objections of the Japanese to the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act. The idea was that we could attain the same ends by means of a much less objectionable method - by the adoption of a treaty between the two countries. Now, however, it appears that whilst the objections of the Japanese have been technically removed, the effect of the latter portion of the Bill is to nullify the former. Whatever the intentions of the Prime Minister mav have been, they have been frustrated. Under these circumstances, I find it difficult to decide how I should vote. The original aim of the Government has been thwarted by the adoption ofam amendment which will certainly make us appear a laughing-stock - if they do not regard the matter from a serious stand-point - in the eyes of the Japanese. For the present,. I shall content myself with listening to further arguments on the question witha view to determining how I should vote under these peculiar conditions.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 -
After section four of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted : - “ 4A. - (1) If the Minister notifies by notice in the Gazette that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country regulating the admission to the Commonwealth of the subjects or citizens of that country, the subjects or citizens of that country shall not, while the notice continues to have effect, be required to pass the dictation test. “ (2) The Minister shall not issue any such notice until the expiration of one month after copies of the arrangement to which it refers have been laid before both Houses of the Parliament. “ (3) Any such notice shall cease to have effect upon the Minister notifying, by notice in the Gazette, that it is cancelled. 4b. - (1) Any person who has resided in Australia for a period or periods in the aggregate of not less than five years, and who is about to depart from the Commonwealth, may in manner prescribed apply to an officer authorized in that behalf for a certificate in the prescribed form excepting him, if he returns to the Commonwealth within the period limited in the certificate, from the provisions of paragraph a of section three of this Act. “ (2) The officer may in his discretion give the certificate on payment of the prescribed fee, or, without assigning any reason, withhold it. “ (3) Where the Minister is satisfied that a certificate given under this section has been obtained by any untrue statement of fact or intention, the Minister may revoke the certificate, which shall thereupon be taken to be of no effect, and shall on demand be delivered up. to the Minister. “ (4) A person to whom a certificate under this section has been issued (which certificate has not been revoked) shall not, on his return to the Commonwealth within the time limited by the certificate, if he produces and delivers the certificate to an officer, be required to pass the dictation test.”
-I move -
That paragraph 4A be left out.
I do so, because I contend that this provision will open the door for the admission of undesirable aliens.
– If the honorable member will permit me to say so, the object of th’is clause is to allow us to make an arrangement with any other nation whose subjects are habitually excluded from our ports, by which if the Government of that country are willing to undertake their control in their own ports they need not be required to present themselves for the education test. We may enter into a reciprocal arrangement with regard to our citizens visiting their country. The proposal will not disturb the existing arangement, which allows merchants and tourists from Japan and elsewhere to enter the Commonwealth temporarily under the passport system. I am not as hopeful as I was when the proposal was originally framed, that we shall be able to enter into any arrangement such as I have suggested. Still, no harm can result from our offer. The honorable member for Hindmarsh must see that the whole purpose of this clause is not to permit of the admission of any aliens who do not at present enter Australia. It merely provides a different method for their exclusion.
Mr. HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh).- It is scarcely to be expected that many countries will take advantage of our legislation to exclude from our shores members of their own race. As I am quite satisfied with the explanation of the Prime Minister, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That all the words after “ notice,” in clause 4a, line 12, be left out, with a view to insert in Heu thereof the words “ until the arrangement has been sanctioned by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament.”
I quite .recognise that the object of the clause is as the Prime Minister has stated. It was framed for the purpose of enabling other nations to restrain emigrants from their side of the water, and thus to obviate the necessity for imposing a prohibition upon them when they arrived here. But, although that was the object of the provision, T am inclined to think that, in its original form, it would ha.ve permitted an arrangement of another nature. Under it, it would have been possible for a Minister who was out of touch with the ideal of a White Australia, acting without the consent of Parliament, to admit a number of coloured aliens, and the- evil could not have been remedied, because they could not very well have been returned to their homes. I do not think I need make a lengthy ex planation of my proposal. I understand! that it has the approval of the Government.
– Hear, hear.
– That being so, I shall not further occupy the time of the Committee.
– This is another proviso which will take out of the hands of the Government the administrative powers given them by the original Act.
– In what part of the original Act is a similar power given?
– There is no such specific power in the Act.
– That is so ; but the whole effect of the Act is. to be secured bv administration. We are now narrowing down that power -and placing it r entirely under the control of Parliament. The difficulties and dangers attending the adoption of this course have already been pointed out. Delicate matters have often to be adjusted in the course of negotiations between nations., and we have- always power to deal with a Ministry which acts contrary to the opinions of the House. I think that it will be much better to keep to the principle of the original measure, and to allow the Ministry a discretionary power to make arrangements in accordance with * the* spirit of the law. We should still be able to deal with a Ministry who,, in the exercise of their discretion, departed from the views of the Parliament. No intimation was given that this amendment would be accepted.
– I said earlier in the afternoon that it would be.
– The amendment moved by the Prime Minister in a previous clause indicated that he was prepared to accept the spirit of the first! amendment, of which notice had been given by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne. I . am not going to press this question to a division, but I think that the Ministry are proposing to relinquish a discretionary power which we considered it desirable under the original Act to vest in the Executive - -a power which is necessary in order to enable them to carry out delicate negotiations, with the Governments of other countries. A debate on such matters might often lead to the frustration of the object of this clause.
– I do not often disagree with the views of the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne, but I certainly share the opinion of the honorable member for North Sydney that there is a great distinction between this amendment and that proposed by the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne in paragraph a of clause 3. In the first place, under this clause, negotiations will have to be entered into between the Ministry and the Governments of other countries in regard to any arrangement regulating the admission of immigrants to the Commonwealth. This is a proposal practically to place the Parliament in the position of the Senate of the United States. Any treaties entered into by the Government of the United States must be approved by the Senate, and that Chamber has rejected so many agreements that Governments of other countries are disinclined to negotiate with the authorities there.
– There a two-thirds majority must affirm a treaty, but here a simple majority will suffice.
– That is so. The provisions of sub-clause 3 seem to be. still more extraordinary. Under that sub-clause a notice that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country will cease to have effect upon the .Minister notifying in the Gazette that it is cancelled. That is hardly a power that- is likely to be regarded with favour by a Government with whom the Minister of External Affairs proceeds to negotiate. I do not favour the clause, but if it is to be passed, we should give the Minister power to make the best possible bargain for the Commonwealth, knowing that he will be responsible for his actions to the Parliament. To ask that after he has completed his negotiations he shall obtain the sanction of the Parliament to the agreement is to create a situation that, to my mind, will not work out well.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 7 (Immigrants evading officers or found within Commonwealth).
– I wish to make a suggestion in regard to sub-clause 4b of clause 6.
– We have dealt with that clause, but with the permission of the Chairman, I shall be pleased to hear the honorable member’s suggestion.
– Sub-clause 4b of clause 6 provides that -
Any person who has resided in Australia for a period or periods in the aggregate of not less than five years . . . may . . . apply to an officer authorized in that behalf for a certificate in the prescribed form excepting him, if he returns to the Commonwealth within the period limited in the certificate. . . ,
I think that under that clause it would be. possible for a tourist or other person who had paid several visits to Australia under an agreement between the Commonwealth and the Government of his country to prove to the satisfaction of the officer that in the aggregate his period of residence in the Commonwealth was not less than five years.
– I do not think that is possible, but I shall take care the instructions to the officers include the direction that no such person shall be exempted in that way.
– That assurance is satisfactory. The only other point which I desire to raise is that I think a maximum time should be fixed within ‘which the person claiming exemption under clause 6 must return to the Commonwealth.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - As a general rule, the longer the persons to whom the sub-clause relates desire to remain away the better we are pleased. If a man wished to go away for twenty years, we should be glad to allow him to do so, and that is why we do not fix a maximum. We merely desire to keep control, to take care that the man is not leaving, and proposing to dispose of his permit. To guard against anything of the kind, we have the whole-palm test, as well as full photographs, profile photographs, and a description of the man on the paper relating to his .case. We have what is now believed to be the highest and best test of identity that can be obtained, so that’ we have not much cause for fear in this regard.
– Does the Prime Minister consider that the test would apply in the case of a Chinese who had been absent for a number of years?
– We are informed that it would ; but, in any case, we have the palm test, and if we have any doubt as to the identity of an applicant, we reject him. It is his business’ to prove his identity as, the person named in the certificate.
– Has the Department adopted the finger-print test?
– It is something more than that. We have the whole hand test, and therefore our system ought to be fairly effective.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 8 and 9 agreed to.
Clause 10 (Penalty on masters, &c, of ships).
– Under this clause - the masters, owners, agents, and charterers of any vessel from which any prohibited immigrant enters the Commonwealth contrary to this Act is liable, on summary conviction, to a penalty of £100 for each prohibited immigrant so entering the Commonwealth. If my memory serves me rightly, the Acts Interpretation Act provides that in the absence of specific words to the contrary, a penalty named in an Act of Parliament shall be regarded as the maximum. If that be so, the penalty of £100 would be the maximum in this case.
– No; this is “the” penalty.
– I think the honorable member for Bland is in error. I believe that it is only where, at the end of a section, we have the words “ Penalty, so much,” that the penalty named is to be regarded as the maximum.
– My memory is not clear on the point, and that is why I have asked for information. At all the ports of the Commonwealth there has been a great leakage of coloured aliens into Australia, and this has been due in some measure to the very small penalties inflicted by magistrates, for repeated infractions of the law. I know of one company, whose record I have not followed up lately, but which was fined some time ago £5 for what was about its twentieth conviction. We know that for years the Chinese, more particularly, were prepared to pay £100 to secure admission into the Commonwealth. As many of these men who desert, or are crimped ashore, have wages owing to them to an amount in excess of or even£10, it is often a saving to the owners to get rid of them. The ship-owners have to enter into a bond for£100 pending the case coming into Court, but they are not called upon to pay that amount if a smaller penalty is imposed. We must expect the continuance of these leakages unless a larger penalty is fixed. Under the Chinese Restriction Act of New South Wales, a poll-tax of£100 was demanded, and the owners of vessels bringing in Chinese v. ere held responsible for its payment. If a similar provision were made in our law, I think that it would prevent the shipowners from allowing their sailors and other coloured employes to escape into the Commonwealth. I do not see why we should not insist that£100 shall be recoverable as a penalty.
– This clause provides for that.
-I wish to make sure that the Acts Interpretation Act will not cause the penalty provided for to be looked upon as the maximum penalty.
– No; the Acts Interpretation Act will not affect that.
– If that is so, I am satisfied.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 11 agreed to.
Clause 12 -
After section thirteen of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted : - “ 13a. The master, owners, agents, or charterers of a vessel in which a prohibited immigrant, or a person who becomes a prohibited immigrant, come to the Commonwealth, shall, on being required in writing by any Collector of Customs so to do, without charge to the Commonwealth, provide a passage for the prohibited immigrant to the place whence he came. “ 13b. The master of a vessel on which a pro hibited immigrant, or a person reasonably supposed to be a prohibited immigrant, is, may, with the necessary assistance, prevent the prohibited immigrant from entering the Commonwealth from the vessel in contravention of this Act.”
– Under this clause, masters, owners, agents, or charterers of vessels bringing prohibited immigrants to the Commonwealth must provide for their deportation on being required to do so. Section 8 of the principal Act, however, provides that -
Any person who is not a British subject, either natural-born or naturalized under a law of the United Kingdom or of the Commonwealth or of a State, and who is convicted of any crime of violence against the person, shall be liable, upon the expiration of any term of imprisonment imposed on him therefor, to be required to write out at dictation and sign in the presence of an officer a passage of fifty words in length in an European language, directed by the officer, and if he fail. to do so shall be deemed to be a prohibited immigrant, and shall be deported from the Commonwealth, pursuant to any order of the Minister.
It seems to me that, in view of that section, this clause should be amended, because it would be hardly fair to require those responsible for bringing such a person to the Commonwealth to pay for his deportation. Section 8 imposes a liability to which there seems to be no end.
– I am indebted to the honorable member for having pointed out an undoubted omission, and to meet it, I move -
That after the word “ person,” line 5, toe words “ other than a person deemed to be prohibited under section 8 of the principal Act,” be inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - I wish to move another amendment. It frequently happens that vessels arrive with coloured stowaways and other prohibited immigrants on board who, being discovered, are taken into custody, and kept in prison, at the request of the ship-owners, sometimes for . three or four weeks, until the ship’s departure. It is considered unfair that the State should bear the expense of their maintenance during that period, and, therefore, I am about to move an amendment which will cast that responsibility upon those through whose neglect the prohibited immigrants are brought here. I move -
That after the word “came,” line ro, the words “ and shall also be liable to pay to the Commonwealth for the State a fair sum to recoup the State for the cost of keeping and maintaining the prohibited immigrant, while awaiting his deportation from Australia.”
Amendment agreed to.
– I should like to point out that, while it is possible for those connected with shipping to ascertain whether any intended immigrant is a lunatic, a coloured person, or suffering from an infections disease, and, therefore, a prohibited immigrant, it will be impossible for them to ascertain that men are prohibited immigrants by reason of their having been convicted of an offence within the preceding twelve months. I think that it is only fair that ship-owners should be exempted from such a heavy penalty as ,£100 if unknowingly they bring such immigrants. A little while ago, at the annual gathering of the Church Army in London, the Rev. W. Carlyle made the proud statement that during the previous, twelve months he had been able to send to Canada some 1,200 men, manyl of whom had been in gaol. There are a number of philanthropists in the old country who think they are doing a goad work in deporting criminals (from England to the Colonies. The ship-owners, however, in whose vessels such people are deported, should not be made responsible if they have no knowledge of the character of their passengers. Perhaps the Prime Minister will consider the matter.
Mr. DEAKIN (Ballarat- Minister of External Affairs). - I think that probablysome amendment will be required, and I shall have the matter looked into.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 13 agreed to.
Bill reported, with amendments.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the Bill to pass through its remaining stage without delay.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s amendments) :
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -
That the Senate’s amendments be agreed to.
– I only wish to say that to my mind the present title of the Bill is ridiculous.
– It is a common practice to adopt such titles.
– I think it would have been much preferable to adopt the title “ Trade Descriptions Bill.” However, I shall not move an amendment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported ; report adopted.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That the House at its rising adjourn to tomorrow at 10.30 a.m.
House adjourned at 10.4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 December 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1905/19051206_reps_2_30/>.