7th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 11 a.m. and read prayers.
Exclusion of German and Austrian Immigrants. - British ex-Service Men and Farm Labourers.
-. - In the absence of copies of the speech made by the Minister for Home and Territories, in introducing the Immigration Restriction Bill, I am in. doubt as to whether it is the intention of the Government to prevent all persons of German and Austrian parentage coming into this country during the next five years. Will the honorable gentleman enlighten the House as to the intention of the Government in that regard?
– In the speech referred to by the honorable member I made a statement on the subject.
– Unfortunately we have not yet received copies of it.
– I am at a loss to understand why copies of the speech have not been received. I wrote a special memorandum on the subject. On looking through that speech the honorable member will find that provisions in the Immigration Act enable exemptions to be granted.
– To certain persons’.
– Yes. I stated my own personal opinion as to what classes of persons should be allowed to come in.
– Will the Minister for Home and Territories state what steps the Government have taken to encourage
British farm labourers and other desirable immigrants to come to Australia, and what is their policy in that regard?
– Speaking generally, our police at present is to settle upon the land, in conjunction with the States, members of the Australian Imperial Force, and after that to help the Imperial Government to place upon lands in Australia ex-service men. The Imperial Government has decided to pay the fares of such men to Australia, as well as those of women who have done certain classes of war work. The question of general immigration has been considered, but is to remain in abeyance until the classes to which I have just referred are provided for. I may say that there is very great difficulty in inducing farm labourers and others employed on the land in Great Britain to come out. Shortly before the war, when I held office as Minister for External Affairs, we endeavoured to encourage that class of immigration. As the result of a canvass made on a fair day about three years previous to the war about 130 persons intimated their willingness tocome to Australia; but on a subsequent occasion we found that only some four were prepared to do so. This shows that farming men in Great Britain are more inclined to remain at home. I hope, as the result of a conference with the State authorities, to arrange a policy as soon as we have settled the others on the land.
Wivesof Soldiers - Vocational Training: Attitude of Industrial Unions Homes for -Soldiers: Building Material
– Will the Assistant Minister for Defence inform the House on what conditions the wives of our soldiers who have married in England are given a passage to Australia, and if any special privileges are extended to the sisters-in-law of such men?
– I shall make inquiries. The matter is dealt with by the Repatriation Department.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation inform the House whether it is a fact that the industrial unions are restricting the vocational training of returned soldiers by refusing them admission to their organizations ? If it is a fact, will he state to what extent that restriction is operating.
– I am not aware that anything has been done by the industrial unions in the direction mentioned by the honorable member. They have agreed to the vocational training of maimed soldiers, and it has been proposed that this agreement should be so extended as to provide for the vocational ‘training of all returned soldiers up to twenty years of age. A conference has been ‘held with the industrial bodies to determine their view of this further proposal. I am not aware of the decision arrived at, nor can I say that any attitude has been taken up by the industrial unions in the direction to which the honorable memberrefers.
Mr. WESTON.; I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation whether those who have the disposal of building materials have made favorable offers to the Department for the supply of such materials for the erection of homes for soldiers. If they have not done so, have the Government taken any direct action to obtain a supply in order to provide homes for soldiers at reasonable rates?
– I placed on the table yesterday a paper which gives all the information on that subject of which I am yet in possession. I moved that the paper be printed, and it will probably be available to the honorable member next week.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs been officially informed of the outbreak of influenza in Tasmania? If so, what is the intention of the Government in regard to the existing quarantine restrictions as between the mainland and that State?
– I have received from the Tasmanian Government an official intimation of the outbreak of pneumonic influenza in that State. Upon receipt of it, we immediately notified the Tasmanian Government that in the circumstances we proposed to abandon the existing quarantine restrictions as between Tasmania and the mainland, and to substitute in their stead surveillance before, going on board ship,- and three days’ surveillance after arrival in the State.
– That is what you are doing?
– Yes ; the Tasmanian Government have intimated its approval of that step being taken.
– Have the Government reconsidered the question of allowing the importation of sheep dips, as promised by the Minister for Trade and Customs to a deputation of primary producers who waited on him some three or four weeks ago?
– Yes. The Government ‘has given the matter further consideration; but I have nothing to add to the statement on the subject already made to the House.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Home and Territories whether past protests by the Commonwealth Government in regard to the destruction of bird and seal life on Macquarie Island, south of Tasmania, have met with any response from the Tasmanian Government.If not, will he consult with his colleague, the Minister f or Trade and Customs, and ascertain whether it would be possible, equitably to impose some Excise duty calculated to prevent the wasteful destruction of lives of the kind which might be in time to come a valuable asset to the people of Australia?
Mr.GLYNN. - The question of acquiring from Tasmania control of Macquarie Island is under consideration. I looked into it some five or six weeks ago,, and determined to again submit the matter to the Cabinet. About 1916 we asked the Tasmanian Government whether they were prepared to hand over to us the control of the island, which is about 900 miles from Sydney. I think that on a voyage from New Zealand an extra two days would enable vessels to call at that island, and the question is whether there may not be naval visitations to the place at times. I agree with the honorable member that something ought to be done in the direction suggested by him. When the island was transferred to Tasmania, I think it was under lease for about ?40 a year.So far as I can ascertain from the dockets, there was then a very large destruction of excellent fauna, including penguins, seals, and what are known as sea- elephants. Something should be done to put a stop to such destruction.
Mr.Fenton. -What is to be said as to the destruction of edible fish by seals ?
– I am not at present going into submarine matters. I hope that some action will soon be taken in the direction desiredby the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Kelly). A communication has been sent to the Tasmanian Government, asking reconsideration of the matter.
– I desire to draw the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs, asthe Minister in charge of foodstuffs, to a very grave situation that faces stock-owners, and which has a national significance, because of the daily increasing danger of drought affecting conditions in Victoria and Riverina, where stock to-day are in fair condition. In Southern Riverina and Victoria, when this season’s lambs mature, there will be approximately 34,000,000 sheep, and the provision for slaughtering is wholly inadequate. I desire to ask the Minister whether the Government has any proposals to meet the situation, which involves, not only serious individual, but grave national, loss.
– All that I can say today is that we have made most urgent representations to the Imperial Government with regard to lifting existing stocks of frozen meat in Australia, so as to provide the fullest possible room in the existing slaughtering works. We are making further representations to them in regard to the whole situation.’
– The present capacity of those works is quite inadequate.
– The capacity of the existing works to deal with the stock is quite another matter.
– Is the Minister for Trade and Customs aware that, owing to the competition of cheap labour countries, Australian industries are closing down ? When will the Government, afford relief to local industries ?
– I suggest to the honorable member’s consideration that if his colleagues will allow the House to do a little more business than has been done lately the consideration of this matter will be expedited.
– In reference, to the revenue scale which governs the allowance to small post-offices in the country, I ask the Postmaster-General whether a new scale was issued in the early part of this year, and is it in consequence of that revised scale that the present allowances for post-offices are being curtailed?
– There has been no alteration in the scale or in the methods of dealing with allowance post-offices during the last three or four years.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. The Age newspaper this morning, in reporting remarks made by me yesterday, in regard to the Somali incident, gives the following statement: -
– Did Mr. Yates deny that on a prior occasion he had refused to obey a military order regarding the donning of lifebelts ?
– No; but by whom was I brought before the commanding officer? - by your son.
I desire to explain that it was Captain Chanter who ordered me to put on a filthy lifebelt next to my skin. It was not Major Chanter who made the statement to the press of which I complain.
– I was absent from the chamber when the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Yates) made a personal explanation regarding the distinction between Major J. C. Chanter, D.S.O., and Captain A. L. Chanter. All I desire to say is that the Major Chanter referred to is my son, and Captain A. L. Chanter, who, I stated yesterday, had placed the honorable . member for Adelaide under arrest and reported him for insubordination, is my grandson.
– I rise to another personal explanation. I have no objection to the honorable member for Riverina advertising his son and his grandson.
– But the honorable member misrepresented me in regard to the events that took place on the Somali when he stated that Captain Chanter placed me under arrest.
– Well, he reported the honorable member to the Officer Commanding.
– The honorable member has been misled. If his son and grandson have told him things that are not correct . I cannot help it; but the fact remains that their statements are incorrect and malicious, and that they detrimentally affect me. I was not placed under arrest on board the Somali. I was ordered on boat parade, and I promptly stood to attention at my position near the boat to which I was allotted.
Lt. -Colonel Abbott. - And they gave the honorable member sixty days for that ?
– No; the honorable member’s brain is incapable of understanding the position.
– Order! The honorable member must not be offensively personal !
– My sentence of sixty days’ imprisonment had nothing to do with the incident to which I am referring. When the whistle for boat stations was sounded on the occasion referred to by the honorable member for Riverina, I was playing a game on the deck. By the time I had descended to the troop deck to get my lifebelt, another digger had been there before me.’ In consequence, I had no lifebelt, and when I got on deck-
– Order ! I ask the honorable member to confine hia remarks to a personal explanation, amd I ask
Other honorable members to refrain from interjecting.
– I had to get a lifebelt ‘ from some place-
– The honorable member will not be in order in going into all these details. I again remind honorable members that a personal explanation must be confined- to matters in respect to which *an honorable member has been misrepresented or misunderstood. The sole purpose of an explanation is to correct a misrepresentation or clear up a misunderstanding of something he has said previously. The honorable member for Adelaide will not be in order in stating to the House a lot of details, which, however important and interesting in themselves, are not properly relevant to a personal explanation.
– In order to controvert the statement of the honorable member for Riverina that I was placed under arrest; it is necessary for me to state what happened on the occasion referred to.
– Surely that is admissible.
– That will be all right.
-Order! I have already laid down the procedure in connexion with personal explanations. If the honorable member for Adelaide desires to go beyond a personal explanation, he must obtain the permission of the House to make a statement. I have no desire to limit the rights of honorable members under the ‘Standing Orders, but I must insist that some regard be paid to the rules of the House.
– I was not placed under arrest. I did not see Captain Chanter until he entered the orderly-room at Victoria Barracks to give evidence in connexion! with the charge laid against me. on his information.
– On the honorable member’s own showing, he ought to be shot.
– And if the officers had their way, I would have been shot.
-Order! The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is out of order.
Mr. Mathews. - (Again interjecting.)
– Order ! The bon’orable member for Melbourne Ports is again out of order. I call the attention of the House to the frequent exhibitions of disorder, in defiance of the repeated calls from the Chair. I do not wish to have recourse to the extreme measures which the Standing Orders empower me to use, but I must insist upon, at least, some semblance of order being maintained in the proceedings of the Chamber.
– By way of further personal explanation, I desire to state that my remark that Captain Chanter placed the honorable member for Adelaide under arrest was not strictly correct. I admitted that by interjection, and stated that the honorable member was reported by Captain Chanter to the Officer Commanding for his offence on the occasion referred to.
– I desire to ask-
Several honorable members interjecting,
– Order !
– They said I spoke twice when I only spoke once.
– This disorder cannot be permitted to continue. The asking of questions without (notice is degenerating into an irregular interchange of statements shouted across the chamber. I, therefore, direct the Clerk to call on the business of the day.
asked the Assistant
Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Three home service volunteer badges and thirty-six munition workers’ badges were issued to employees of the Small Arms Factory who volunteered to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force, but were debarred from doing so.
asked the Acting
Prime Minister, upon notice -
– I shall endeavour to obtain the information desired, and will furnish the honorable member with a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The information will be obtained, and the honorable member will be informed as early as possible.
asked the Acting Minister for . the Navy, upon notice -
Whether he will place on the table of the Library the history file of Paul Morris in connexion with his service in the Royal Australian Naval radio service?
– As this file contains secret information, I do not think there is any likelihood of it being placed on the table.
asked the Acting Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
What is the estimated cost of the new gunmounting stores proposed to be erected at Garden Island?
– The total estimated cost is £13,000, towards which the Admiralty will contribute about £5,000.
Mr.GREGORY asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether it is not a fact that prior to the BlytheRiver iron deposits in Tasmania being placed under option to Sir John Higgins they were placed under option for £10,000 or thereabouts to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company.
– I have made inquiries, and, as far as I have been able to ascertain, it is not a fact that the Blythe River iron deposits were offered to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company for £10,000 or thereabouts.
The following papers were presented : -
Royal Australian -Naval College -
Report for 1918.
Ordered to be printed.
Public Service Act -
Promotion of T. O’Callaghan, AttorneyGeneral’s Department.
Promotion ofW. J. Nielsen, Prime Minister’s Department.
Debate resumed from 20th August (vide page 11716), on motion by Mr. Glynn -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
.- I regret exceedingly that circumstances have prevented me from studying the second-reading speech of the Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Glynn). I have had a hurried glance through it this morning, but have not had an opportunity of completing my perusal. The press reports of debates do not give the details that honorable members are anxious to have in studying an important measure of this kind. I regret, too, that the Government on this occasion have departed from the practice of reprinting the principal Act with the proposed amendments shown in black type, so that honorable members may see at a glance what alteration in existing law is contemplated. The Bill itself conveys no idea to honorable members of what the Government are proposing unless they are conversant with the provisions of the main Act.For instance, the Bill provides that section 2 of the prinicpal Act shall be amended by omitting the definition of “ the Minister.” What that means cannot be ‘comprehended without reference to the principal Act. Again, clause 3 proposes to amend section 3 of the principal Act by omitting paragraph c and’ inserting in its stead another paragraph. There is nothing to tell honorable members what the original paragraph c provides. Only a limited number of bound volumes of the Statutes are available in the building, and yesterday, in anticipation of the continuation of this debate, at least three honorable members on this side were studying the principal Act and the effect of the Bill upon it.
Clause 3 proposes to prohibit the immigration of any idiot, imbecile, feeble-minded person, epileptic person suffering from dementia, . insane person, person who has been insanewithin five years previously, or person who has had two or more attacks of insanity.” I do not know whether the medical experts of the Government advise that it is necessary for the country to prohibit the entry of that class of person. No worse affliction can overtake any person than insanity, and I am not aware whether the medical experts advise that a person who has suffered from insanity should be refused admission to the Commonwealth within five years of his recovery from that affliction. This provision will necessitate that every person seeking entrance to Australia shall be questioned regarding his mental history. When the Minister was explaining the Bill I asked, by interjection, what America is doing in this regard. The Minister informed us that America had taken certain action, and I know that every person arriving in the United States is first paraded on the ship, in order to ascertain whether he has been vaccinated, and then again at the Immigration Depot, Castle Garden, where further information has to be given. If we adopt this clause every person who comes to Australia will have to be asked the question, “ Have you been insane during the last five years ?”
– Is that question asked in America?
– It was not when I arrived there in 1891, but I was asked how much money I possessed, and, I think, I then had 50 dol. What I objected to in America was the differentiation of treatment as between the different classes of passengers; and in the Bill before us we are adopting an entirely different principle from any hitherto acted upon in Australia. The Bill breaks away entirely from our previous ImmigrationAct.
– It does not alter the administration one bit, but it is more explanatory. ‘
– We all know of persons who have suffered mentally, and who have recovered, and I hope that we are now learning more in regard to the treatment of mental diseases, as well as other diseases. I should like to know from the
Minister what is the reason for this provision regarding insanity within five years.
– That is the line of administration actually pursued, and it is now simply proposed to provide for it in the Statute.
– Is every person who comes here asked if he has ibeeu insane during the last five years?
– Then how are the persons picked outwho are asked this question ?
– As a matter of fact, the examination is made in the Old Country, and the certificates are gran’ted there. That practice has not been altered, and this Bill is explanatory of our line of testing.
– These certificates are granted only in the cases of persons who come out on assisted passages; a person who pays his own fare from Great Britain, or any other country, is not, so far as I know, asked a single question. The States at one time had control of these examinations, tout it was thought better for the Commonwealth to deal withthem, and Dr. Norris was sent Home to put the business on a proper basis, and bring about uniformity. It was then openly stated that immigration agents, not only for Australia, butt other countries, who were paid so much per head, utilized the services of local doctors, who, of course, had no responsibility. It is true that some undesirable persons may have come to Australia under that system; hut the’ provision in the Bill will apply to only one section. That, I admit, is the larger section, because more workers than shirkers, or better class people, will be affected.
– The Bill does not say that only one section is to be examined.
– It does not; but we are informed by the Minister that the Bill merely gives effect to the administration in operation to-day.
– The insertion of this provision in the Bill makes the examination necessary.
– In introducing the Bill I said that the words referred to really indicated the line of administration pursued at the present time.
– I object to any differentiation oftreatment.
– There is none.
– The Minister has admitted that only those who come out on assisted passages have to obtain medical certificates. Personally, I am confident that no other class of passengers requires certificates. It is true that in a later portion of the Bill it is provided that commercial travellers, tourists, and others, who do not come under clause 3, may be admitted as at present.
– It is desirable to examine the mental and physical fitness of immigrants.
– That is all right so long as the examination applies to all classes of persons.
– The clause cannot be applied to sane persons, but only to those mentally defective.
– But how are the mentally defectives to be picked out? I know that the Health officer meets a vessel down the Bay, and if, for instance, small-pox is discovered, the vessel is quarantined at Portsea; if not, while the vessel is off Williamstown the medical examination of 500 or 600 persons is over in an hour or two. Is the Health officer to stand in front of a person and tell him that he looks as if he were mentally defective? If this provision is to stand, it ought to apply to every person who comes to the country.
– It does now.
– This is a new provision in our immigration law.
– I refer the honorable member to section 3d, paragraph 2, of the principal Act -
Where an intending immigrant embarks at a port where there is no medical referee, he shall prior to his departure be examined as to his physical and mental fitness. . . .
– But only immigrants or assisted passengers are to be examined. A person who can pay his fare may travel without submitting to medical examination. I can go to the Orient or any other shipping office in London, and, if I pay my own fare, may embark without any examination.
– I assure the honorable member that when I was Minister for External Affairs I arranged all the procedure for Dr. Norris to carry out.
– But only for assisted immigrants.
– Not necessarily.
– What I have stated was the position, and, so far as I know, there has been no alteration.
– In order to save trouble we provided for an examination at the home port first. Passengers, however, could be examined on the voyage, and reports given by the captain on arrival, as to whether- those passengers had been examined at Home or not.
– The only persons examined under the principal Act were those who came on assisted passages. I never heard of a saloon or a ‘second-class passenger being examined, and a saloon passenger who was mentally defective might be brought here. The ex-member for Nepean (Mr. Cann), when I was Minister for Trade and Customs,’ brought under my notice the case of a woman who had been brought out by her husband, a coal miner, and who, according to the British authorities, was liable to tubercular disease, and it was deemed desirable that she should be sent back. It was to meet such cases that an alteration was made providing for an examination in England.
However, there are other provisions in the Bill of more importance. Clause 3, paragraph b, provides for the exclusion of- any anarchist or person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law, or who is opposed to organized government, or who advocates the assassination of public officials or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization which entertains and teaches any of the doctrines and practices specified in this paragraph.
Under such a provision as that it would have been possible to exclude Sir Edward Carson, when, before the war, he was arranging for the shipment of arms to Ireland. Further, it would be possible under the clause to exclude the present Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook).
– On what grounds do you say that?
– I remember Sir Thomas Ewing, in this House, giving the details of the political career of the Minister for the Navy, and showing the number of parties to which he had belonged, and how he had preached Republican doctrines and the overthrow of Monarchy. Another honorable member, who has since gone to another place, prepared a record of the career of the Minister for the Navy, under the title, “ Ere Joseph went down into Egypt,” and in this there was quoted many political opinions which the honorable gentleman had expressed in former years. As I say, the Minister for the Navy, or, indeed, any person, could be excluded under such a provision as this. It all depends on the way these things are administered. The Minister himself admitted that any one could be kept out under that clause.
– I did not say so.
– The clause is a piece of political camouflage.
– Read it, and see what it means.
– I have read it to the House already. The Government are anxious to pass a clause of this nature so that they may be able to say that they have tried to keep certain persons out of the Commonwealth. The clause could be > interpreted’ in such a way as to keep out practically any person.
– Do you believe in these men being excluded from Australia, or do you not ?
– What men?
– Men who advocate the overthrow of society by force.
– It all depends on the interpretation of the words. For instance, men like Donovan and Devlin could be kept out for advocating Home Rule for Ireland.
– Do you call that anarchy?
– I do not; but such men could be kept out under this clause, because they are anxious for a different system of government for Ireland.
– That is a most unjust ‘reflection on the character of those men.
– Still, they could be kept out, and Robert Blatchford, when he was a leading member of the Socialist party and editor of the Clarion, could have been kept out. Now, of course, he would be admitted.
– No; Blatchford was never a revolutionary Socialist.
– Honorable members can put on my action to-day any interpretation they like.
– You have not told us whether you believe in these’ men being excluded from Australia.
– The men whom the honorable member presumes that the clause is aimed at will probably be more vigorous opponents of members on this side than of members on that side.
– That does not matter.
– I know it does not; but I am not going to be prejudiced by tha fact that they are likely to oppose me. and led into saying that they must be excluded for that reason. This clause will never be administered by the present Government in the way it reads here.
– It can be administered only in the way in which it reads here.
– This is all political “ flam.” It is stuff being prepared for the next election.
– It seems to hurt a bit.
– It would be very easy for any member to sit down and let the Bill go through, accepting the narrow interpretation which honorable members opposite are putting on it. They say “ We are aiming at anarchists,” but the clause goes further. I am not going to vote for a clause of that kind, when I believe that it is contrary to a policy of which we as Britishers have always professed to be proud. If there was one tradition on which the Britisher prided himself it was that persons who had been driven out of any other country on account of the views they held could find sanctuary in Great Britain.
– What has been thd effect of that policy in Great Britain ?
– They are still there. Persons driven out of their own countries for the views they held were not those who caused danger and injury to Great Britain during the war. That came from the wealthy people, the commercial travellers, traders, and others, who had businesses in Great Britain, and whom the Government will let in under this Bill. The German commercial traveller, and the German business man can come in under this Bill. Under it, too, the Government will let in the Japanese commercial traveller, the Japanese business man, and the Japanese wealthy man. They will also allow the wealthy German to enter.
– Well, move an amendment that Germans be not allowed in.
– If the honorable member desires such an amendment he can move it himself. All this sort of thing will be done by administration. I shall vote against the Bill, believing it to be only a piece of political shop-window dressing. I know that men’s liberties have been taken away in this community, and even in this House. Our Standing Orders provide that every member shall be allowed to speak twice in Committee. On one occasion, I was made to sit down, although I had spoken only once, as I proved by reference to Hansard.
– If that occurred, it could only have been accidental.
– When I made my protest, the man who had made me sit down had not the manliness to rise and admit that he had made a mistake. Our liberties can be taken away in this House or outside.
– If your liberty is taken away, you have plenty of licence.
– I have never exercised licence. I exercise nothing but what I believe to be my right. I suppose it will be said that I dare not open my mouth here unless I have licence to do so.
We have been told that we must wait until we see what Great Britain is doing. A week ago to-day, the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) said that we had to wait until we saw what Great Britain had done before deciding what to do with the money belonging to internees and held by the Government. Will the Minister tell me that Great Britain has legislated upon lines similar to those of this Bill ?
– Nobody has suffered more than the British worker from the influx of aliens. I have been in the east end of London, and seen what has happened.
– My position was different from that of the honorable member. I went to England in the steerage because I could not work my passage. I could not afford to pay any more. I was not a visitor to England for about five minutes, seeing the place from a train window, and then coming back to talk about it. I lived and worked there and in the United States for five years. I had to go to the United States as an immigrant, so that I know from practical experience the treatment which steerage passengers or third-class passengers receive there compared with others. First class is not a bit too good for me after that ex- perience. I know the position in London, for I have lived and worked with the people there. “Will the Minister say that Great Britain has legislated on lines like those of this Bill?
– I have already said that the British Government dealt with the question by means of regulations.
– But the point is that we have not waited in this case to see what Great Britain has done.
– Because we cannot make the regulations. Great Britain can make the regulations because she is a unitary power.
– War Precautions Regulations are in existence as affecting somesections of the community, but the pricefixing regulations were immediately withdrawn. One regulation prohibits any one from flying the red flag with the word “ Socialism “ in white letters on.it, but an auctioneer’ is permitted to fly a red flag with his name on it. Apparently, Great Britain can deal with immigration questions by regulation and we cannot. We have to wait in some cases, but we must not wait in others.
– The honorable member has not told us whether he is in favour of or against paragraph gd.
– I have told the House that I shall not vote for it.
– Order! I remind honorable members that the discussion of particular clauses is a matter for Committee.
– If I had not answered the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Sampson) he would probably have gone on the platform and said that I was afraid to do so. .1 have told the honorable member that I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill. I believe that, as Mr. Lloyd George was reported to have said the other night, the people are suffering from shell-shock. Their minds are inflamed, and there is a danger of them running amok. They cannot see and think as clearly as they did before the war broke out. I suppose’ no honorable member has a smaller proportion of Germans or dependents of Germans in his electorate than I have. I cannot call to mind one of them in the whole of my electorate. There was one man who desired to be interned, because he had been deprived of his livelihood, but I do not know whether he has been let out or not. The Minister pointed out that the Government had power under this legislation to deport. Section 7 of the principal Act provides, in effect, that: -
Every prohibited immigrant entering or found within the Commonwealth in contravention or evasion of this Act shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable upon summary conviction to be imprisoned for not more than six months, and in addition to or substitution of such imprisonment, shall be liable, pursuant to an order from the Minister, to be deported from the Commonwealth.
That means that every person of the German, Austrian, Bulgarian, or Ottoman race, as- enumerated in paragraph ge of clause 3, will be liable to deportation, even though he has been here for thirty or forty years. He will be found within the Commonwealth, and, therefore, be liable.
– That .is not correct. It is for a period of five years after the commencement of this measure. The .dictation test practically applies. The clause means five years’ prohibition, unless an exemption is granted.
– But it can be continued so long as the party now in office remain there, and so long as the people are of the same mind as they are to-day. I still believe that persons of German, Austrian, Bulgarian, or Ottoman birth, if found within the Commonwealth, will be liable to deportation.
– Not unless it is proved that they have come in as prohibited immigrants. I showed that in my secondreading speech.
– The honorable member’s second-reading speech will never be considered in a Court of law. When a Court takes this measure into consideration, lawyers like the Acting AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Groom) and the honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) will be prepared to do their best to confuse the Judges as to the interpretation of its provisions, and will be quite willing either to defend or prosecute a man for the same thing.
– The immigration of certain persons into the Commonwealth is prohibited, and those persons are described in the Bill.
– Yes ; but every prohibited immigrant found in the Commonwealth in contravention or evasion of the Act is liable to be deported. It is not specified that this provision is limited to those who arrive in Australia within a period of five years.
– Yes, that is provided, as I pointed out when introducing the Bill.
– A Court will take no notice of a speech delivered in Parliament, and, although the Minister (Mr. Glynn) may have good intentions - it is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions - he will not live for everhe will not be in office administering this Act for all time.
I agree with Mr. Lloyd George that the people are suffering from a certain amount of shell-shock. Ministers are anxious to take advantage of this circumstance. During the currency of the war we all denounced the German method of cultivating in the minds of their young people a spirit of hatred of their enemies. I do not believe in extending that system of hatred for one’s enemies.
– I am pleased to hear the honorable member say so.
– A Bill of this character will tend to stir up hatred. It will teach our children to treat certain people, not as human beings, but as something quite different. I really believe that the object the Ministry have in introducing this measure is to cover up their misdeeds and their failure to take action in other directions. On one occasion two gentlemen were driving along a road behind a restive horse, and when they approached a traction engine the driver said to . the other, “ I will give him a good clout over the head.” “ Why ?” said his companion, “ Because,” said the driver, “he can think of only one thing at a time. If I give him a clout over the head he will think of that, and will forget about the traction engine.” Ministers think that by stirring up their supporters with this class of legislation they will distract their attention from the profiteers. They will say to the electors, “ We legislated to keep every German out of Australia for five years,” but they will not tell them that at the same time they will permit German commercial travellers or wealthy German tourists to come in, or that they will have one method of examination applied to those who travel in the steerage, and another to those who travel in the first saloon. I object to a continuation of this policy of keeping up hatred. We should endeavour to get the people, of Australia to realize that no good purpose will be served by doing so. Professor Meredith Atkinson, in a recent address, said that he had heard more extreme views put forward in Oxford University than he had heard at any gathering on the Yarra Bank or elsewhere. Apparently those who expound such views in Oxford University would be prohibited immigrants under the proposed new paragraph gd.
– Professor Atkinson would also be kept out.
– That is quite possible. I suppose that Ben Tillett would be prevented from coming to Australia if he still holds the views he expressed when he was here some years ago. When the Minister was denouncing the persons described in paragraph ge, I asked him whether he would also exclude German music from Australia.
– The honorable member could not have heard what I said. I absolutely condemned any attempt to keep out men of the class to whom he has just referred.
– It would be just as reasonable to say that the works of the great German composers should be kept out of Australia. If that were done there would certainly be a dearth of music here. If Ministers profess to be such German haters, why should they not go “ the whole hog.”
This legislation is a bit of political camouflage, brought forward for the purpose of stirring up the people in the community. I shall vote against the Bill. I hope that the people of ‘this and other countries will soon get into a more reasonable frame of mind, and that our legislation will not be administered as it has been for the last four or five years. I trust that we shall speedily get back to the time when we recognised that other people have the right to live the life they were intended to live.
.- In its general intention the Bill should receive the support of a very solid majority in the House. I have waited for a considerable number of years to see some of the proposals contained in it embodied in the law. It is a long time since I first urged that we should take power to exclude certain undesirable aliens, and I am pleased that at last action is being taken in that direction. When I hear the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) and others expressing the fear that this legislation will interfere with liberty and freedom, I am reminded of the exclamation made by a famous Frenchwoman when she was about to be led to the scaffold, during the Reign of Terror, that there are many follies indeed committed and uttered in the name of freedom. Among the worst are those conditions which have allowed criminals and degenerates to flood Australia with practically no restraint. Unfortunately, among our alien population there is a considerable percentage of undesirables, who have been allowed to remain in the country, and it is a blot on our legislation and administration.
There are features of the Bill with which I am not in accord. Power is to be taken to exclude anarchists, but there are anarchists who are as harmless as the proverbial lamb. There is a school of anarchy which talks about and looks forward to a time when there will be no law, or any form of government, simply be-‘ cause the people will be so prone to do the right thing that restraint of any kind whatsoever will be unnecessary.
– They form a very small section of the anarchists.
– That may be the case, but nevertheless they are a section which we should not persecute.
– This Bill would keep out a man like Prince Kropotkin.
– I have him in mind, and others who have done good service to the world, and whose political ideas are harmless.
– There is nothing in the Bill referring to a man like Prince Kropotkin, who believed in philosophic principles rather than in the application of physical force.
– At any rate, he would have described himself as an anarchist, although he was as far removed as the poles are apart from those gentlemen ‘who believe in the use of bombs, and other methods* of overthrowing civilization.
– He was the man who most strongly denounced what is going on in Russia to-day.
– I believe that he has paid with his life for his outspoken utter ances against the actions of the Bolsheviks.
– Is the honorable member favorable to the exercise of physical force under any circumstances for the overthrow of established systems of government ? .
– There have been, and probably are, systems of government in the world at the present time which it has been, and would be, any patriotic man’s duty to oppose, and overthrow, if possible, by military measures. Prior to the war the system of government in Russia was one that, I think, any one would have been justified in opposing by force, and if there is any form of government in Mexico at present I am not sure that it would not be a very good thing if a sufficient number of ‘ patriots were prepared to take u,p arms and re-establish a better condition of affairs’ in that country. It might be possible under this Bill to exclude a man who would be a credit to any country. We can all recall men like Kossuth and Garibaldi, who took up arms against civilized Governments, and are today enrolled amongst the heroes who have fought for the be6t interests of humanity. I should not like to see placed on our statute-book a measure which might, by some blunder on the part of an over.zealous Government officer, perpetrate an outrage on a man of that class. At the same time, I recognise the stern necessity in these days of excluding from this country men who are prepared to take up arms against countries with representative institutions.
– That is the whole question.
– If the Bill could be so modified as to cover that class of case it would meet the objections I have in mind. I think that it could be so modified as to remove any hesitation on the part of honorable members in voting for it.
There are in the world to-day large numbers of men whose idea is simply the destruction of all existing systems of government. They would destroy even such systems of government as we have in Australia. These are men to whom destruction means progress; to whom ruin means prosperity,. There is only one method of dealing with such individuals. When we find them in our country, we should either throw them out or put some equally emphatic end to their machinations and their mischiefmaking.
– Could such men he deported under this Bill if they were here before it came into operation 1
– I am coming to that point. I desire to see larger powers taken with respect to deportation. There is power under clause 7 .to deport, within three years after his arrival in Australia, any person convicted of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for one year or longer; or who is living on the prostitution of others. “Under the Bill as it stands a man might be found guilty of perhaps the most dastardly offence that could be imagined - living on the prostitution of poor wretched women - three years and a month after the date of his arrival here, and having been punished for that offence, he would be free again to carry on within Australia his infamous trade. We should have power to deport those persons at any time after they have been convicted of such ah offence.
– Hear, hear; whatever their length of residence might be.
– Undoubtedly. The Bill can, and ought to be, strengthened very materially in that direction. There ought to be no term of exemption from deportation in respect of aliens committing offences of that kind.
– I hope that the honorable member will be prepared to recognise that a person convicted of an offence punishable by twelve months’ imprisonment might be punished by a sentence of only one month’s imprisonment.
– That perhaps is more of a legal distinction than is the point I am trying to make. My view is that any person found guilty of an indictable offence of the character mentioned in clause 7 should be liable to deportation at any time after his arrival in Australia. I tried to introduce the principle in another measure of this kind which was before the House some years ago.
– The point sought to be made by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) is that a person convicted of an offence the maximum punishment for which was twelve months’ imprisonment might be sentenced to only one month’s imprisonment.
– Because of circumstances that made the offence less grave, and’ therefore caused the lesser punishment to be inflicted.
– That is the point.
– It is worthy of consideration. It might be advisable to provide that, unless a man is actually sentenced to imprisonment for twelve months or more, he should not be liable to deportation. There might be circumstances which would justify some consideration for a person who had committed an offence of the kind set out in clause 7, but who, because of special features was sentenced to only a short term of imprisonment.
– As a matter of fact, that is provided for in the administration of the Act. All such cases are- submitted to the Minister for consideration.
– It might bc desirable to provide in the Bill itself that such matters shall be submitted to the Minister for consideration. We ought to have power, however, to deport criminals convicted of the offences mentioned in paragraphs a, b, and c of clause 7 at any time after their arrival in Australia.
– What becomes of the honorable member’s previous justification of those who have overthrown czars?
– Clause 7 applies only to a certain class of criminals convicted in Australia of a criminal offence. It has nothing to do with the Czar.
– I think paragraph d relates to persons who advocate the overthrow of the established government of any civilized country.
– The remarks I have made apply only to clause 3 and paragraphs a, b, and c of clause 7.
– My objection was to the application of the word “ criminal “ to such people as those whose actions have been indorsed by the honorable member.
– I think I have shown clearly the persons to whom I refer.
Clause 7 also gives power to deport persons who have become inmates of an insane asylum or public charitable institution within three years after their arrival in Australia. There is one class of individual with which Australia has been cursed. I refer to the typical waster, who has been sent out by his people for his country’s good, but certainly not for the good of Australia. I have known him to live here for years on their remittances, a pest and a nuisance to every one, and eventually to be put for the remainder of his years in a charitable institution. Several cases of the kind have come within my own experience. The Government should take power to restrain that kind of immigration into Australia. Speaking as one who knows something of the view taken of this matter in the Old Country, I may say that Australia has been regarded too often as a country to which should be sent all such undesirables. It is not fair to this country, because they are a taint to the community, and are just as objectionable as others who commit certain offences which lead to their imprisonment.
I shall give the Bill my general support. I trust the Minister will accept my suggestions in the spirit in which they are uttered, and, if necessary, when we get into Committee, I shall move amendments designed to improve the measure in the direction I have indicated.
– I sympathize with some of the remarks made by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler) as to the class of persons whom the Government might be at liberty to deport. His suggestion is that a number of those mentioned in clause 3 of the Bill are of the most undesirable class, and in the best interests of the country should be subject to deportation at any time the Government see fit to deport them. Iwould like to draw his attention, however, to the fact that under the principal Act it is quite competent for the Government to deport certain persons of a criminal type, so that it is not necessary to incorporate in this Bill what has already been provided for in the principal Act.
– Such deportation is not made obligatory.
-There is room for extension in that regard.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) reproached the Government because, while they had waited for a precedent to be set by the British Government in regard to a number of other matters, they had failed in this case to do so. He asked why the Government could not do by regulation anything which the British Government deemed it necessary to do. I would point out, however, that with the expiration of the War Precautions Act it will be quite impossible to make regulations of the kind suggested. The honorable member also asked what had already been done in this direction by the British Government. I would draw his attention to a statement in to-day’s newspaper, which may be regarded as representing the latest advices as to action contemplated by the Imperial Government. It is stated that -
The new order issued by the British Govern- ment for the restriction of the immigration of aliens, now that the war is over, continues many of the embargoes which were in force in war time.
Enemy aliens must obtain the permission of the Home Secretary before they can land in the Kingdom. Other aliens desiring to land must obtain the permit of an immigration officer, which can be refused if the alien is indigent . or mentally deficient, or if he cannot show that a job awaits him. Many provisions of the order regulate the movements of the aliens after their admission.
The British Government, therefore, is fully mindful of the whole situation, and is taking the most ample powers to provide for complete prohibition of certain classes of immigrants. As a matter of fact, it has already exercised the power to prohibit and the power to deport to a very great extent. It was necessary for the safety of the realm that that should be done.
As to the United States of America, we read in to-day’s newspapers that -
Mr. Johnson (California) has introduced a Bill into the United States House of Representatives prohibiting immigration into America for two years, with the exception of persons who consent to restrict their stay to six monthsonly.
We are not the only community, therefore, that is alive to the immediate necessities of the present time. The United States of America has at all times been very particular as to the class of immigrants that should be admitted. Like Japan and other countries, it has required the presentation of a passport before any admission can take place. This passport system is applicable to all classes of the community.
– It is provided in this Bill that the Government may make arrangements with other Governments under which the passport system could be abolished.
– Clearly, by arrangement. The honorable member was complaining that we were going much further than the United States of America has gone. In America, it is necessary that passports shall be first obtained from the American Consul, who, before issuing them, satisfies himself as to the character and health of the applicants. In that way, the fullest possible precaution is taken. In the past, Australia has been rather regardless of those precautions, and I think it wise that some effort should be made to protect ourselves against the conditions and dangers which we know exist.
The (honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) skated lightly over paragraph gd of clause 3, which prohibits the admission of anarchists and others bent upon the destruction of government. He is fearful of the interpretation that may be placed upon that paragraph. The honorable member would have done himself and his party of moderates more justice if he had taken up a stronger attitude against those who are disgracing the Labour party by, reason of their extreme actions and doctrines.
– They hate us more than they hate the honorable member.
– In our midst are avowed anarchists, who have announced their determination, so far as within them lies, to bring about the ruin of ordered institutions. By reason of the liberty and generous consideration extended to them by the Government, these men are permitted to abuse the protection given to them, and to publicly avow their intention, and the Bolshevik propaganda in Australia is responsible for the ruin and distress which are apparent in the community to-day.
– What about the honorable member’s Ulster friends?
– When those with whom the honorable member is allied are fighting to remain in alliance with the British Empire, we shall recast our views and see something in them to admire. The only crime of the Ulstermen is that they insist on remaining a part of and in association with the Mother Country, and refuse to belong to an enemy nation, and to subscribe to a form of Home Rule Which makes for the establishment of a republic which, in turn, would aim at the destruction of the British Empire. I congratulate the Government on recognising conditions as they find them. They realize that the anarchists and direct.actionists are a menace to the community, and that the hideous Bolshevik element is insidiously penetrating, with deadly effect, various peaceful communities. They see. abroad the emissaries of Lenin, Trotsky, and other criminals who are responsible for the appalling conditions of affairs existing in Russia, and they are resolved that men of that type shall not be permitted to enter Australia.
– We want the Czar here, I suppose.
– We are dealing with the peaceful community of Australia, not with Russia. Our people desire to continue to live peaceful and contented lives, and the only means of insuring that is to recognise ordered government and discourage revolution. Every person in Australia may be constitutionally represented in Parliament, and may by that means play his part in the promotion of ordered government. There is no democratic aspiration that cannot be achieved through the existing franchise for this Parliament. Bearing that fact in mind, we are fighting for the maintenance of ordered government, and to secure social and industrial peace; the anarchist cancer must be cut out ruthlessly. Some honorable members opposite are very solicitous lest men of the anarchist or Bolshevik type should be excluded from Australia.
– Does the Bill provide that those who were here prior to its introduction shall be deported?
– Every anarchist, and every man of the Bolshevik type, ought to be deported.
– Does this’ Bill say so ?
– Perhaps not; but I would be very glad if clause 3 of the Bill could be linked up with section 7 of the Act, which provides for the deportation of undesirables. The deportation of these criminals seems to be a matter of great concern to some hon.orable members opposite, but I assure them that there is not the slightest chance of any innocent man coming within the provisions of the Bill. The undesirableness of an immigrant is to be determined, not on the mere ipse dixit of the Minister. A Board is to be constituted, of which a Judge of the Supreme Court, or some other individual of judicial position, will be chairman, to investigate and decide whether certain persons come within the terms of the Bill. If it is found that a man was convicted of a criminal offence, or is living on the prostitution of others, or has been an inmate of an insane asylum or a public charitable institution, or - and this is the part that hurts honorable members - he is an “ anarchist or person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth, or of any State’, of of any other civilized country-
– That is rough on Ulster.
– If Ulstermen come within the provisions of the Bill, the honorable member should not complain.
– I should not like to lose the honorable member.
– The honorable member need not worry himself on my account. If a man advocates the assassination of public officials, does the honorable member think that such a person should be allowed to remain in the Commonwealth ? Does he object to advocates of assassination being deported ? The Bill will prohibit also a person who teaches the unlawful destruction of property. Perhaps that is more to the honorable member’s liking ! It is obvious that the classes of persons enumerated in that provision are no mere figment of the Minister’s imagination. Such individuals exist in our midst, and they are undesirable citizens of whom Australia should get rid at the earliest possible moment. The Government realize that these agents are the cause of the dislocation of government, anarchy, starvation, and distress. But they do not wish to do any man an injustice. They provide that suspected persons may be brought before a Board, and only if they are proved to be undesirables of the type prohibited, will they be deported. My only regret is that Australia did not earlier enact similar legislation. The country would have been much better off to-day if that had been done.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) seems to have a terrible fear that we may by this Bill accentuate the hatred by this community of Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and Ottoman Turks.
– The honorable member does not mean to say that he favours keeping the whole of the RoyalFamily out of Australia for five years ?
– If the honorable member is referring to the German Royal family, the civilized world has ruled them to be despised criminals. I am certain that had victory gone to the Germans, instead of to the Allies, they would not have shown to- us the same tender solicitude that some honorable members are desirous of extending to them. If there exists hatred and bitterness, our enemies alone are responsible for it, and, furthermore, the war has revealed to us the hideous and inf amous side of the German character, and we are legislating with that knowledge. In any case, the prohibition of enemy aliens is limited to a period of five years, at the end of which Parliament can review the position.
– I am in favour of Lord Milner being kept out of the British Empire for five years.
– Lord Milner does not come within the provisions of this Bill, and the honorable member knows that his reflection is unjust and wicked. When the Germans have become properly penitent, and have shown remorse for the criminality for which they have been guilty, we shall be able to reconsider their claims to more considerate treatment. This Parliament need not show undue tenderness in dealing with circumstances which we know to exist. Therefore I gladly afford my support to the Bill, whilst being of opinion that its provisions might be strengthened in several respects.
.I have great pleasure in opposing this Bill, especially that portion referring to the exclusion of anarchists and others as opponents of established government.
– It hurts, does it not?
– It does not hurt me.
– Itseems to.
– I welcome the Bill in one sense - because it will give us on this side a free hand when we get into power. I am opposed to the Bill, not because, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) suggested, it is merely a harmless measure introduced for electioneering purposes, with a view to placing this side of the House in an invidious position’. I do not take that view at all; I believe the Bill is part and parcel of a conspiracy of the organized thieves of society, who to-day are taking steps in every country of the world to deport people who are opposed to existing social order - to the existing economic basis on which society rests. It is from that point of view that I oppose the Bill. I do not propose while I remain in this House to lend any assistance to the governing classes of this or any other country to safeguard themselves from the well-merited punishment which is fast approaching.
– Is that a threat or a promise?
– It is neither; it is merely a prophecy.
– If the honorable member so believes, why did he take the oath of allegiance when he entered this House ?
– Why did the honorable member sign the Labour pledge and break it?
– I did not.
– The honorable member had better be careful, or he will find himself within the provisions of the class to which I am referring.
– I would rather be deported than remain under yourregime if you were in power.
– The honorable member chooses that reasonable precaution which other men outside show when a policeman approaches. I am opposed to the Bill because it is a perpetuation of the system inaugurated in Australia, when the war broke out. It is designed to protect those people who have taken society by the throat, and are robbing the great bulk of the people. It is such measures as this that meet every effort of the people to release themselves from the crowd who are fattening and battening on them.
The Bill proposes in the first place to exclude any person holding views opposed to the existing system of government in this or any other country.
– The Bill does not say so.
– It does say so.
– The word “believes”, which occurs in the American Act, was deliberately avoided to prevent that.
– The Minister tells us that he deliberately struck out -the word “ believes “, but he has carefully inserted “ advocates or teaches “. It is a very fine distinction when a man may believe in a certain thing, but so long as he does not open his mouth he is all right. No doubt the word was left out because it is impossible to determine whether a man believes’ in a thing unless he advocates or teaches it. To my mind, though I may be wrong, the fellow countrymen of the Minister (Mr. Glynn), and myself, are to a large extent members of an organization which seeks to establish the government of their own country by its own people, and, by reason of that membership, would be debarred from entering Australia.
– Certainly not. The word “force” occurs. Surely the honorable member does not think that constitutional changes come within the purview of the Bill.
– I am not dealing with the advocacy of changes by so-called constitutional methods, but referring to the position of Ireland at the present time.
– To what organization does the honorable member refer?
– The Sinn Fein organization. I have a copy of the Times of 13th June last, which reports the findings of the Irish-American Commission, which, with the permission of Mr. Lloyd George, and armed with passport3 granted by the British and American authorities, made an investigation of the conditions in Ireland at the time of their visit. This Commission has made seventeen specific charges against the administration of the British Government in Ireland and the armed occupation of Ireland by British military troops. Amongst those charges is one which I say would justify the overthrow by force of any Government in any so-called civilized country that dared to treat its inhabitants in the manner described. If those conditions existed in Australia, England, or any other country, the people would have no manhood in them- - would be worse than serfs and slaves - if they did not revolt by physical force, or any othermeans, against such damnable conditions. Amongst the seventeen charges made by the Commission are the following: -
Prisoners are confined in narrow cells, with- ‘ hands handcuffed behind them, day and night.. In this condition they are fed by gaol attendants. They are permitted no opportunity of answering calls of nature, and are compelled to lie in their clothing, fouled by human excrement, for days at a time.
Persons are confined in cells which are not large enough for one man. They are not provided with beds or bunks of any kind, but are compelled to sleep upon the bare floors. There are no toilet facilities or receptacles to contain the human offal, which necessarily accumulates upon the floors, where men are compelled to sleep in the filth night after night.
The food is insufficient and unwholesome. Prisoners, men and women, are compelled to live for days upon water and poorly-baked sour, and stale bread.
Hundreds of men and women have been discharged from gaol with impaired constitutions, and are, in many cases, incurable invalids as a result of their treatment.
– Have you read the denials by the British Government?
– Where are they?
– They have been published.
– The honorable member knows that, before the Times published these charges, the British Government were asked for a contradiction, but no contradiction was forthcoming until they were published. Since -that time, the British Government, through Mr. Macpherson, have made an attempt to answer them, but the British newspapers have said that the explanation given is lame and halting, and does not in any way clear up the charges.
– The Times says so.
– The Times, which is supposed to be the principal newspaper in England, has denounced the explanation as lame and halting. The members of this Commission are reputable citizens of the United States of America, and one of them was a member of the Taft Administration. They were denied admission, on their own statements, to one prison, but they entered Mountjoy Prison, and what they saw there was the ground for the charges they made. Under the Bill, people who resent that state of affairs in Ireland, and who propose to take active steps to remedy it, by whatever means in their power, will be prohibited from entering Australia. The Minister knows that the great majority of the Irish people to-day are determined to get rid of these damnable conditions.
– I know no more of the facts than you do.
– You do not say you do not know.
– Human capacity must have some limit.
– The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler) referred to the overthrow of Czardom by force; and I remind honorable members that the overthrow of the German Republic, which was received with acclamation by the Allies, was accomplished by force, as was the overthrow of other autocratic and repressive Governments in Europe.
According to the Bill, after the expiration of five years, any person who is of “ German, Austro-German, Bulgarian, or Hungarian parentage or nationality, or is a Turk of Ottoman race,” may still be excluded from this country for advocating or taking part in the overthrow of autocratic institutions, by force. By some it will be said that such an interpretation will not be placed on the provisions of the Bill, and I believe that it will not in the case of the higher and ruling classes. Men of the type of the German baron, who was allowed to have his wireless-equipped yacht off the English coast during the whole period of the war, will not be debarred from entering the Commonwealth, but a Karl Liebknecht, a Rosa Luxembourg, or any German workingclass advocate of social justice, would be excluded, just because they happen to be German.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– For instance, what is the interpretation of the phrase, or who is opposed to organized government?” Some members opposite take it to mean a person who holds the doctrines of, the- Bolsheviks of Russia, but no one who has studied the social revolution in Russia can claim that there is not an organized system of government in that country.
– What, where they shoot their opponents on sight?
– All organized Governments shoot their opponents during civil war.
– Not the civil population. That is done only by your friends the Germans.
– The honorable member is not entitled to speak for my friends. He is not a friend of mine, nor is he a friend of my friends.
– He is no friend of the Germans.
– There are Germans and Germans. This Bill proposes to prohibit the entry only of certain Germans. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald), like his friends in England, would make a distinction between working-class Germans and master-class Germans.
– No, I would not; speak for yourself.
– I am speaking for the honorable . member as his views are expressed in the Bill that he supports. Would a person advocating the Soviet form of government be debarred, Under this clause, from entering the Commonwealth 1
– One would have to examine the form of government before answering that question. “ Organized government” is an abstract term. The Bill does not say, “ An organized Government.”
– Would an advocate of the Soviet form of government, as opposed to the parliamentary system of government, be debarred?
– I hope he would be.
– If the view of the Acting Minister for the Navy is the view of the Government, then I am quite right in saying that the Bill is likely to be used to keep out persons opposed not to ‘all organized government, but to the particular form of organized government that obtains here.
– A man who wants to introduce a Soviet form of government ought not to be here. His place is outside.
– Does the honorable member mean outside the Commonwealth? As the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Fowler) put it in dealing with Prince Kropotkin, a man may be theoretically in favour of another form of government, which he believes is a higher form than the parliamentary system, and may not be engaged in deeds of violence at all. If that man came to Australia, believing that it would be more advantageous to the people of Australia, from the administrative, social, and industrial points of view, to substitute a Soviet form of administration for our existing parliamentary institutions, would he be shut out by this Bill?
– Do you think the Soviet is an organized form of government?
– I am certain it is. If the honorable member has the time and inclination, I am prepared to meet him outside, and debate the matter with him. Will the Minister say whether Kropotkin, or any other Russian who favoured the Soviet form of government in substitution for the parliamentary system, if there was nothing else against him, except his advocacy, in accordance with the laws of this country, of a change by the majority of the people in that direction, would be. prevented by this Bill from entering the Commonwealth ?
– He has no right to come into this country if he is not prepared to comply with its laws.
– Surely the honorable member does not suggest that a man cannot come into this country and criticise the institutions that prevail here, and try to alter them ?
– He cannot come here to overthrow the reigning system of the Empire, and substitute Bolshevism.
– If the majority of the people desire to institute the Soviet form of government here, they have a perfect right to do so.
– That was not your argument.
– It is. I am opposed to any provision that will prevent the entry into the Commonwealth of a man who advocates a ‘ change in our system of government, Which he honestly believes will be for the benefit of the people. He should have a. right to convince the people of the soundness of his views. If he can convert the people to his opinions, do honorable members opposite say that the majority of the people have no right to alter their governmental system in accordance with their changed ideas?
– You used the word “honestly.” Most of them with their revolutionary ideas have no conception of what honesty means.
– The honorable member is measuring other people by his own bushel.
– What is the Soviet form of government?
– I have tried at different times in this chamber to explain my views on the Soviet system, but have been prevented.
– Where is this organized Soviet government?
– Not in Hindmarsh, or the honorable member would not be here.
– If America threw out a man of that type, you would say he was good enough to be allowed in here.
– I do not care what any other country does. We are not going to be dictated to by America on the one hand, or Russia on the other. If an American citizen came here, and promulgated his views on American institutions, that is no reason why he should be shut out, so long as he was prepared to state his case fairly to the people.
– You mean a reject of America ?
– I am speaking of a native of the United States of America..
– Or an American nigger.
– What is wrong with an American nigger ? Is he not a man ? Is he not entitled to the rights of a human being equally with the honorable member ?
– Of course he is.
– The honorable member seems to think that because a man has a coloured skin, he has no rights.
– The honorable member could not understand you advocating a White Australia.
– I can quite understand his limited mentality when he is on the same side as the honorable member for Denison (Mr. Laird Smith). The point is that the paragraph to which I am referring would exclude anybody who desired to earn his living here, and at the same time to promulgate the views, which he honestly held, of what would constitute a better form of government than we have how, or a better social system, or a better system of production.
– The clause does not say that, or imply it in any sense.
– Just now the Minister refused to give me the assurance that I sought, that a person who believed in, and advocated, the Soviet form of government, which is an organized form of government, as against our present parliamentary’ system, would be permitted to land.
– You have to test what it is. The action of the Soviets is not at all consistent with their original declara tions. It is force that they are using now.
– The Government of the Commonwealth also uses force.
– The honorable member is dealing now in the usual political shibboleths.
– I am dealing with facts.
– You would not allow one of us to live.
– I have no homicidal tendencies in my make-up. The worst thing I could possibly do with the honorable member would be to put him to useful work. The paragraph also includes any person who “advocates the assassination of public officials, or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property.”
– I remind the honorable member that, on the second reading of a Bill, principles only may be discussed. The practice of picking out certain- clauses or portions of clauses, and referring to them in detail is quite irregular in speaking on the second reading of a measure. It is only proper to deal with clauses in detail during the Committee stage, when the general principles of a Bill may not be discussed.
– I understood that an honorable member is entitled to illustrate the principles of a Bill by pointing out the particular application of any portion of it to that principle.
– The proper time for dissecting a Bill in regard to its various clauses is during the Committee stage. Only the general principles of a measure, and not the details of its specific clauses, are legitimate subjects for discussion on the second reading.
– I regret that your ruling was not given when the Minister was introducing the Bill, because he’ specifically referred to paragraphs of clauses.
– That is perfectly true; but when a. Minister is explaining the provisions of a Bill, more latitude is allowed to him than is usually accorded in the general discussion in the House, so that he may acquaint honorable members with the character and nature of the provisions of the Bill, thus enabling them to be better equipped for discussing the clauses -when the Bill goes into Committee, where the clauses can be fully debated and any desired amendments may be moved.
– Am I entitled to refer to the Minister’s explanation of the clauses ?
– Not in regard to the clauses individually, but only on the general principles to which they refer.
– It was in order to conform to the practice of Parliament that I confined my explanation to the two principal clauses of the Bill.
– Apparently I am debarred from dealing with the Minister’s explanation at this stage, and am not permitted to dissect the clauses of the measure.
– I have asked the honorable member to bear in mind that only the general principles of a Bill can be discussed on a second reading, but he may incidentally refer to the clauses, without specifically picking but any or dissecting them.
– The Bill proposes to debar from coming to Australia, or to deport,’ people who advocate the unlawful destruction of property. A similar provision was embodied in the Unlawful Associations Act, and when that measure was before this House I pointed out that advocacy of the unlawful destruction of property might be construed to mean “ destruction of perishable commodities or foodstuffs “ ; and the man who does not happen to be born in Australia, but is an official of a union on strike in an industry connected with perishable foodstuffs - a butchers’ union, for instance, or any other union in connexion with the meat trade - might be accused of having advocated the destruction of property because, owing to the strike, certain produce had been destroyed. Of course, we have been assured that the Unlawful Associations Act would not be used in that way, but the experience of the people of Australia has been that a Government which is exercising power of a dubious nature, such as that which is embodied in the clauses of the Bill before us to-day, places on it an interpretation to suit itself. The experience we have had during the war, and since then, in respect to the deportation of men, does not give the people any feeling of security that the Government of the day will not abuse the power given by this Bill. Men have been deported without the least shadow of a trial or opportunity to defend themselves, and this Bill does not give adequate protection to members of the working class who may come into conflict with the vested interests of the country, as represented by the Government of the day. I do not believe that the policy of which this Bill is a sample has been developed in Australia. It seems to me it is part and parcel of an . international arrangement to deport members of the working classes who are opposed to the existing social order in any country in which they have not been born, and who seek to develop in it a system of government more in harmony with economic evolution. Men have been deported from America, and South Africa is adopting this same method of dealing with persons. Some years ago the Union Government deported seven or eight men - extra constitutional action was required in order to do so - solely because of their connexion with an industrial trouble in Johannesburg. The measure before us will permit the same thing to be done here. Pirst of all, the Bill provides that men who are known to hold ideas calculated to subvert the existing form of capitalistic government, known as parliamentary representation, shall be prevented from entering Australia; then, in another portion, it says that if persons holding these ideas are found in this country at any time within three years after they have arrived here, they may be deported.
There is an apparently innocent line in the Bill, which provides that a person who has previously been deported under any Statute shall be debarred from re-entering the Commonwealth. If the people of any country are living under conditions under which they are not prepared to continue, and they rise against a tyrannical minority that hitherto has controlled the country by holding down the majority of the people by force, if they succeed in overthrowing the existing Government, that “ existing institution “ for which this Bill provides, I see no reason why people who take part in that movement should be debarred from entering Australia. What danger would there be in permitting persons to enter this country who have taken part in a fight for freedom- in their own country; for example, the Russians who overthrew Czardom, the Germans who overthrew the .Kaiser, or the Austrians who overthrew the monarchy at Vienna? Of course, there is portion of the Bill which prevents these people from entering Australia for a period of five years on the specific ground of their nationality, but after the expiry of five years this Statute will still be in force. Are we to’ understand that people who come from presumably civilized countries, where republics have been established, similar to those in America’ and France, may be debarred from entering Australia? It seems to me a peculiar attitude to take up, unless it is aimed at the working-class people who seek to alter the existing social system. Was not the present American form of government established by force? Was not our British system established by armed revolt against the Stuarts? If in those days it was good to revolt against tyranny, oppression, or autocracy, in order to obtain freedom, surely it is good to-day to do so.
– How can there be tyranny where there is universal franchise ?
– There is no universal franchise in Australia to-day. Certain people are debarred from voting. Furthermore, the party to which the honorable member belongs has proposed, through the columns of the press, to disfranchise men who strike. If ever a day comes in this country when any Australian Government dares to disfranchise those who refuse to work under adverse economic conditions, and have the manhood to strike, that Government will be overthrown by force.
– Has ‘the honorable member ever heard any one on this side of the House make such a suggestion?
– Yes ; but not on the floor of the House. The Ministerial press ‘organs have advocated it. Their party organ in Broken Hill at the present time is advocating the wholesale disfranchisement of men who dare to strikeNo man can say what conditions will exist in a country ten, twenty, or twentyfive years hence. No man cnn say that in no circumstances will people rise in revolt against their Government.
– We know what exists in other parts of the world to-day, and”, we are trying to protect our country from, it.
– The present Administration is only a camouflaged Trust. Government. Masquerading under the name of Democracy, it is working in the interests of the Trusts and Combines 6f> Australia. It is nothing but a Committee of the capitalistic class.
– You were suspended for making that statement on a former occasion.
– You can put me out again for making it if you like. The statement is true. Abundant evidence is forthcoming as to the existence of Trusts and Combines. There are honorablemembers opposite who have been acting as the agents of the Trusts.
– Will the honorable member confine his remarks to the question before the Chair ?
– I am pointing out reasons why certain particularly obnoxious clauses in the Bill should be nega-tired. I can anticipate a condition of affairs arising’ iri this country when the’ people will no longer be prepared to allow agents of Trusts and Combines to use the. so-called constitutional machinery of government to delude and hoodwink the; public while they are actually perpetu_ating autocratic conditions such as existed in Europe prior to the overthrow of the Autocracy.
Under this Bill it is provided that a person whom it is proposed to deport shall . have the right of appeal to a Board. I could have no faith in any Board appointed to deal with matters of this’ character by the existing Administration. I do not believe this provision will give, the slightest protection to a man whom the Government propose to deport. Those, who have followed the treatment meted, out to Paul Freeman and others who have been deported, from Australia willhave, the last of their illusions dissipated as to this proposed Board offering any protection to men ordered to be deported. As long as some people powerfully situ’ated are allowed to pull the strings, any one may be deported from this country,, and this Government will tamely carry out the behests pf its masters.”
.- I gather from the speech just made by the honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) that he is wishful that the riff-raff of the world, who are now being turned out of every country in Europe, as well as out of America, should be given free asylum here. Every man who has proved to’ be dangerous in any other country is a fit man, in his opinion, to come into Australia, no matter what’ principles he may advocate. This Bill, he says, is aimed against the working classes. As a matter of fact, it is aimed against, not the working classes, but those who work the working classes. It is aimed at people who are trying to get into Australia, and who, for the most part, have never done an honest day’s work in their lives.
The assertion was made by the honorable member that those who advocate systems of government different from our own are perfectly entitled to come here. He seems to think that the Bill is directed against citizens of Australia, and that under it they will have no right to alter our Constitution when they desire to do so, even by force. If they are strong enough, they have that right. It is not proposed to deport a citizen of Australia who has been resident here for three years. The honorable member’s whole argument seemed to be an attempt to suggest that this was an effort to suppress in every way those who are already citizens of the Commonwealth. He even went so far as to say that people from other countries who advocated different forms of government would make suitable citizens. According to that line of argument, the man who advocates and pushes the view that citizens of China or Japan have a perfect right to come here, and to advocate the abolition of the White- Australia policy, should bewelcomed by us with open arms. Our White Australia policy, as a matter of fact, is based upon economic considerations, and not on the question of colour. If the honorable member’s argument is to be carried to its logical conclusion, it means that Japanese, Chinese, and other coloured people should be allowed to come here, and by their presence here in sufficient numbers to upset the whole policy of a White Australia.
– The Bill does not deal with that matter.
– No; but. that is really what the honorable member advocates.
In response to- an interjection, the honorable memberspoke’ of the “limited mentality” of those Who sit on this side of the House. I do not know whether he is a competent judge, ‘but, taking’ it at its worst, the “ limited mentality “ of honorable members on this side, and that of the majority of the people of Australia, is such as to lead them to the view that in past years, not only in this country, but in Great Britain and other lands, there has grown up a class of individuals that is dangerous to good government and the nation. In the past, we have been very foolish in allowing such -people to come in and to try to upset ordinary forms of good government. The peoples of other countries have realized that they have been foolish in taking to their bosom these men, who are prepared to stab them in the back, and, at the first opportunity, to assassinate them. The honorable member for Barrier advocates that we should continue to submit to the humiliations that we suffered during the whole of. the war period from the presence in our midst of men of this class, and that we should again allow such men to come in free.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) devoted the main portion of his speech to clause 3 of the Bill, which prohibits the entry into Australia of any idiot, imbecile, or epileptic. He seemed to suggest that we should allow all such people to come into Australia without restraint.
– I think we ought to have a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
– I do not intend to proceed further.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a . second time.
Clause 1 (Short Title).
.- If it would be in order, I should like to move an amendment providing that “ This Act may be cited as the Deportation Act 1919.”
– The honorable member would not be in order in submitting such an amendment.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 (Amendment of section 2).
Question- That the clause he agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 18
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Section 3 of the principal Act is amended -
by omitting paragraph (c) and inserting in its stead the following paragraph: - “ (c) any. idiot, imbecile, feebleminded person, epileptic, person suffering from dementia, insane person, person who has been insane within five years previously, or person who has Had two or more attacks of insanity;” and
by inserting after paragraph (gc) the following paragraphs: - “(gd) any anarchist or person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth , or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law, or who is opposed to organized government, or who advocates the assassination of public officials or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization which entertains and teaches any of the doctrines and practices specified in this paragraph ; (ge) . for the period of five years after the . commencement of this paragraph, and thereafter until the Governor-
General by proclamation otherwise determines, any person who in the opinion of an officer is of German, Austro-German, - Bulgarian or Hungarian parentage and nationality, or is a Turk of Ottoman, race; . . . ‘ . (gg) any person who has been deported in pursuance of . any Act;”.
Section proposed to be amended -
The immigration into the Commonwealth of thepersons described in any of the following paragraphs of this section(hereinafter called “prohibited immigrants”) is prohibited, namely: -
any idiot, imbecile,feeble-minded person, or epileptic; (gc) any prostitute, procurer, or person living on the prostitution of others.
– Have the Government seriously considered this clause from the point of view of self-preservation? I am concerned as to what might happen to future possible supporters of the Government if we prohibit the entry of “ any idiot, imbecile, feeble-minded person, or person suffering from dementia.” Do the Government think that any- wage-earner in Australia, other than idiots and feebleminded persons, could possibly support them ?
– These remarks are not original.
– I know that. Even if I were the most original person on earth, the honorable member ‘ could not appreciate the fact.
– At any rate, the honorable member could not be aboriginal.
– I suppose that interjection is correct. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Archibald) is . original in the fact that, although nobody can appreciate a joke better than he does, he objects to others joking at his expense. I am quite prepared to compare my original beauty with his, my . sylph-like form with his.
-The honorable member must confine his remarks to the clause.
– The Government, although religiously following . the trend of . the principal Act, propose to do an injustice tosome persons who may wish
J to” come’ to Australia.’ My experience is :,that they have. po use for anybody who is politically opposed to them; they can conoeive of no honesty ‘of purpose in such a “p’erson. At every opportunity, and upon any imaginary” excuse,, they have imprisoned, deported, ruined, and vengefully imposed disabilitiesi on their political opponents. Now they propose to strengthen, ah already Strong immigration law so’ « mat they may declare f eeble- (‘ minded or insane any person opposed to ; them politically. -
– The honorable member is straining the meaning of the clause.
-.- I am. not. If. they had adhered to the wording of the original section -we might have treated them with generosity, although we never get any’ generosity from the Government.
– I again ask the honorable member to confine his remarks to the clause. ‘
– I thought I was “doing that. I object ‘to the Government taking any more power than they already possess for use against those who may wish to supplant them on the Treasury “bench. It will’ be conceded, even by my inost obstinate political opponent, that the Government have never lost an opportunity ‘ of’ smothering by any . means at their command political opposition to. them. ‘ They now prppos.e to, strengthen the ‘immigration laws for political purposes. I could understand them desiring to keep from our shores persons physically or mentally unfit to become, useful citizens; I could “understand a desire to keep the Australian Tace free from insanity; but I object to their having the power of discrimination as to what persons are weak-minded. I can. imagine the Government, as a test of imbecility) questioning ah intending immifirant regarding his’ political tendencies.
– And the answer would ; disclose whether -the immigrant was intelligent or otherwise.
– The honorable member admits that even he might judge ihe mental capacity of an individual according to his political opinions.
– And, under certain conditions, be judged.
– Who is to he the judge as to persons suffering from dementia ? I am” quite’ willing that ihe official’s “of the ‘Department should undertake the duty; but we- have evidence that the present Government goes out of its way,- as no previous Government has ever done,”to squelch their political opponents, and, in this way, have acted in a manner detrimental to the- interests of the people of Australia. ‘ If Ministers’ are to be’ be the judges, I object, for. my own personal . comfort may be concerned. ‘ The officials, of the Department, are trained in this kind of work, and certainly it should not be ‘left to the Ministers themselves. Personally, T would submit myself to the present Minister (Mr. Glynn), but the peculiarity of the presenlt Government is that amongst its members there is only one man who asserts himself, ‘and who has any power, and that is the gentleman who is supposed to arrive here in a- few days.
– The honorable member . is digressing.
– In my weakness, I have supported measures introduced by the Government only to find them used, not for the preservation, but for the destruction of the liberties of the people, and I am afraid that any legislation passed now may be used in the same way. The War Precautions Bill appeared to me just as innocent and necessary as the present Bill, and I did not oppose it. That Act, however, is used for political purposes; and if the clause /before us is permitted to stand, it may be that the Minister for Defence, or some other Minister, who does not think with me in politics, will charge me with mental aberration. The Government have made this clause most comprehensive, embracing as it does all who may be politically opposed to them, and every possible opinion that an immigrant may have on any phase of life. The Government are trying to make the people believe that . they desire to exclude individuals, of anarchial opinion, or those who are mentally deranged - people who think that the only method of reform is by bombs. But the Government reserve to themselves the right of saying what “anarchy” is, and of administering the Bill at their o’wn. sweet will. In this way, any person who endeavours: to.’ enter the country, and who is objected to by the Government, ‘may , be,: taken by the scruff of the neck and “ booted out. Australia is- a country of large areas, and there are other nations which declare that we hold it. in a manner injurious to the rest of the world. We are all wishful for desirable immigrants, not desirable in the opinion of the Government and their supporters, but desirable in the opinion of civilized people; and not- one act by the present Government’ can claim any civilized method. There’ is not one act by that arch-fiend, the present Prime Minister (Mr.. Hughes)-
– -I must ask the honorable member to withdraw those words, which are very improper as applied to any honorable member, and especially to the Prime Minister.
– I withdraw the words, and admit I should not have . used them, especially as the honorable gentleman is not present. May I say that I refuse to allow a gentleman with the great capabilities of the Prime Minister to be in a position to paint political opponents, who wish to enter Australia,, so black as tosecure their exclusion. I admit that the honorable gentleman’s abilities are very high in that direction, and he has been able to delude the people of Australia for some time, and lead them- into paths that will bring about their downfall.
– Order !
– I think that what I have said is fair criticism.
– The honorable member, as an old member of the House, knows that it is- absolutely disorderly to impute improper motives to the Prime Minister or anybody else. The honorable member is continuing to do so, and I ask him, in the interests of the dignity of the Committee, to cease that line of argument.
– You will admit, sir, that I am . not- imputing any improper motives.
– Politically, you can say what you like.
– The Leader of the Opposition should be the first to support the Chair in asking for order in the Committee. I draw his . attention to the fact . that . the imputation, of . improper motives’ may be not only personal but political.
– I must bow ‘ to your ruling, but if you prevent me from attacking my political - opponents, with what small powers I possess, I hope that in future you will protect me from the political attacks of those who have far more power than I have. .
– The honorable member knows that if he desires to attack the . Government there is another form of procedure. ‘ That form is’ not now before the Committee. The discussion at this stage must be. confined to the clause. The honorable member is quite in order in giving reasons why the clause should not be agreed to, but beyond that he may not go-
– Now do you understand the position?
– Perfectly. The Chairman has made up his mind that he will prevent me from placing my objections to the clause before the Committee.
– No, the Chairman has indicated the very reverse. He has invited you to state your objections to the clause, so long as they are relevant.
– I claim that I have not been permitted to do so.
– Order ! The honorable member has now reached his time limit.
.- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews) has asked me one relevant question - who it is that decides whether a person comes within thisclause or not. I do not want to offer an opinion, as the honorable member has done. I simply tell him that before an immigrant leaves England he is examined as to his mental . and physical capacity. If he passes the doctor he gets a certificate. On the voyage out it may be discovered that a person comes within the terms of this Act regarding mental or physical debility; an examination is then made by the medical official on board. If on landing here it is found necessary, a further examination takes place. That is all provided for in the original Act.
The regulations actually contain the words which we are now adding to the subsection of the Act as regards imbecile’s, idiots, , and so on. As I said on the second- reading, they are the basis of administration, but, to give clearness and validity in the matter, the words are now being added to the Act. There is no alteration in the existing . procedure. The test is not applied by the Minister, but by the medical men.
– This applies only to assisted immigrants - 3-rd-class passengers.
– Thehonorable member is incorrect; I have not seen the regulations for about three years, but I -settled them originally when Dr. Norris was sent Home. They provide that certain examinations’ can -be made of ordinary passengers on board.
– It should be compulsory on all passengers.
– Yes, they are all examined when they are coming out here.
– First, second, and third class ?
– All persons coming out as assisted immigrants are examined to test their fitness. Under the regulations, although- they have not been much in operation during the war, the immigrants are examined at the ports from which they come. For instance, under section 3d of the Act, “Any intending immigrant shall be examined’ as to his physical and mental fitness by a medical referee, and shall answer the authorized list of questions put to him by the medical referee.” That applies to any one coming out as an immigrant.
– That does not apply to first or second class passengers.
– It applies to any one who is an immigrant. If a person is coming out here on a trip only he is not examined. I explained on the second reading that an immigrant does not mean an ordinary tourist, but means a person who is coming out to make this place his home. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked if the test would be applied by the Minister or by an official.
– I asked if the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) had the final judgment
– What has the Prime Minister to do with it except as the head of the Government?
– He has been . running Australia for three years.
Mr.GLYNN. - He has not ‘been running this office. All these cases -have been dealt with by me so far . as the . administration of the Act -is concerned. “If doubts -arise as ‘to the efficacy -of -the ‘administration, the Prime Minister is the party to appeal to; but the honorable member is wrong in assuming that the Prime Minister has interfered with ‘the administration of this Act. It is very rarely that the Prime Minister is asked to give a decision on points of policy between two Ministers. If there is a question ofdoubt about the administration, it naturally . comes before the Cabinet. All these irrelevant observations . on the part of the honorable member doubtless have their effect in Hansard, but they do not arise in practical administration.
– Will a wealthy person paying his own passage to this country have to undergo the examination ?
– Every immigrant will. I cannot see that any substantial effect is gained by these observations about wealth and comparative mendicancy.
– You were distinguishing between immigrants and passengers.
– I was not. I was asked . by the Leader of the Opposition whether first or second . class passengers would come under the immigration laws. I say, “ Yes “ ; but, as a general rule, people who travel first class are not coming out as a batch of immigrants. They are not assisted immigrants; but if they are coming out to remain here they are examined, and are subject . to the very samelaws as the others.
– You said that a person who came here as a tourist would not be responsible.
– I did not say so. I said that any one who is an immigrant will come within the provisions of the Bill. They are immigrants whether , they come first, second, or third class, but the great body of assisted immigrants do not come out as first class passengers. Although morally they may be entitled , to the same affluence as others, as a matter of practice they do not generally possess it-
.- The main principles of the Bill are contained in two clauses, and that fact justifies the gracious help which the Opposition . have afforded the Government . to get- the Bill into the Committee stage as soon as possible. We are enabled under this clause to consider by itself one main principle. I commend the Minister (Mr. Glynn) for the generous tone in which he introduced the Bill, and only regret that he had, by reason of his associations, to make concessions’ so far as he did to the passions . and prejudices of the Government and those who support them. The Bill, and particularly this clause, involves an extension of the policy of exclusion from the Commonwealth, and involves, also, the exercise of the right, which should beused with great moderation and care, to remove persons from the Commonwealth. While in its language the clause penalizes the advocacy of violent action for governmental purposes so far as to make it a ground for deportation, it constitutes in its very terms a violent assault upon a cherished democratic principle. I refer to the right, which should be inherent in the people of every country, to assert the form of government under which they think they ought to live, and, if necessary, to resort to armed rebellion if they believe that they are being harshly treated or oppressed. If we deny that right, we thereby insist upon the justice of any oppressor holding the people in chains until they can, by constitutional and peaceful means, induce him to remove the gyves from their wrists and the chains from their limbs.
The Drought and Cold Storage - Queensland Sugar: Supply of Bags - Taxation Department : Returned Soldiers - German Internees from fiji - Repatriation: Business Ad- vances : Vocational Training - Unrefined Sugar.
– I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
Honorable members will be asked on Wednesday to resume the consideration of the Immigration Bill in Committee, and, if we get on ate rapidly as we- have done today, we shall then proceed with the Customs Bill.
– I put a question to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) to-day, with a desire to bring under his own and the Government’s notice the gravity of the position as I see it with regard to live stock in Australia, and particularly in Victoria and the Riverina. The situation, I think, could be relieved by a rapid and sagacious stroke of statesmanship on the combined part of the Commonwealth and State authorities. I know they are unable to relieve us so far as rain is concerned, and I do not desire to put forward gloomy forebodings while there is still time for the season to develop favorably in Victoria, but I do press upon the notice of the Government the following facts-: I have twice, by questions in this House, addressed to the Acting Leader of the Government (Mr. Watt) and to the Minister in charge of shipping (Mr. Poynton), asked that the most urgent possible representations be made -abroad for the fullest supply of insulated space to relieve the present congestion in the limited frozen storage accommodation existing in this State. To-day Victoria has, roughly, 17,000,000 head of sheep, and there are about 10,000,000 sheep in southern Riverina. If we add a moderate allowance for lambs, we can safely say that we have in sight and on foot in this area as many as 34,000,000 head of sheep and lambs, representing today one of the Commonwealth’s greatest liquid assets. There is still time to preserve the greater portion of these sheep from loss. Even if the season goes well, we cannot cope with that number. But the prospects of a normal season are very poor in Victoria, while I noticethat in New South Wales days have been set aside for prayer for rain. Scientists are also at work; but still the rain does not come.
– I believe that some poor people are praying for a drought, so that they may get cheap meat.
– Any one who has a decent outlook on Australian affairs would not for a. second think of praying for a drought. We have only our primary industries to look to to meet our huge, colossal national debt, and even the poorer people of thiscountry would be mistaken in ‘thinking that a drought would be a short cut out of their trouble. This is not an ordinary matter, and I impress’ on the Government that they must not look on calmly while a calamity may overtake the country. . Provision already exists in Victoria for the cold storage of mutton and lamb; but even if it were going at full speed all the year, utilizing the whole of its machinery and space, it could not conceivably meet the situation. The sheep on the hoof cannot be saved unless we have the aid of the elements. I do not hope for the intervention of the Government in that respect ; but if the elements do not come to our rescue, the next ‘best thing to do is to endeavour to create a sufficient organization to deal with the tremendously abnormal conditions that will meet us . within a few weeks even if rain should fall. All the pastoralists are holding on to their sheep to-day if they can do so, so that they may shear them. We are on the eve of shearing in Victoria. In other States shearing is in progress. After, shearing the market will become flooded with sheep. Every pastoralist in difficulty will rush his stock to the market; but there will not be sufficient organization to absorb them. There is still time to create it if the Commonwealth and the States will co-operate to put up’ immediately sufficient cold storage on a colossal scale, to turn all this stock into sovereigns.
– What additional insulated space would be necessary to deal with the situation?
– The existing organization in Melbourne could deal with about 96,000 . head . per week at top pressure going all the year round, out that would be merely a fleabite, so to speak, in meeting the present situation. No man can tell the Minister exactly what may be required in the form of cold storage accommodation ; but he has a quick and ready means of ascertaining it by referring to the keen minds engaged in the trade in Melbourne - to Mr. Oman, the State Minister of Agriculture, who has perceived the situation, and is anxious . to take co-operative action, or to Dr. Cameron, the State Director of Agriculture.
– Who proposes to make provision for 300,000 carcasses.
– When the lambs mature, if they do, the limited area of Victoria and southern . Riverina will have to make provision for 34,000,000 head of sheep. A calamity faces us if they are allowed to die, because there will be no means of killing them, holding them to cold storage, and exporting them. The Minister (Mr. Greene) ought to make immediate and urgent representations to the Imperial authorities. The people of Europe,, and even Great Britain, want food. If stock die on our hands,,, we shall be guilty not only of negligence, but also of a crime in allowing this national waste to take place. I would not be taking up the time of the House at this late hour on an ordinary matter. I do not want Ministers to fold their arms and look on while this calamity is threatening us. I am aware that the huge meat contracts with the Inperial Government are held by the States until three months after peace is finally declared, but Commonwealth Ministers cannot be held blameless if they allow stock to die while there is a chance of turning the sheep into millions of sovereigns. Ministers have interferedwith . the States when they have not been asked to do so. Here is a chance when the country looks to them to devise some means by which they can co-operate with State Governments and save Australia from a huge national loss.
.- There is a grave situation in North Queensland which can be relieved by the Ministry , and I trust it will be done very soon. The cause to which the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) has referred may have the effect of making food cheaper, but the situation in North Queensland can only result in making food dearer. There is a great scarcity of sugar, and it may be necessary to import from Java, where the price is now £50 per ton f.o.b. When people have to pay that price for sugar it will make a very serious inroad on their purses.
– The latest quotation that I have received for Java sugar is £61 per ton f.o.b.
– What about Fiji sugar?
– There is no sugar available from Fiji.
– I have received telegrams stating that the sugar mills are closing owing to the scarcity of bags, not because the crop has been a failure. As a matter of fact, the crop is fairly up to the average. ‘There are plenty of bags in Australia, but, because of the strike, they cannot be conveyed to the north, where they are so urgently needed. I had a conversation with the Minister (Mr. Greene) a little time ago, and he told me that he was doing all he possibly could to have the necessities of the district relieved. To-day I would like him to say whether anything has’ been done or is likely to be done in order to make bags available to the North Queensland sugar mills?
;- I have been informed that several returned soldiers employed in the Taxation Department for some months past have received notice that their services will not be required after 1st September next. As the taxpayers’ returns have just been sent in, one would expect that there would be ample work in the Department for any officer who has . recently been employed by it, and I ask the Minister in charge of the House (Mr. Groom) to make inquiries and see that the places of those returned soldiers , are not filled by men who have not done their duty to their country.
– I shall make inquiries into the matter.
– I wish to draw attention to a matter that I spoke about some time ago. Recently, when I was at Canberra, I met a couple of Australian girls, daughters of a manufacturer in Fremantle, whose son has been fighting at the Front. They had married naturalized Germans, and accompanied their husbands to Fiji. Their husbands were interned thereand brought to the Canberra Concentration Camp.
– When the honorable member mentioned the matter the . other day, I at once referred it for inquiry.
– But these inquiries take too long. A petition was sent to the Governor-General over a month ago, and the case has been before the Government for the past three months, but, so far as I can learn, no action has yet been taken.
Iunderstand thatno charge , has been laid against these men. They were sent here by the Fiji Government, and the Australian Government keep them interned; but there seems to be no determination to the matter. I ask Ministers to get into touch with the Imperial Government in order to see what action may be taken in regard to these men, against whom no charge has ‘been laid.
– We have been making a similar complaint for some time. If there is anything to be held against a man, it should be made known to him.
– I want action to be taken in this case. It is not fair to hold up the matter indefinitely.
.- I understand that the repatriation regulations are so framed that a young man who has returned from the Front, but has not previously been in business, is unsuccessful if he submits an application for an advance to establish him in business. I have received a communication from a young -man, who waited on me this morning. He has an opportunity of representing four firms trading between Victoria and Queensland, and needs about £100 to set him up in this business. However, he is debarred from getting assistance from the Repatriation Department because he is not maimed; and was not. previously in business. Many of our lads went to the war when they were eighteen or nineteen years of age, and had no opportunity of being in business for themselves. Now that they have returned, they are of a marriageable age, and they find that they must get into some business in order to set themselves up in homes. .
– It is not the regulation that debars them; it is the Repatriation scheme itself, for which Parliament was. responsible.
– The sooner an amending Bill is brought down the better. Itwould pass the House in a few minutes. Any barrier which, prevents assistance being given to these young men, who seek to establish themselves in business, ought to he removed.
– I think there is a certain amount of discretion -allowed.
– There should be. The opportunity open to the young man from whom I received this communication may only be available for a week, arid may be lost to him if financial assistance is not forthcoming.
– The case is not an exceptional one. There is quite a number of such cases.
– I have a few.
– That is all the more reason why we should have an amendment of the Act. I am sure that both sides of the House would unanimously support such an amendment.
– Regulation 60 allows only three classes of people to get assistance.
– I shall not make further reference to the subject at this stage’.
There is another matt:r which I desire to bring before the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene). In Victoria, and I dare say the position is the same in the other States, only unrefined sugar is for the most part available. I understand from business people, and particularly from grocers in country districts, that they are actually paying more for unrefined sugar than they were paying before for refined sugar.
– The natural result of interference with the trade.
– Not at all. I am informed that where a grocer buys several tons of unrefined sugar he is not only now charged for what he had to pay for the refined article, but that, in addition, he has to pay for the bags in which it is supplied. If unrefined sugar can alone be supplied by the refining companies, then the people should not have to pay for it what is ordinarily charged for the refined article.
.-While I agree with the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers) that the position of stock-owners in certain parts of Australia will be very serious unless we have an early and adequate rainfall, I can assure him that the interjection which I made, and to which exception has been taken, is absolutely correct. People are praying for cheaper meat, and if they can get it only as the result of a drought they will pray for a drought.
– Surely they do not think they will be able to get cheap meat in, that way?
– They believe that there is a hoarding up of supplies.
– You can buy as much mutton as you like for 3d. per lb. at Newmarket saleyards.
– And .the people of Richmond, Collingwood, and other parts of the metropolis have to pay from 9d. to ls. a lb. for it. If that is so, then it must be the robber - the man who comes in between the stock-raiser and the retailer - who is keeping up prices.
– So the honorable member would like to see the people on the land perish?
– Not at all.
– You talk of praying for a drought. The man who would do so ought to be shot.
– A lot of that sort of thing is practically to be done under the Immigration Bill with which we have been dealing this afternoon, and the Government can amend it so as to bring such people within its provisions.
– Then why did not the honorable member vote against the second reading of the Bill?
– I shall certainly vote against the motion for the third reading. lt was owing to a most unfortunate circumstance that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Higgs) was not present. I have acquainted the Acting Leader of the House (Mr. Groom) of the circumstances under which he was temporarily absent. It was a pure accident. I have beaten the Government party on points before, and will do so again.
– The honorable member should blame the honorable member for Barrier (Mr. Considine) for calling for a quorum.
– I will leave it to the Acting Leader of the House !to explain to honorable members opposite the circumstances under which the motion for the second reading was carried without a division.
As to the question of the vocational training of returned soldiers, many of us are not sure whether the limitation as to age is provided for in the Act itself or under a regulation. The position is that the Repatriation Department does not provide for the vocational training of returned soldiers over twenty years of age unless it is in respect of a trade which they were following before they enlisted. I know of a returned soldier who enlisted when he was eighteen or nineteen years of age, and was principally engaged in connexion with telegraphic, telephonic, and signalling’ work at the Front. He became practically an expert in electrical work, and, upon his return, was offered by a firm of electrical engineers employment at a rate representing what he could earn end agreed upon by the Repatriation Department. But, because he was not in the trade before he enlisted, and is now over 20 years of age, the Repatriation Department refuses to make up the difference between the wage offered by this firm and the Wage required.
Most of us think that wo could make a success of any business that we chose to enter, and I know that many returned soldiers, in the early days of the Repatriation Department, went into businesses for which they were not fitted, and failed to succeed. Only last evening a young man who, before he enlisted, was in the electrical engineering trade, and held excellent testimonials, came to me, and told me that, owing to the loss of a leg, he was unable to follow his ordinary occupation, and that he had commenced work as a manufacturer of clothing. A firm had offered him an order for 10,000 coats according” to a sample submitted by him, but, while he was able to get some private backing, the Repatriation Department refused to supplement that assistance, because he was not in business when he went to the war. I shall do all I can to help him, and if there is any difficulty in the way of granting such assistance, I think that the Act should be amended. The House, 1 believe, is unanimously of opinion that those who are likely to make good in any business should be given a chance- A man of thirty is more likely to quickly acquire the details of a new industry than is a youth of twenty. Such a man would recognise tha’, he was getting into years, and that, as this was his only chance, he must give the closest attention to his work. I ask the Acting Leader of the House to make representations to the Minister for Repatriation that some relief should he granted in the directions I have indicated.
– In reply to the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford), I have to state that we have been doing our utmost to have a supply of bags sent up north to tho mills which are crushing. Yesterday I nearly completed arrangements to have a full supply sent up, and I hope at the latest to complete those arrangements tomorrow. Coming to the matter mentioned by the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Rodgers), I should like, first of all, to express my surprise at the remark made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor). If he did not himself state that he would like a drought to occur-
– I do not wish to see a drought.
– If the honorable member did not himself express the hope that there would he a drought, which would lead to a reduction in the price of meat, be was, at all events, encouraging people who take that view.
– Not at all.
– The position is that during the last two months the Government have been making the most urgent representations to the Imperial authorities to make further provision than was contemplated by them for the supply of insulated space to take our meat away. We found ourselves in ‘ the middle of winter with the cool stores practically full, and with the knowledge that, apart altogether from drought or the possibility of drought, there would be an abnormal quantity of stock coming into the cool stores in the early part of the year. The tonnage which the Imperial Government proposed to allot to Australia was altogether insufficient to deal with the accumulations actually in store, let alone any provision that might be made in the immediate future. We cabled repeatedly in the most urgent terms, asking that additional insulated space should be made available to us. At first we did not get much of a response, but during this week we received a cablegram stating that, in addition to the tonnage which had been allotted, tho Imperial Government .proposed to allot a further 34,000 tons of insulated space for the removal of frozen meat from Australia during the month of September. That will materially relieve the existing congestion, and make room for a large number of sheep and lambs duringthe early partof next year. I assure honorable members that the Government are fully alive to the urgency of the position, particularlyin view of the fact that the only way of saving: to this country the value of a very large number of stock, if the drought becomes severe, will- be by running into cold’ storage at the first possible moment all those that, are in condition.
– Has the Minister any indication that the States are making additional provision forcold storage?
– I cannot say that I have. Even if the storage- were not provided, and! the sheep’ were not. put in cold stores-, mutton’ would not be any cheaper if a drought happened:. There would be no mutton fit for consumption after the first rush of stock to- the market. The market might drop for a week or two, and then- it would soar higher than it had ever been. The doctrine that meat may be made cheaper by not.’ providing’ cold storage is absurd. I admit that something may yet be done, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, to- meet the abnormal condition of affairs, existing inthe south of Australia at. the. present time.. Anything; the Government, can do inco-opera-, tion with the States to relieve theexisting position, will be done; and we shallgive the- most earnest’ consideration to any representationsby the. State Governments. We realize the seriousness of the position, and theabsolutenecessity, an Australian stand-point of conserving our. capital . assets in the form, of sheep and lambs:
Mr.GROOM. (Darling Downs- Minister for Works and Railways and Acting’ AttorneyGeneral.) [4.13].. - The internees to whom, the honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory) referred were brought from Fiji to Australia under an arrangement made between the Commonwealth and Fijian. GovernmentsCommunications upon the subject arenow passing between the two Governments. The- matter mentioned’ By the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Leckie)’ I have already referred to the Treasury, with a request that inquiries be- made. The points raised, by thehonorable member for Yarra (Mr. Tudor) regarding repatriation will be placed before the; Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen).
Question resolved; in theaffirmative.
House adjourned at 4.14 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 August 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1919/19190822_reps_7_89/>.