9th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General a question having some bearing on the Power Alcohol Bounty Bill, which is now on the business paper. When in Brisbane recently, I was informed that the Commonwealth fleet of motor curs uses power alcohol as fuel. I ask the Minister, where is this fuel produced, what does it cost per gallon, and are the results from its use regarded as satisfactory?
– The power alcohol is being manufactured in Brisbane. It is being used by the Postal Department and Defence Department in both Melbourne and Brisbane. Arrangements are being made to have it used in Sydney. The comparative costs are ls. 7d. per gallon for power alcohol, and 2s. per gallon for benzine. Power alcohol gives a littleless mileage per gallon, and is therefore a little more costly than benzine, but it has been found very satisfactory to use.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has seen the following report of a visit made by British medical experts to Geneva for the purpose of investigating the Spahlinger cure for tuberculosis: -
An important meeting at Crewe with reference to the Spahlinger treatment of bovine tuberculosis considered the report of experts, including Doctors Thomas Watts and J. H. Williams, who are members of the medical committee of the House of Commons. They are just back from their visit to Geneva to study Spahlinger’s methods. Both reported that they went with open minds, and returned absolutely converted to the belief that the Spahlinger treatment was the onecure that was destined to eradicate tuberculosis from humans and cattle.
In view of this report, will the Prime Minister enter into negotiations with Mr. Spahlinger with a view to the establishment of a laboratory here, and also make provision for several Australians, in indigent circumstances, who are now being treated by Mr. Spahlinger at Geneva?
– I saw the press report to which the honorable gentleman has referred. I sincerely trust that the conclusions which have been arrived at by the gentlemen referred to are well founded. The Commonwealth Government, as the honorable’ gentleman probably knows, is in touch with the Ministry of Health in Great Britain in connexion with this matter. If, after further investigation, it is found that the facts are as the report would suggest, the Commonwealth Government will, unquestionably, be prepared to take steps in the matter.
– In view of the near approach of the fourth of July will the Prime Minister, if he has not already done so, cause felicitous greetings to be sent to the English-speaking nation, the people of the United States of America? Will he embody in the message an assurance that the Australian people are looking forward with a great deal of pleasure to the. approaching visit of the American fleet? Will the right honorable gentleman also send a message in a similar strain to the admiral of that fleet, which is now nearing our shores?
– I think the honorable member raised this matter last year on about the same date. I can assure him that the fullest consideration will be given to the question whether action should be taken in the direction he suggests.
– On the 10th June I asked the Prime Minister whether he would make available the whole of the correspondence, and also full particulars of the tenders received for the construction of the proposed two new cruisers. In reply to my question, the right honorable gentleman said that the correspondence and facts concerning the tenders which had .been received would be disclosed, as far as they could be, but it was necessary to go through the files to ascertain how much information could be made public. He promised to do that and to let me know the result. Will the Prime Minister advise me when I may expect to have that information ?
– The files are being very closely examined. At the moment I am not in a position to tell the honorable gentleman what information, if any, will be available to him. The inspection of the files has shown that nearly all the communications there are so closely connected with secret information supplied by the British Government that it is doubtful whether very much of the information can be made available. I hope that the investigation will be finished within a few days’ time.
– I ask the Minister in charge of the arrangements for the reception of the American fleet if he is aware that the Government of New South Wales has arranged an important reunion of Commonwealth, state, and American officers and members of Parliament for the 23rd of July ? Is it true, as rumoured, that this House is notto meet on that date?
– I proposed to make an announcement to the House at a later hour to-day for the convenience of honorable members, but I shall make it now in answer to the honorable member’s question. It is intended to suspend the sittings of Parliament while the American fleet is in Australian waters. The House will adjourn on the Friday preceding the arrival of the fleet, the 17th of July, and will- reassemble in the week after the fleet leaves Australia. The House will not be sitting on the date to which the honorable member has referred.
– Some time ago I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories for the names and addresses of the gentlemen who held an inquiry into the tile and brick works at Canberra. The answer I received was not a reply to the whole of my question. I ask the Minister now whether he is prepared to supply the names and addresses of the gentlemen who held an inquiry into those works at Canberra ?
– I shall bring the honorable member’s question under the notice of the Minister for Home and Territories, and shall endeavour to get the information asked for.
– I wish to ask a question of the Prime Minister based on the following quotation which 1 make from a leading article appearing in last night’s Sydney Evening News: -
A matter of considerable importance to the Commonwealth, although little of it ib heard in New South Wales, is the completion of the north-south railway. This is a compact between the Commonwealth and South Australia in connexion with the transfer to the former of the Northern Territory to bridge the gap between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs. A South Australian railway runs as far north as Oodnadatta. A Northern Territory train occasionally travels south to Alice Springs. When Alice Springs is joined with either the Commonwealth or state railway system, the overland route to Fort Darwin will be open.
As that is one of the most glaring inaccuracies ever published in a newspaper, Alice Springs being no less than 700 miles from the rail head, will the right honorable gentleman cause such information to be sent to the Evening News and other journals as will prevent similar misstatements about this great heritage of ours being published in future.
– I am afraid I cannot accept the responsibility of correcting all the inaccuracies published in the newspapers, but I shall see that the fullest possible information is available to the press and public of this country.
– Recently I asked the Prime Minister whether he would make available the whole of the correspondence, by cablegram and otherwise, between his Government and the British Government, regarding the rejection of the League of Nations Protocol. In reply, the right honorable gentleman stated that he could not make the whole of the correspondence available without the consent of all the governments concerned, and he promised to ascertain from the different governments the extent to which they would agree to the publication of their communications. Can he now inform me when the correspondence will be made available?
– The Government has oommunicated with all the governments of the self-governing dominions which sent cables on this subject, and replies have been received from most of them. I hope that I shall be able to make the correspondence available during the next few days.
– The practice has grown up in this House of not making printed copies of bills available to honorable members until the second-reading stage. Bills which the Government regards as formal may not be formal in the opinion of many honorable members. In some instances, bills have been read a second time before honorable members have had an opportunity of seeing them. Would it be possible, Mr. Speaker, to make arrangements for copies of all bills to be handed to honorable members at the first-reading stage?
– It is not normally the practice of this House to await the second-reading stage for the circulation of printed copies of bills. Usually the Clerk authorizes the distribution of a bill immediately at has been read a first time, and, as honorable members are aware, copies cannot be properly issued before then. Furthermore, under the Standing Orders a bill cannot be read a first , and a second time on the same day unless with the unanimous concurrence of honorable members. Recently such leave has been granted in more than one instance, and that is why the extraordinary procedure referred to by the honorable member has been followed.
– Will the right honorable the Prime Minister have a memorandum prepared for the information of honorable members showing the original sections of the Immigration Act, and how it is proposed to amend them by the bill submitted last week?
– Such a memorandum would probably be a convenience to honorable members, and I shall, therefore, endeavour to comply with the honorable member’s request as soon as possible.
Provision of Bounty
– In view of the widespread unemployment in Australia, and with the object of relieving it, will the Minister for Trade and Customs say whether he has given consideration to the suggestion that the Government should take steps to encourage the cottonspinning industry, either by imposing an import duty or by paying a bounty?
– The question is being carefully considered by the Government, but a decision has not yet been reached.
– Will the Government take full advantage of Mr. J. B. Cramsie’s visit to Great Britain with a view to furthering Australian meat interests in that country ?
– The Government is aware of Mr. Cramsie’s visit to Great Britain, and has already made use of his services. It made a request that he should be called to give evidence before the Imperial Economic Committee. He was called, and has also been consulted on several matters. He is in Great Britain primarily in the interests of the Australian Meat Council.
– In view of the statement in the Governor-General’s Speech that a new tariff would be brought down at an early date, will the Government, in view of the prevalence of unemployment, submit its proposals to the House as soon as possible ?
– The honorable member will see, on reference to the Tariff Board Act, that a certain procedure must be followed before tariff questions can be brought before the House. Every one concerned is working assiduously and industriously, and I am hopeful that it will not be long before I shall be able to place the Government’s final proposals before honorable members.
– On the 19th June, the right honorable the Prime Minister stated that all the documents and information the Government had received upon the subject of the European Security Pact were being investigated with a view to determining to what extent they could be made available to honorable members. Has he noticed in the cablegrams published in the newspapers this morning that the Canadian Government has made all the documents and information available to the parliament of that dominion ? I should like to know whether the Prime Minister will do likewise when he is tabling the papers relating to the Protocol, seeing that the two matters are somewhat inter-related.
– The information tabled in the Canadian Parliament consisted of a copy of a white paper issued in Great Britain on the 24th of last month. This Government would have liked to make the same information available at the same time in Australia, but the paper is of great length, and, being sent by post, takes longer to reach Australia than Canada. But we are having the fullest possible summary prepared from cabled information for submission to the House, and I hope to be able to make it available to honorable members during the next two or three days.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs received telegrams from sugar interests in Queensland pro testing against the restrictive clauses of the Power Alcohol Bounty Bill, and urging that the bounty should be paid on power alcohol manufactured from molasses and sugar-cane. Also, has he seen the following telegraphed report from Cairns : -
Consternation is expressed in the sugar industry at the restrictive clauses of the Federal Government’s Power Alcohol Bill. Numerous wires of protest were sent during the weekend by the Northern Power Alcohol Committee to the Prime Minister, also to the Minister of Customs and other members of the Federal Cabinet. More than half the sugar-growers consider that the terms of the proposed bounty on Australian-made power alcohol should apply to spirit made from molasses and cane, just as much as to the product of cassava.
– I have seen the paragraph quoted by my honorable friend, but I have received no communications from the parties he has named. During the debate on the Power Alcohol Bill I shall make all the information obtainable available to honorable members.
– Has the Minister for Health received any information concerning the suspected case of bubonic plague in suburbs of Brisbane? If so, is he satisfied that all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease?
– The Department of Health is in daily touch with the health authorities in Brisbane, and all necessary precautions are being taken.
– Is the Prime Minister yet informed of the position of the cruiser Brisbane in Chinese waters, and is he able or willing to give an assurance to the House that the vessel will not be engaged in belligerent operations in China or elsewhere without the consent of this House ?
– The Brisbane arrived at Hong Kong on the 30th June. It is attached to the China squadron of the Royal Navy, and I can give to the House no guarantee as to what use will be made of the vessel while there. It may be necessary for the cruiser squadron to be used for the protection of the lives and properties of Europeans.
– The following report of a speech by the Prime Minister was published in the Melbourne Sun of yesterday : -
The first thing was to obtain a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, otherwise Australia could not hope to compete in the world’s markets against countries where the standard of living was low or where black labour or woman and child labour was used.
Will the right honorable gentleman say whether that report is substantially correct, and if so, whether we are to infer from his remarks that Australia must lower its standard of living to that prevailing in black-labour countries? If he did not mean that, will he explain to the House what he did mean?
– I cannot be expected to repeat or explain all the speeches I make throughout the country. Even if I desired to do so the House might consider the repetition tedious. I assure the honorable member that I was not suggesting that the standard of living in Australia should be reduced to that obtaining in coloured countries or any other countries having economic systems that are lower than ours. I was advocating a policy which would enable the standard of living in Australia to be raised.
– Will the Prime Minister confer with his colleagues with a view to instructing Commonwealth departments to proceed with approved works at the earliest possible date in order to relieve the unemployed?
– A consultation of that nature took place some time ago. The Government gave the fullest consideration to the problem of unemployment during the winter months, and the departments are doing everything in their power to expedite new works, and prevent the aggravation of the unemployment difficulty by the discontinuance of works that are in hand.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Whether, for the guidance of masters of vessels visiting the growing port of Mackay, a large scale plan of the approaches to Pioneer River should be provided; and, if so, will he issue the necessary instructions regarding the matter ?
– The matter has been referred to the Naval Board. The Naval Board, however, has not the necessary information to enable a large scale plan to be produced, but is consulting the Admiralty on the subject.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The information desired by the honorable member is being obtained.
Conventions and Protocol
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Fourteen conventions, &c., namely: -
The above Conventions are the only instruments which have been drawn up under the auspices of the League of Nations and submitted to member states, for their ratification.
No. 3.- Acceded to 31st October, 1922
No. 4.- Ratified 28th June, 1922
No. 5. - Comes also within the jurisdiction of the states, and the Commonwealth Government is in communication with the State Governments with respect to giving effect to this Convention. So far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the provisions of this Convention are being complied with.
No. 6. - Is under consideration.
No. 7.- Ratified 13th March, 1925
No. 9. - The Commonwealth has decided to accede to this Convention, and the instrument of accession will shortly be communicated to the Secretariat of the League of Nations.
No. 12. - The Government has already announced that it is unable to ratify the Protocol.
No. 14.- Signed on 19th Februry, 1925.
Nos. 1, 2, 8, 10, 11, and 13 are of no direct concern to the Commonwealth, and it is not proposed to take any action in respect to them.
Geneva Protocol. The question of amending the Protocol is one which might most usefully be left to the next Assembly of the League of Nations, as the League will then be in the best position to know what the ideas of the different member states are in this respect.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What arrangement is he making to have telephone communication established between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs?
– For some time past the department has been endeavouring to develop a means of utilizing the single iron wire between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs for simultaneous telegraph and telephone purposes. The investigations have been concluded, and special apparatus has been secured to enable the necessary installations to be made. Telephones have been installed at Bloods Creek, Charlotte Waters, Horseshoe Bend, Alice Well and Deep Well, and Alice Springs. It is now possible to transmit telegrams to and from any one of these stations, and it is also practicable to secure telephone communication within the limits of about SO miles from” any point, which can, of course, be relayed verbally if required. The arrangements rnade permit of the facilities being available during the whole day.
Taxation of Companies
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– Dutiable American films do not enter Australia without paying Customs duty. It is probable that some American film producing companies which have established subsidiary companies registered in Australia, show no profit on their Australian operations if, as suggested, the subsidiary company is debited with an excessive price for the films imported. The Commissioner of Taxation is having careful inquiries made into the matter in order to ascertain how far, if at all, income tax legally payable is being evaded. On the completion of these inquiries it will be possible to see whether the matter can be rectified under the present law or whether an amendment will be necessary.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers - to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Mr. WATSON (for Mr. BAMFORD asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Whether he will furnish a return stating the number of naturalization papers issued, during the past two years?
Will bc state the nationality of those to whom such papers, if any, were issued, giving the number of males and females separately ?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What is the present position with regard to the proposed new .post office at Northcote?
– Tenders have been invited for the proposed work, and are returnable on the 20th July, 1925.
asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
Whether he will make provision in the near future for keeping the work of ballasting the east- west railway going, in order that there may not bo a break in the employment of those who are at present engaged in this necessary work?
– I am endeavouring to arrange that ballasting operations on the east- west line shall not be interrupted.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The profits made by the Commonwealth Bank in the general banking and savings bank sections are as under: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
– On the 11th June, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) asked the following questions : -
In addition to the replies then given, I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the additional information: -
Investigation by Tariff Board.
– On the 19th June, the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) asked the following questions : -
Whether the Tariff Board have investigated and reported to him in regard to the following allegations made to them: -
If so, will he state the result of such investigations?
To supplement the replies then given, I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following additional information : - 1 and 2. -
– On the 26th June, the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) asked: -
I am now able to inform the honorable member that advice has been received from the commission that the dogs and dingoes are not numerous, but that action is being taken for their destruction.
– On the 26th June, 1925, the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Cunningham) asked the following questions : -
I promised the information wouldbe obtained. The following are the replies : - 1 and 2. In accordance with the Public Service Regulations, telephonists in New South Wales are allowed three single days’ sick leave with pay in any twelve months without production of a medical certificate, but, beyond that, unless a certificate is produced, no pay is allowed.
– On the 11th June, the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) asked the following question : -
Will the Treasurer say whether or not it is a fact that instructions were issued by the Federal taxation officers in New South Wales that graziers might deduct from their statements of incomes 40 per cent. of all subscriptions to the fund for fighting the shearers’ strike? If such an instruction was issued, will the Treasurer place a copy of it on the table, and state the names of the officer or officers responsible for it? Does the Treasurer consider that such a concession was fair and equitable ?
I then replied that I would make inquiries into the matter. I have now received the following statement of the case from the Commissioner of Taxation : -
No such instruction was issued. The facts are as follow: - In August, 1022, the Commissioner of Taxation issued a general ruling on claims which had been made by many taxpayers throughout the Commonwealth for allowance as a deduction in their assessments of subscriptions paid by them to various traders’ associations. The ruling sets out that the principal factor governing the matter is whether the money, i.e., the subscription for which deduction is sought, has been expended for the production of the taxpayer’s income which is being assessed. If the question cannot be answered in the affirmative, there is no deduction. In this connexion there are associations which although not indispensable to members, perform a great amount of work which would otherwise have to be done by the individual members, and which was formerly done by them, and in respect of which the members individually would have been entitled to a deduction if such expenses had been paid by them in their individual capacity. Some associations assist members by undertaking hiring of labour for them. This would have been done individually by the members but for the association, and the cost to the individual would have been deductible by him in his assessment. When the work is done for. him by the association, usually at a much reduced cost, the individual becomes entitled to have some part of his subscription to the association attributed to the service rendered him by the association, and to have the amount so attributed treated as a deduction in his income tax assessment. It would be much less in amount than the sum he would have had to pay if he had done the work himself. If he had done the work himself, he would, therefore, have been entitled to a greater deduction in his assessment, and the income tax payable by him would have been less than as assessed at present. The effect, therefore, of the performance by graziers’ associations of work which would otherwise have to be done by their members individually, and the allowance to the latter of a deduction of the proportion of their subscriptions, &c., attributable to such work, is really to increase the total income tax payable. In the case of the Graziers Association of New South Wales, all that the Deputy Commissioner in New South Wales did was to ascertain the proportion of the total subscription made by a member of the association to the association funds, which applied to services rendered by the association which the member would otherwise have had to undertake individually. It was discovered in the particular year in which the claim was made by the taxpayers that 40 per cent. of the total payments by members to the association represented payment for work which the members individually would have been required to perform, and in respect of which they would have received a deduction of the full amount expended by them. It is probable that the refusal by the department to allow deduction of the whole of the payments by members to such associations will form the subject of an appeal to the court in the very near future:
– On the 25th June, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) asked the following questions : -
I am now in a position to furnish the following replies: -
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1925, No. 103.
Forestry Position in Australia - Summary of Report by Mr. C. E. Lane-Poole, Commonwealth Forestry Adviser.
Public Service Act-Regulations Amended -Statutory Rules 1925, Nos. 100, 101.
Motion (by Dr. Earle Page) agreed to-
That he have leave to bring in a bill for an act to amend the War-time Profits Tax Assessment Act 1924.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-21, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed works which were referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, and on which the committee has duly reported to this House the result of its investigations : -
Establishment of Royal Australian Air Force Station (No. 2) at Richmond (New South Wales).
Establishment of automatic telephone exchanges at Brisbane (Central), Toowong (Queensland), Lakemba (New South Wales), and West Adelaide.
When asking the House on the 1st October, of last year, to refer to the Public Works Committee the question of establishing an air force station at Richmond, New South Wales, I explained the proposal, which is also set out in the printed report of the committee. Briefly, it is part ofa scheme of air force stations in connexion with the aerial defence of the Commonwealth. The Richmond establishment will occupy the same position in regard to Sydney as the Point Cook establishment will occupy in regard to Melbourne.
When the House was asked in September last to refer to the Public Works Committee the question of establishing automatic telephone exchanges at Brisbane Central and Toowong, the proposals were fully explained. They are also set out in the printed reports of the Public Works Committee. They are part of a scheme to provide better telephone facilities in the various states of the Commonwealth, which is being gradually carried out.
The question of establishing an automatic exchange at West Adelaide was referred to the Public Works Committee during the recess by the GovernorGeneral in Council under the power conferred by the Act No. 19 of 1921, and is fully set out in the printed report of the Public Works Committee. It is proposed to erect a telephone exchange building on a site which has been acquired in Wainhousestreet, Torrensville, South Australia, and to install therein an automatic telephone switching system having an initial equipment of 2,200 subscribers’ lines, which shall be capable of extension to 5,000 lines.
– A very good site.
– The new exchange is designed to serve that portion of the City of Adelaide which is at present catered for by the Central, Prospect, Woodville, and Henley Beach Exchanges. The area covers a very thickly populated district, including the suburbs of Torrensville, Thebarton, and Hindmarsh.
– Country districts have difficulty in getting even one telephone.
– It is imperative that the new exchange be opened in order to afford relief to the central exchange, which has almost reached the limit of the existing plant and building, and to enable the Postal Department to render a more efficient service to existing and prospective subscribers than is possible under prevailing conditions. It has been explained in evidence that the proposal is justified from the financial aspect. The proposed building is a single-story brick structure of simple de sign,, and of a fire-resisting character. The estimated cost of the scheme is -
The proposal to establish an automatic telephone exchange at Lakemba, New South Wales, was also referred to the Public Works Committee during recess by the Governor-General in Council under the powers conferred by the Act No. 19 of 1921, and is fully set out in the printed report of the Public Works Committee. The Lakemba telephone exchange area is comprised of the outlying portions of the , present Ashfield, Burwood, Homebush, Lidcombe, and Kogarah exchanges, and most of the subscribers are outside the 2-mile limit of the exchanges mentioned. A new exchange in the area will provide a cheaper and more efficient service. It is, therefore, proposed to erect a new building on a site which has been acquired at the corner of Railway-crescent and Croydonstreet, Lakemba, and to install therein an automatic telephone switching system having an initial capacity of 900 subscribers’ lines and being capable of extension to an ultimate capacity of 3,500 lines, thereby affording sufficient accommodation in the area to meet the anticipated development over a period of twenty years. Apart from the fact that, a more efficient service will be provided, the new proposal will nltimately .be satisfactory from the financial stand-point. The projected building is a single brick structure of one story, designed on the latest fire-resisting principles. The estimated cost of the scheme is -
– On a previous occasion I asked a question respecting the provision of plant for automatic telephone exchanges.I am of the opinion that the Postal Department, and the Government generally, are at the mercy of a particular company, or a set of individuals, so far as automatic telephone equipment is concerned. The attitude of the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Jackson) suggests that this matter was not overlooked by the Public Works Committee, of which he is a member.
– We inquired into that aspect.
– It is an aspect of the question which should not have been overlooked. No honorable member should allow the country to be robbed if he can do aught to prevent it. I believe that there is a monopoly controlling this equipment, but whether it is protected by patent rights or not I do not know. I am desirous of ascertaining, first, whether we are in the unhappy position of being in the hands of a monopoly; and, secondly, whether in this case there is any likelihood of our being extricated from such an undesirable position. I should also like the Minister to inform us whether the proposed air force station to be established at Richmond, in New South Wales, will be on the same elaborate scale as that at Point Cook. I do not refer to the hangars, but I desire to know whether it is intended to establish at Richmond an extensive workshop and plant such as now exists at Laverton. I may be wrong, but I have always understood that the Laverton workshop was to carry out the whole of the repair work in connexion with the air force of the Commonwealth. I should say that the work done at Point Cook and that which is being done at Laverton is of a permanent character. I am hot critical in regard to this matter, but it is right that honorable members should be given full information when they are called upon to consent to works that must cost large sums of money. One of these telephone exchanges is estimated to cost £60,000, and I presume that the work to be carried out at Richmond, in New South Wales, will involve very heavy expenditure. I have every confidence in the integrity and capacity of the members of the Public Works Committee, but, as custodians of the public purse, it is the duty of honorable members generally to see that public money is expended in the best possible way. I trust that the PostmasterGeneral, the Minister for Works and Railways, or the Minister for Defence will give the information for which I have asked.
.- The compliment paid by the honorable member for Maribyrnong to the Public Works Committee is gratefully acknowledged. The committee, in one of its published reports, has made a lengthy statement regarding the question he has raised as to the possibility of a combination of manufacturers to keep up prices of goods required for automatic telephone exchanges. I recommend the honorable member to get a copy of the report, and peruse it. Every possible precaution has been taken by the Public Works Committee. There is no one more keen than I am to see that the manufacture of. machinery for automatic telephones and all other telephone material shall, if possible, be carried out in Australia.
– I should like to assure the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) that there is no danger of a combine or association for the supply of all the requirements for automatic telephone exchanges. As a matter of fact, competition is extremely keen between different manufacturers of material for automatic exchanges. The appliances of different makers interwork one with another, and it is not possible for a position to arise when it would be necessary to place orders with only one manufacturer.
– Do all the parts come from America?
– No.; quite a number come from Great Britain. As I have said, the competition in the business is very keen, and there is no danger of what the honorable member fears taking place.
– If everything is so nice and satisfactory, I ask the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Gibson) why it is that people in small country places cannot secure telephone communication.
– That would be all right if it were true.
– The honorable member would probably not know if it were true. What is the experience of honorable members generally ?
Is mine an isolated experience in this connexion? I sent some correspondence marked “Personal” to the PostmasterGeneral only yesterday on this subject, and it is my intention to bring that correspondence before the House. I say that the people in the country districts are not supplied with telephone communication as they ought to be. There appears to be no difficulty in getting telephone exchanges established in the cities at the cost of many thousands of pounds, but the needs of country districts are not attended to, though they may want only a telephone line hung on a tree. I can prove my statements from the correspondence which is now in the hands of the Postmaster-General.
– A member of the Country, party is administering the department concerned.
– I do notblame the Minister. He is not the person responsible.
– The country telephone service has been doubled in the last two years.
– That is because the Minister has had some money to spend.
– I admit that.
– Previous postmasters-general were not given the money required for necessary telephone extension It appears to be necessary for an honorable member to make a frantic appeal to the department to secure telephone connexion for a settler situated a mile and a half off the main line. I find that the Eden-Monaro settlers in country places cannot get telephone communication. We talk about decentralization, but when a proposal is made to spend £50,000 on a city exchange, there is no objection, to it: I say, without fear of contradiction, that we cannot get telephone communication in country places. When the Government can spend £60,000 or £70,000 on an automatic exchange at a place in South Australia, I should certainly be able to. get telephone communication for three or four country settlers who have offered to guarantee the interest on the cost involved in supplying it.
– I had a deputation from the honorable gentleman’s constituency the other day in regard to telephones’, and I gave them all they asked for.
– That statement can scarcely be correct, because they tell me that they have not got what they want. Throughout the Commonwealth there is a great lack of telephone facilities in the country districts. It i3 galling to most country members, in the circumstances, to hear a. member of the Public Works Committee assert that every recommendation of the committee is quite right. That committee has turned down a proposal for the construction of a railway from Yass to Canberra.
– That matter cannot be discussed on the motion now before the House.
– The time is ripe for honorable members’ representing country districts to insist that their districts shall be given a fair deal. I emphasize the fact that in my constituency, and in many other country constituencies, people who are prepared to pay far it are denied telephone communication. Because there is not a. vast number of people behind a proposal, a guarantee of its cost is asked for. An application is put in for my district, and the applicants are informed that the work will cost perhaps £200, and they are asked whether they will guarantee the interest on the cost for seven years; but even in cases where they are prepared to give the guarantee they get no satisfaction. I propose to set the facts of the case to which I refer before the House when I get the papers back from the Minister.
– Then I had better keep them for a while.
– This may be a laughing matter in the opinion of the Postmaster-General, but it is not a laughing matter for people settled in country places that may be subject bo floods. I shall reserve further remarks on this subject until I get my papers back from the Postmaster-General. I repeat now that the way in which country people- have been treated in this connexion is a scandal.
.- The statements made by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Sir Austin Chapman) are not fair to the Minister, to the department he controls, or to honorable members. A large sum of money to provide the services he refers -to has been expended. I feel sure that honorable members generally are not in agreement with him, but are of opinion that at no time in the history of the federal control of the Post Office have the needs of the country been so well looked after as under the present régime. I make bold to say that no member of this House has received more consideration than the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. We have heard of the ungrateful dog that bit the hand that fed him, but fortunately it has come to few of us to meet such an animal. I regret very much that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, who, until recently, was a member of the Cabinet to which the Postmaster-General belongs, has seen fit to utter statements upon which he alone places any credence.
– I protest against the expenditure of money without full details of the work being- submitted to Parliament. Honorable members are asked to pledge themselves to a scheme for an air force centre at Richmond, but we have been told nothing about the cost. If the present expenditure is merely to provide the nucleus of a scheme, honorable members have a right to know what the Government has in view.
– All the information has been given to the House.
– I have not seen it. I should like the Minister to state how much money will be spent under the proposal.
– I can assure the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) that no unnecessary works are being undertaken at the Richmond or Point Cook stations. He will no doubt admit that it is necessary to have workshops in connexion with the Air Force. There are extensive workshops at Point Cook, and when I inspected them recently I saw what Australian workmen were doing in the building of aeroplanes. I presume that similar work will be undertaken at Richmond. In reply to the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. E. Riley) I direct his attention to my remarks on page 4955 of Hansard, of the 1st October, 1924, in the course of which I stated that -
The total estimated cost of the scheme, including accessory engineering services, but excluding the cost of acquisition of the property, is £177,400.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 25th June (vide page 462) on motion by Mr. Bbuce -
That this bill be now read a second time.
.- The bill may be divided into two parts, one of which restricts the admission of immigrants, and the other provides for the deportation of persons resident in Australia. In his second-reading speech the Prime Minister devoted much time to explaining what the United States of America had done to restrict immigration. He pointed out that the American legislature had realized the necessity for restricting the number of immigrants into that country, providing, in the first case, for a quota of not more than 3 per cent. of the number of nationals of each country domiciled in the United States of America at the time of the 1910 census, and, subsequently, as it was found that too many natives of southern European countries were coming in, the law was amended by substituting the figures shown in the 1890 census, and reducing the percentage to 2. It was hoped that in this way more persons of the Nordic races would be admitted. That action of the United States of America, said the Prime Minister, had caused the people of certain European countries to look elsewhere than America as a place to which to emigrate, and many of them were now looking to Australia. That statement is quite true. Mr McWhae, formerly Agent-General for Victoria, has stated that ships were being fitted to carry Italian emigrants to Australia for £8 per head, the passengers to provide their own food, and to sleep on deck. I wish to make it quite clear that I have nothing to say against the immigration into Australia of persons of white race if they can be absorbed, and I shall discuss the bill from the point of view of an Australian, with reference particularly to the necessity of providing for the absorption of those who come here, whether from Great Britain or from other countries. I have always held, and still hold, that it is necessary, before embarking upon schemes intended to induce peopleto come here in large numbers, to provide for absorbing, on arrival, those whom it is desired to invite. That is not done to- day. Thousands of Australians are unemployed to-day. Efforts are being made by the Government of Victoria to provide work for the unemployed of this state; and the newly-constituted Government of New South Wales has decided to spend £140,000 to find work for the unemployed of its state. Notwithstanding these and other efforts, large numbers of men cannot obtain work. In these circumstances it is alarming to know that many more people, for whose absorption in our community no provision has been made, are arriving from overseas. I see very little need for the bill merely to restrict European immigration, because the Government can do, and has done under its general powers, what it now seeks power to do. The Prime Minister, in his second-reading speech, was very careful to omit any statement of what the Government had done, but on the public platform he has explained that it has limited the number of immigrants permitted to come to Australia from different countries. That is evidence . that the necessary power already rests in the executive. It is generally admitted that immigration is a matter of domestic concern, and that each country has a right to deal, with the subject as it thinks best. I take no exception to immigration legislation as such, but I repeat that this bill, so far as it provides for the restriction of immigration, is unnecessary. The Prime Minister said-
We might then have to take action against some individual people, which would be, internationally, most undesirable. To-day, however, there is no reason why we should not, without giving offence to any country in the world, put on our statute-book a measure which will give us the power, should the necessity arise, to stop any flow of migration into Australia of a character that is not desirable.
The suggestion is that the bill must be passed to provide the power should the necessity for its use arise. I ask honorable members whether the necessity has not already arisen ? Is it not necessary to prevent Europeans from coming to Australia ? le not the industrial position in Australia at the present moment unsatisfactory, and are not thousands of Europeans coming here month after month, notwithstanding what the Prime Minister has said to the contrary ? For example, the public was informed, only yesterday that 317 Italians had just arrived. The Prime Minister has said that certain regulations have proved satisfactory, inasmuch as the number of immigrants now coming here is not interfering with the employment .of the Australian worker. lie told us that the adoption, by Australia, of a quota system similar to that of the United Stales of America would entail considerable expenditure, because, to give effect to it, the Government would be compelled to appoint consuls in the different countries. But the right honorable gentleman has, in fact, already done that although ‘ he did not inform honorable members of the fact. Regulations were framed to restrict the immigration of Maltese to twenty per month for each State, or 1,440 per year for the whole of Australia. When the Prime Minister attended the Imperial Conference, over two years ago, he entered into an arrangement, without informing this Parliament, to increase the number of Maltese immigrants from 600 to 1,200 per year, -and honorable members heard nothing of it until I brought the question before the House. Now we find that the number is not limited *o- 1,200 per year, but to about 1,450. We have been told nothing further about that, but the fact remains that provision has been made for a monthly quota of’ Maltese. The Government has also fixed by regulation a monthly quota of 100 immigrants from each of the following countries: - Jugo-Slavia, Greece, and Albania. What the Prime Minister said could not be achieved without involving the country in considerable expense, has been achieved in respect of those countries, and can be achieved in respect of others. Why the Prime Minister should declare that it would .be necessary to appoint officials in other countries if quotas for them were fixed I cannot understand. Throughout almost the whole world the passport system is in operation, and no person can be admitted to a country unless he produces from the Government of the country of which he is a citizen a passport declaring, amongst other things, that he is a person of good character. Therefore, if the Commonwealth Government advises any country that not more than 50, or 60, or 100 of its citizens can be accepted in a stated time, the responsibility will be placed upon the Government of that country not. to issue passports in excess of the quota. That system is sanctioned by international law and practice. What is the use of the Prime Minister saying that it is impossible to regulate the flow of immigration from foreign countries, and that if it were possible the system would be too expensive, when, in fact, immigration is being regulated to-day? Indeed, Ministers when answering on the public platform the criticism of honorable members on this side have taken credit to themselves for that very achievement. The Government should be candid with the people when proposing legislation of this character. The Prime Minister stated -
We have further taken steps to ensure that no migrants shall come here who have not in their possession when they arrive at least £40, and have not also taken steps to provide that some one here shall be responsible for them when they come. The Italian Government met us very fairly in this matter, and does not issue passports in Italy now only when a migrant is possessed of £40, but must also be satisfied that there is some one here who will bc responsible for his finding employment and being able to maintain himself after he has arrived.
I have ascertained from Government officials that that statement is not quite correct. Any European possessing £40, and certified to be in good health, can gain entrance to the Commonwealth. It is not necessary that in addition somebody shall guarantee employment for him when he arrives. That guarantee .applies only in respect of persons nominated by friends or relatives already resident in the Commonwealth. In this case an immigrant need not have £40. There is practically no restriction upon immigration from Italy. The Queensland royal commissioner who inquired into the immigration of aliens arrived at certain conclusions,’ which I wish to place on record in Ilansard. Amongst other things he said -
In the absence of regulation or some form of selection, it is therefore reasonable to assume that the number .of aliens arriving in Australia will rapidly increase, and that the majority of these new arrivals will be those who are regarded by the United States of America Government as not easily assimilated, and therefore undesirable as citizens.
In other words people whom . the United States of America regards as undesirable and unacceptable, are acceptable in Australia, and actually are being admitted to the Commonwealth -
The Commonwealth Publicity Department advises that the number of Italian and Greek migrants to Australia during the 30 years prior to 1001 averaged 150 per annum, and that at the 30th November last this rate had increased to 6.854 per annum. There has since been a still greater annual increase. The figures show that, during the three and a half years ended March, 1925, the migration to Australia of Italians and Greeks has been greater than at any period during the last 40 years.
Yet the Prime Minister assured us that the present arrangements in regard to immigration are satisfactory - -
It has been pointed out that during the three and a half years ended September, 1924, the excess of arrivals over departures of foreign persons was 16,148 - at the rate of 4.614 per annum. The above table shows that they are now arriving at the rate of over 11,000 per annum. . . . The Commonwealth Government advises that there is an understanding with the Italian Government that passports to Australia shall not be granted to any Italian immigrant unless he is nominated by a resident of Australia who is prepared to look after him on arrival here, or unless he will have on arrival at -least £40 capital. . . . However, the evidence shows that the undertaking called an “Atto di Chiamata,” or “Act of Call,” is quite useless in its present form. The declaration may be made, and has been made, by persons in Australia who are themselves not in employment and have little prospects of obtaining work. It is forwarded to the nominee in Italy, who must present it to the Italian authorities in order to obtain his passport. The document then remains in Italy.
That is an astounding revelation. Unemployed Italians in Australia can nominate compatriots in Italy and guarantee employment for them. The nomination is sent to Italy, and the persons nominated arrive in due course. How can employment for another be guaranteed by a man who cannot find work for himself? This’ very loose system menaces the future welfare of the people of Australia.
– Are not Labour Ministers in Queensland in favour of the immigration of Italians?
– I cannot speak for Labour Ministers in Queensland other than to declare that they, like myself, are prepared to admit only so many immigrants as the country can absorb. When I was in that state recently, the Minister for Lands was at his wits’ ends to find employment for Italians and other Europeans, and he was making land available to settle 200 persons if they could find sufficient capital to go upon it. This is the form that Ihe nominator has to sign: -
I wish … to come as soon as possible to join me in Australia, and I declare that I am perfectly able to supply for his needs, &c.
That is not a guarantee. It is a mere declaration, and its worthlessness is re- vealed by the Commissioner’s’ finding that persons who are unemployed have actually nominated and guaranteed employment for others. These facts reveal the dangers into which the Commonwealth is drifting. The Commissioner further states -
On this question a successful Italian farmer nt Ingham in his evidence stated -
I think there is something wrong with the present system. Young men come here, anil after they have been here two or three months, although they do not understand the conditions, they send home for friends, although they themselves have no work to do. That should be stopped, and only men who understand exactly the conditions, and can foresee whether there will be employment or not for the new arrivals, and who are prepared to foot the bill if there is no employment, should be allowed to nominate others.
How can the Prime Minister regard the present state of affairs as satisfactory when such practices are resorted to? If immigration upon the present basis is satisfactory to the Commonwealth Government it certainly will not be satisfactory to the people whose welfare is at stake. The Commissioner continued -
During the past six months foreigners have been arriving in the sugar districts in North Queensland in such numbers that it is obvious that they cannot all be employed in the sugar industry, in which there is already an overproduction, and a consequent limitation of the area to be cultivated and a limitation of necessary labour. While possibly sufficient labour has been waiting for months in the districts in the hope of obtaining work in the crushing season, the arrival of hundreds of Southern Europeans, unable to speak the English language, with very little money and looking tor employment, is creating an anti-foreign feeling which may lead to serious trouble in the near future.
That is a warning from a responsible man.
– Already riots have occurred.
– If that is so, this Parliament should heed that report and guard against the eventualities which the Commissioner regards as possible.
If aliens continue to flock into the sugar districts in search of employment, the practice of permitting them’ to work for food is likely to increase; the standard of living will be reduced, and the effect, socially and economically, will be unfavorable to the workers already there, be they British or foreign. It is obvious that the greater the numbers arriving, the more aggravated will be the evil.
That is a further warning. The Commissioner makes a comparison between the British workers and the aliens -
It is generally admitted that the British workers are the most efficient, and that to obtain employment a foreigner will undertake to do the same amount of work in a day that a British worker can do, and that this is equivalent to an agreement to work longer hours, which he subsequently does without complaint.
If that statement is correct there is in operation a system whereby the hours of labour on the cane-fields are being lengthened in order to enable men who are not as efficient as Britishers to do the same amount of work in a day. No Parliament can tolerate that state of affairs. If ever there was an attempt to break down the standard of living and the conditions of Australian workmen, it is the practice exposed by that report. The Commissioner said of the Maltese -
I inspected a Maltese lodging house in Innisfail and found about twenty (20) men living in one room. Every room was crowded with bunks with just enough space between to enable the occupants to move about. The practice is to charge from ls. to 2s. per night for a bed and the men obtain their food elsewhere. A number of places are occupied in a similar way by Greeks.
That is a nice state of affairs in a country which boasts of the healthy conditions under which its people are employed. Foreigners are allowed to live in circumstances which are detrimental to the health not only of themselves, but also of other people in the district. Yet the Government says that it is satisfied with these conditions, and that they must continue. The commissioner says, further -
The Greek residents of North Queensland 01*6 generally of an undesirable type, and do not make good settlers. They live in the towns, and carry on business in cafes, fish shops, boardinghouses, and other less reputable ways. They arc not agriculturists, and add nothing to the wealth or security of the country. They engage in no useful work that could not be better performed without their assistance. In company with an officer of the police I visited a number of their boardinghouses and clubs, which were generally in a filthy condition. On the average, their standard of living is lower than that of other foreigners. Socially and economically, this type of immigrant’ is a menace to the community in which he settles, and it would be for the beneft of the state if his entrance were altogether prohibited.
In spite of this report, the Govern men) is prepared to allow these immigrants to come in here at the rate of 100 a month. The commissioner also tells us -
The Commonwealth Government advises that there is an understanding with the Italian Government that passports for Australia shall not be granted to any Italian immigrant unless the is nominated by a resident of Australia who is prepared to look after him on arrival here, or unlesshe has at least £40 capital. Experience has shown that the first condition is mullified by misuse of the present form of nomination, and that the monetary requirement is of little value. The declaration to be responsible for the nominee should be made before some official, whose duty it would be to satisfy himself that the declarant is in a position to carry out his undertaking. The original declaration should be filed in theIm- migration Office, and a certified copy handed to the applicant. The sums of £10 and £40 required as landing money for the admission of immigrants may, in few cases, add to the probability of the alien being able to support himself for a time. However, it is generally borrowed for production to the authorities, and returned by the immigrant immediately upon bis arrival in the Commonwealth.
In other words, the necessary amount of £40 is given to these immigrants by wealthy persons of the same nationality, perhaps living in this country, or by persons desirous of breaking down the working conditions in Queensland. When the immigrants arrive here, the money is returned. The commissioner also says -
Consideration should be given immediately to the racial stock of the immigrant. The number of many of those now arriving should be reduced, and in other cases altogether prohibited. There should be ft selection of the type of immigrant that will assist, rather than hinder, the building up of superior social and economic conditions in this state. … At the present time our foreign immigration appears to be largely induced and controlled by selfish and unscrupulous interests entirely outside Australia, and the question for consideration is whether it shall continue to be controlled by such interests or by a responsible Government in Australia.
The report is sufficient in itself to damn the attitude of this Government towards the immigration of foreigners. It is a most scathing report.
– Is there nothing in it favorable to the Italian immigrant ?
– I have nothing to say against any white man coming here, provided he can be absorbed into this community. I believe that the northern Italian makes a good settler. Is that to what the honorable member is alluding ?
– I thought that the honorable member might. quote the evidence given by the witness representing the Australian Workers Union..
– That evidence will be quoted by other speakers. The honorable member will be perfectly justified in giving this House his views on the bill. I have not quoted the whole of the report because of its great length, but the extracts that I have read show that the practice of permitting people to come here should be abolished in most cases and restricted in others, unless the immigrants can be absorbed. I take no exception to white people from Europe coming here if we can absorb them, but I take exception even to people of our own race coming here if we cannot find employment for them. No country is justified in bringing people to its shores unless they can be employed in it. Immigrants now swell the ranks of our unemployed, and thousands of pounds of our money have to be expended to supply them with the necessaries of life. Our first duty is to formulate some workable plan for settling immigrants. This Government has’ no such definite plan, and is putting the states in a wrong position. It recently entered into an immigration agreement with Great Britain before obtaining the consent of the states to it, and that consent has not yet been obtained. One might expect that the State Governments, that are the authorities which have to find employment for the immigrants coming to Australia, would be consulted in this matter. It is the State Governments that have to find food for the thousands of immigrants who are unemployed.
– The immigrants are entering Queensland and Western Australia with the consent of the Labour governments of those states.
– Whether that is so or not, I ask the Treasurer now to declare in this House whether the six State Governments, or the majority of them, have agreed to the immigration proposals of the Commonwealth Government.
– Victoria has agreed to it, and all the other states are definitely considering the agreement.
– The Treasurer himself admits that the Commonwealth Government made this agreement before consulting the states.
– It is atriangular agreement between Great Britain, the Commonwealth, and the states.
– The agreement has been signed by the Commonwealth before the states have given to it their approval.
The proper course was, first, to consult the states, which are charged with the responsibility of finding employment for those who enter their territory.
– The states are being consulted, and also given great concessions in interest.
– It is useless to try to camouflage the position in that way. The states have not yet agreed to the proposal. We cannot absorb the people the present Commonwealth Government is bringing here. The honorable member knows full well that the settlement of the people that are brought here is an obligation upon the State Governments.
– - The Commonwealth is making an arrangement with the states.
– The Government is bringing thousands of immigrants here for whom there is no employment. They are a charge on the states, and add to the number of unemployed in Australia. I am not against increasing the population of this country by proper methods, but we should first put our own house in order, so as to be able to absorb immigrants when they come here.
The second part of the bill contains one of the most important proposals that has ever been brought before this Parliament. It applies to trade unionists, and I say, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that it aims a direct blow at the trade union movement in this country.
– The blow that is being struck at the trade union movement is being struck by foreign agitators.
– I shall deal with that statement later. May I ask the honorable member how long has a man to reside in this country to be considered an Australian citizen?
– Some of them never become such.
– The honorable member is quite frank; he is the only member on that side who is so. Not many of them will dare to say as much when they go before the people.
– I shall.
– Order ! It is evident that this debate may provoke much feeling, and I intend to insist upon the strict observance of the rules of Parliament.
– Clause 7 of the bill provides that a proclamation may be issued in the case of an industrial dispute, and if the Minister is satisfied that any person not born in Australia has been concerned in Australia in acts directed towards hindering or obstructing to the prejudice of the public, the transport of goods or the conveyance of passengers in relation to trade or commerce with other countries, or among the states, for the provision of services by any department or public authority of the Commonwealth, that person may be summoned before a board. The board is to report to the Minister, and there is to be no appeal from its finding. Any one can be deported as the result of a recommendation by the board. This is a direct blow at trade unionism. Never before has legislation of this character been attempted either by a state or federal government. It goes much further than any honorable member anticipated would be proposed. If such legislation had been the law, and had been put into operation inyears past., what might have been the position of Sir Joseph Cook, the High Commissioner of Australia, a man who has done much for this country ? He holds the same political views as honorable members opposite. But he might at one time have been deported for his connexion with trade unionism. Where would the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) have been if legislation of this kind had been in force when he was connected with industrial unions ? He might have been sent out of this country.BforeIwas elected to this House I was associated, as an industrial leader, with the late James Curley, who came to Australia from England. No man did more than he to preserve peace among industrial organizations. Then there was the late John McFadgen, another stalwart of the Labour movement, Tom Dick, Dan. Reece, and a number of others whom I could mention. These men all rendered good service to this country, and did their utmost to prevent industrial stoppages. But they were not Australianborn, and, if this legislation had been in force, they could have been deported simply because they were connected with a trade union at the time of some industrial dispute. We are told to-day that there should not be such disputes, that we are bound absolutely by the Arbitration Court and its awards. I ask honorable members to refresh their memories. There is no public man, either state or federal, who has claimed that industrial troubles can be prevented entirely by arbitration. It was never made obligatory for a union to register under the arbitration law. Unions are certainly bound to observe awards of the Arbitration Courts under pains and penalties for disobedience. I have nothing to say against the punishment of those who; break the laws of the country; we must have a well-ordered society. But it is another thing to send men out of this country because of something that has arisen in connexion with trade unions with which they are identified.
– It is not suggested that they should be deported.
– I ask the honorable member to read the bill. The proposed new section 8aa, if agreed to, will relate to any person not born iri Australia who has been concerned in Australia in acts directed towards hindering or obstructing, to the prejudice of the public, the transport of goods, or the conveyance of passengers in relation to trade or commerce with other countries or among the states, or the provision of services by any department or public authority of the Commonwealth. If trouble arises in the coal-mining industry, the men at the head of the coal miners’ unions are immediately seized upon as being responsible. It is much the same as in matters affecting the government of the country. The Prime Minister, as head of the Government, is held responsible for the actions of the Ministry.
– The honorable member has not read the whole statement.
– It is evident that honorable members opposite do not like the bill. The only government in Australia which ever before attempted to introduce coercive legislation - and that legislation did not go as far as this bill goes - was the Wade Government of New South Wales, and when it went before the people it was relegated to political obscurity. That is what will happen to every government that endeavours to interfere with the freedom of the people. The board to be appointed under the bill is to consist of a judge, or one who has had experience as a judge - who is to be its chairman - and two other persons. Do honorable members think it fair that, when an industrial trouble occurs, any person should be called upon to appear before a board which may recommend his deportation from the country? We have already sufficient powers under existing legislation to deal with any person who breaks the law. It is all very well for our newspapers to say what should be done with certain people; when the public generally becomes acquainted with the facts they will see the real intention behind this bill. The people of Australia believe, above everything else, in giving to its citizens the fullest rights of citizenship. Those who break the laws of the country must be punished, hut riot deported without trial. I was present at the conferences which took place before the original bill was introduced into the New South Wales Parliament, and it was freely, recognized by all who attended, including Mr. Wise himself, that arbitration would only minimize industrial disputes. It is impossible to absolutely prevent such disputes. It is interesting to note that in the history of arbitration in Australia there has never yet been a lockout, that every stoppage of work is termed a strike. ‘ During the last ten or fifteen years stoppages of work have been numerous, but every one of them has been referred to as a strike. That is because it is most difficult to determine what constitutes a lockout. The responsibilities of an employer are very easily evaded. ‘ Let me read the definition of “lockout.” “Lockout” includes tlie closing of a place or part of a place of employment, or the total or partial suspension of work by an employer, with a view to compel his employees, or to aid another employer in compelling his employees, to accept any term or condition of employment.
That definition makes it almost impossible to prove that an employer has caused a lockout. All that an employer has to do to avoid such a charge is to make certain changes in the conditions governing employment in his establishment. If the workers refuse to accept the altered conditions, the employer can say that he has not closed the doors of his workshop against them, but that they are at liberty to enter, and continue in his employment. Consequently, when the employees refuse to work under the altered conditions a “ strike “ occurs. I could mention numbers of stoppages in connexion with the mining industry which, in reality, were lock-outs, but which could not be proved to be such. If trouble occurred in the coal-mining industry, and other industries were affected thereby, those at the head of the miners’ unions would, under this bill, be dealt with. They might be men who arrived in Australia at the age of one year, and had been residents of this country for 40 or 50 year’s, but not being Australianborn, they would be under the bill regarded as aliens. Many of us who are Australian-born have sprung from British stock, but our parents, though long resident in this country, if not born in Australia are aliens under this bill, and union leaders who were not born in Australia may be deported. Is this House to pass legislation of this nature ?
– It is disloyalty to the Empire.
– This legislation is purely of a class nature, as it is intended to deal with industrialists only. It contains no provision for dealing with the exploiter. There is no talk of penalizing him by compelling him to appear before a board which may deport him. The man who charges unduly high rates of interest, or exploits the people by charging excessive prices for the necessities of life, does not come within the provisions of the bill. He is in a privileged class. It did not enter the minds of the members of the Ministry to legislate for individuals like that. Their whole thought was concentrated on the problem how to deal with the working man.
– Not the workers.
– The honorable member cannot get away from the fact that this legislation has been introduced to enable industrialists to be deported. Fortunately for me, I was born in Australia, otherwise I should be in danger of deportation because of my association with trade unions. But what about those who were not born in Australia, but who are as good men as I am ?
– Not one of them could be as good as the honorable member.
– Many of these men who were not born in Australia are as good as I am, or even as the honorable member who has interjected. I know many of them as men who, throughout their lives, have endeavoured to do their best in the interests of Australia and their fellow men. It is a mistake to introduce legislation which has as its object the suppression of trade unionism, as we already have sufficient power to deal with those who break the law. In 1920 Parliament passed a bill, which was introduced by Mr. Poynton, providing that criminals, inmates of insane asylums, and anarchists could be deported, but only if their residence in Australia had been less than three years. At that time anxiety existed because it was supposed that communists were arriving in this country with the object of destroying settled government. But, even then, the Government of the day decided on a three-years’ limit. This bill contains no such limitation. Why should there be this difference between the treatment meted out to anarchists, whose desire is the overthrow of responsible government, and the trade union leader who has resided in the country for, perhaps, 30 years and assisted in its development ?
– It makes me shiver.
– It would make any man shiver who had a grain of common sense. There is no escaping from the position, which I am setting out as clearly as I can for the information of the public The Government should be satisfied with its present power to deal with people whose residence in Australia is less than three years.
– That period is altogether too short.
– Later the honorable member will realize his mistake. I repeat that the real reason for the introduction of this legislation is to enable the Government to deal as it desires with trade unionists. Before allowing class legislation of this nature to become law, honorable members should study the bill.
– Does the honorable member suggest that all the communists are included in the ranks of the industrial unions?
– No, I do not. I desire now to refer to the latter portion of proposed new section 8aa, which reads -
Where any person who was not born in Australia has, at any time, been convicted in Australia of an offence against the laws of the Commonwealth relating to trade and commerce or conciliation and arbitration for the prevention or settlement of industrial disputes, and the Minister is satisfied that any of the acts constituting the offence were directed towards hindering or obstructing, to the prejudice of the public, the production or transport of goods. or the conveyance of passengers or the provision of necessary services, and that the presence of that person in Australia will be injurious to the peace, order or good government of the Commonwealth, the Minister may moke an order for his deportation.
There is an additional power. What does it mean ? It means that any man who has at any time been convicted of an offence, and is an officer of an industrial union at the time of any industrial trouble, may be sent out of the country without first having to appear before the board. His conviction may have taken place 25 years ago, since which time he may have resided as a law-abiding citizen in Australia, and reared a family. Yet, because of his past conviction, and his present connexion with an industrial union, he may be deported without trial. That is the power that the Government is asking this House to place in its hands. No honorable member who listens to my remarks can say later that he was not warned. The people of Australia will not stand for legislation of this kind. What does the Government intend to do with these people who are to bo deported? To-day a passport must be issued to any person before he can leave this country for another. The passport system is in force in almost every country in the world ;. during my recent travels I saw much in connexion with it which disgusted me.
– They all come in on passports.
– Does the Government intend to give passports to men who are not fit to be citizens of this country ?
– We shall send them back to their own country.
– Even if they have resided here for 40 years? Where does their Australian citizenship come in ? Although a person may have been born on the voyage to Australia, or was, say, twelve months old on arrival, and has lived here for 40 years, the Government says he does not belong to Australia, and is not an Australian. What becomes of the right honorable gentleman’s frequent remarks about our being of British stock ? He says that these men shall- be sent back to the country whence they came. Will he give them a certificate of character, so that they may be permitted to land in that country? To no - country in the world to-day can. a man gain admittance without a passport. I ask the right honorable gentleman if the Government contemplates giving to criminals, and men who have broken the law to the extent that their deportation is decided on, a passport enabling them to enter another country.
– Undesirables have been deported from Great Britain in hundreds.
– That remark applies to all countries. I do not want to be misunderstood. I do not say that we should not have the power to deport, but I say that to-day a person cannot be deported unless he is provided with a passport. To obtain a passport, he must possess a certificate of good character. In those circumstances, a passport cannot be given to a person who is not fit to live in the Commonwealth, and, therefore, he cannot gain admittance to another country. Does the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) say that the British Government would allow a man to land in Great Britain if not provided with a passport ? If a man could not be admitted to Great Britain, what chance would he have of gaining admission to other countries? We shall have the case of Paul Freeman over again. Honorable members will remember that he was kept on a steamer, travelling from port to port, as no country would allow him to land. The captain of the vessel ‘ could not get rid of him, as there was no country on which he was allowed to set foot. In that respect Freeman was in the position of the dove which Noah liberated from the ark, and which found no rest for the sole of her foot. The early history of Australia provides instances of men who were found guilty of various offences. Take the case of Peter Lalor in Victoria. There was a time when he was execrated, but what do we see to-day? Monuments have been erected to his memory because of the good work he did for the state and this country.
– He was regarded as a rebel.
– At one time he was considered to be one, and he would have been deported had a measure like this bill been the law at the time. This is a. responsible Parliament, whose duty it is to look after the interests of the people of the Commonwealth; and yet we are being asked to pass this panic legislation. The Government has been driven to the adoption of this course by press criticism, and the influence of the employing interests, and of people in high and privileged places who can exploit the rest of the community without coming within the law. The Government in a moment of weakness has yielded to the pressure brought to bear upon it by these people. It has never done anything of its own initiation since it has held office. Everything it has done it has been forced to do by people outside who have criticized and driven it. It has foolishly introduced this legislation in the hope that it may appear to the people generally that it is necessary. This is the most drastic legislation ever introduced since we have had responsible government, and it will certainly not. meet with the approval of the people when they are given an opportunity to express their views upon it. If this measure is passed, the Government must take responsibility for its action. We, on this side, are not. afraid to meet the position. As a party we believe in the passing of laws to control the affairs of the Commonwealth, to which the people should be subject. But we do not believe in deporting citizens of this country merely because they are trade unionists.
– Nor does anybody else.
– The action of honorable members opposite proves otherwise. Nothing else can be read into the provisions of the bill. Why has it been introduced? If that is not the purpose, why have such provisions been put into the measure, which goes beyond what was provided for in 1920 to deal with anarchists who might come here? Under this bill men who are good citizens and good unionists could be sent out of the country at any time. No appeal is provided for. I donot say that the members of the proposed board will be biased, but I know that in times of panic most men are unconsciously biased, and the members of the board,because of unconscious bias, may give a decision against a particular individual. Assuming such a decision to be given, the Government will put the machinery of this measure into operation, and the individual whose deportation is recommended will be put on board some vessel, the owners of which will have some trouble in getting rid of him. They will probably only be able to land him on some cannibal island where there is no civilized form of government. That is the kind of treatment which it is proposed to mete out to citizens of this country! Many of our industrial leaders have reared families, and have led useful lives in this country.
– They will be quite safe.
– The honorablemember will not be the administrator of this bill. If he were, they might be quite safe; but I venture to say that this Government has decided to deport people if they do not comply with the Arbitration Court’s decisions. But there are other ways of punishing people for that. It was never intended by our arbitration legislation to do ‘away entirely with strikes and lockouts. Every one knows that all we can expect to do is to lessen their number and to minimize their effects. There has not been a lockout, so called, since the institution of arbitration ! It is always contended that it is the working man who is at fault, and now the Government proposes to pass legislation to inflict a further burden upon the working men by taking power to deport their leaders in the event of any industrial trouble being forced upon them.
– What does the honorable gentleman suggest should be done to enable the industries of the country to be carried on?
– I suggest that we should go on as we are. The Government has sufficient power to punish any one who offends against the law.
– What about Walsh?
– I know nothing about Walsh. I tell honorable members opposite that they are not warranted in introducing drastic legislation of this kind. It will be general in its application, and will not apply merely to certain individuals. Honorable members opposite cannot shelter themselves behind the interjection that has just been made. They will have to stand up to the legislation that they place on the statute-book, because when the act becomes law it will have to be administered. If this legislation is passed, it must be put into operation by those charged with the administration of the affairs of the country, irrespective of the individual to whom it may apply. It may even be applied to officials of the Miners Federation, who are a credit to Australia. The bill is directed entirely against the working classes of this community, and is being passed in the interests of the privileged class. Honorable members opposite know that, and they cannot shirk their responsibilities. The position is so clear that any one who reads the bill can come to no other conclusion than that it is directed against the industrial organizations of this country in general, and not against any one in particular. As my time has almost expired, I move -
That after the word “ now “ the following words be inserted: - “withdrawn and redrafted to provide more adequate provisions regarding alien immigration, and for the reconsideration of the drastic proposals to deport Australian citizens.”
– I am somewhat surprised at the attitude of honorable members opposite in opposing a measure of this kind. They have been continually voicing their opposition to certain people coming into this country. Now they are opposed to immigrants of any kind whatever being allowed to come to this country. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) said that he is opposed to immigrants coming into this country unless they can be absorbed in our community.
– Hear, hear!
– The honorable gentleman also said that no provision is made to absorb immigrants, and that it is the duty of the states to provide for their absorption. Governments representative of the party opposite are in power in all but one of the states of the Commonwealth.
– There were unemployed in New South Wales before the present Labour Government took office there.
– I ask the honorable member what have these State Governments done for the absorption of immigrants? Not one of them has ever lifted a hand to do anything.
– That is not true.
– The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) has made use of an expression which is not parliamentary, and it must be withdrawn.
– I understood the Minister to say that no effort has been made by the five Labour Governments in Australia to absorb the unemployed.
– I did not make that statement. I said that no Government had made any provision for absorbing immigrants.
– It matters nothing to the Chair what the honorable member understood the Minister to say - he used an unparliamentary phrase, and it must be withdrawn.
– I most certainly withdraw it, if you say that it is unparliamentary.
– It is.
– Then I will say that the Minister was most inaccurate in the statement he made.
– Am I to understand that the honorable member unreservedly withdraws the expression to which the Chair has taken exception?
– I riseto a point of order. The Minister asked for information. Would I be in order in supplying him with it?
– Yes, at the proper time, and in the proper way.
– I have made the statement that not one of the Labour Governments in Australia has taken any steps to avail itself of the immigration agreement entered into by the Commonwealth Government, under which cheap money can be made available to the State Governments for the absorption of immigrants. I should have thought that the State Governments would have embraced with open arms the opportunity to take advantage of that agreement. I can hardly understand how any Government can fail to avail itself of the opportunity to secure money at 1 per cent. under the immigration agreement for a purpose of this kind. Had the State Governments been sincere in this matter, they could have availed themselves of this cheap money in order to absorb the immigrants which honorable members opposite say they object to unless provision is made to absorb them. I say that immigration is absolutely essential to the country. Provision is made under the agreement for the introduction of 400,000 people in ten years. I say that we can absorb that number in the time without increasing unemployment. They need not all be placed on the land, though many, no doubt, will be so dealt with. To place immigrants on the land requires the construction of railways, bridges, roads, and works of that kind, and the volume of unemployment which exists to-day would, in my opinion, be reduced by bringing more people into this country to develop it. The Leader of the Opposition made a great deal out of Mr.Ferry’s report. I must confess that I have not read it, but it is a report by a man who was appointed, according to the statements of honorable members opposite, by a Government that is opposed to immigration.
– According to an honorable member on the other side, the Queensland Government has favoured immigration. The honorable gentleman cannot have it both ways.
– The statement is made that one or two persons, including Mr. Theodore and Mr.Fihelly, are in favour of Italian immigration, but here we have men who are opposed to Italian or other immigrants coming into this country. Every dominion of the Empire controls and regulates the immigration into it. The Prime Minister pointed out most definitely that a quota was arranged by agreement with a country from which immigrants are coming to Australia. This measure goes further, in preventing undesirable persons from coming into Australia. I take it that every member of this House stands for good government and against the admission of undesirable people.
– Our laws already provide against the admission of undesirable people.
– This bill provides not only against the admission of undesirable people, but for their deportation at any period. The first portion of the bill refers to immigrants coming into this country, and the second to the deportation of certain individuals. Every dominion of the Empire makes provision to control immigrants, and also for the deportation of undesirable persons, and by very much more drastic measures than are provided for in this bill.
-Why allow the backwash of other countries to come here?
– This bill will prevent the back-wash coming in here, and provides for sending out undesirables.
– The laws of other dominions of the Empire do not make provision for the deportation of the leaders of industrial unions.
– The Leader of the Opposition has stated that this bill is a direct blow at unionism. It is nothing of the kind, and it is not brought here with any class motives. Its object is to enable the Government to deport some of the people who are killing trade unionism and the Labour movement. It seems to me that honorable members opposite are supporting such men. The annual report of the Labour Council of New South Wales stated -
It can be said of them - the Lang Labour party - “They are busy ploughing the land for communism, and the communist party is busy sowing the seed.” . . . The good old times of playing at politics are gone. Revolution has stepped upon the stage.
Is that what honorable members opposite stand for ?
Honorable members interjecting,
– It appears that some honorable members are mistaking this House for a public meeting. I remind them that the deliberations of Parliament are supposed to be conducted in a calm and regular manner. I have been placed in this chair to enforce the Standing Orders, and I intend to do so swiftly. I ask the assistance of honorable members in maintaining an orderly and regular debate.
– Almost all the industrial unrest in this country is due to certain agitators who are leading the trade unionists astray. All honorable members believe in trade unionism. We cannot help doing so. I am a unionist myself. I shall indicate what the other British dominions have done to restrict immigration. The Canadian Immigration Act of 1910, as amended in 1919, made provision for the deportation of prohibited and undesirable persons. Sections 40 and 41 require immigration officers and officers employed by municipalities to make a complaint to the Minister in respect of any person, other than a Canadian citizen, who has been guilty of certain immoral practices, or has been convicted of a criminal offence, or has become an inmate of a gaol, lunatic asylum, or public charitable institution, or has advocated in Canada the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of Great Britain or Canada or other British dominion, or the assassination of any official of those governments, or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property, or who belongs to certain secret societies, or blackmailing organizations, or who creates or attempts to create riots, or public disorders, or who is a member of any organization which entertains or teaches disbelief in or opposition to organized government. Section 42 provides for an investigation by a board of inquiry into complaints made under sections 40 and 41, and for the deportation of persons found by the board to belong to any of the prohibited or undesirable classes mentioned.In certain cases, where the head of a family or any member of a family is found to belong to any of the classes mentioned, the whole family may be deported. The South African act is very much more stringent, and under it deportation may take place even for petty thefts. In New Zealand there is an act very much more drastic than the bill now before this House. So far from the bill being “ new “ and “ outrageous,” as stated by the Leader ofthe Opposition, it will bring Commonwealth legislation into conformity with that of the other British dominions. Every country has a right to deport men who do not observe its laws. It is our right to protect the national life of this country, and to govern Australia as we think it should be governed. The man who cannot conform to the laws of this country deserves to be deported.
Mr.BLAKELEY (Darling) [5.26].- I have very much pleasure in supporting the amendment moved by my leader to the iniquitous proposal of the Government. Apparently, the Government is not in earnest in that portion of the bill dealing with immigration, for that part of it appearsto be merely a foil for the class legislation contained in the second portion of the bill. The first part ofthe bill provides means for regulating immigration, and the second deals with the deportation of certain persons who, in the opinion of the Government, have been guilty of an offence against the peace and good government of Australia. During the hundred or more years that parliamentary government has been in opera tion, such bills have frequently been conceived and carried into effect. Men have been thrown into jail and deported for inciting strikes. Six men were deported from England to Australia for daring to form a trade union in that country. Right down through the ages, dictators, bureaucracies, and republics have endeavoured to stem the tide of industrial progress, but, of course, they have not succeeded. Men at the head of governments in this country have tried to do it. During the big shearers’ strikes of 1892 and 1894 one man was tried eleven times before a conviction could be secured against him, and another man was taken over 3,000 miles so that he could be tried by the kind of jury that would convict him. We have had the Wade Coercion Act in New South Wales. Australia has had its pigmies who, on the wave of a political victory, believed that they were the Napoleons of modern statesmanship. They generally started their operations against the workers. Irvine’s notorious act in Victoria is well remembered, for it caused the imprisonment of men. It would not allow two workers to discuss a subject in the street, and if five of them got together they were likely to be called a “ meeting,” and all of them were liable to be imprisoned for aiding and abetting strikes. Just as the author of the Coercion Act of New South Wales and his colleagues passed out of political life, so the Legirons Act and the Government that fathered it in Victoria is forgotten, except by those of us who take an interest in such matters. All the legislation brought forward for the purpose of intimidating trade unions has failed miserably. It is futile for the Government, in its dying hours, to put this bill forward as a smoke-screen to obscure its maladministration, its incapacity, and its failure to do anything in the interests of the people. I shall deal with the real reason for the bill later, but content myself now with discussing the first portion of it, which is just as futile as the second portion. In doing so I wish to make it quite plain that I have no desire to inflame racial hatred, but that I stand, first of all, for the employment of the unemployed in Australia, and for giving Australian land to the Australian land-seeker before bringing in outsiders. Before any person can come into Australia he or she should be subjected to a strict medical examination, so that he or she may not become a burden on this country. There are many aliens in this country. I have seen Jugo-Slavs, Maltese, Greeks, Italians - both southern and northern - Turks, Sicilians, and Syrians. Where they have been assimilated and have adopted the customs, traditions, ideals, and standards of this country, they have made extremely good citizens, and many of them have married and are rearing Australian families. In those cases they have not congregated in communities of their own. I object to any system, such as is in operation in Australia to-day, that allows large numbers of people to come into this country who cannot be assimilated, and who will take positions which, at present, are held by Australians.
– That is what the bill is designed to remedy.
– The honorable member says that the bill is intended to remedy such conditions as I have outlined. He apparently did not listen to the speech his leader made when introducing it. The Government has not the slightest intention of bringing the immigration provisions of the bill into operation, and the Prime Minister made that quite clear. How, then, can the honorable member say that the bill will remedy the evils I have mentioned ? The Prime Minister said there might come a time when such provisions would be necessary. I contend that that time is not five years hence, but is now, and that there is sufficient legislation on the statute-book to enable the Government to do all that is necessary. As I develop my argument, I shall show that conditions are arising here similar to those that caused the people of the United States of America to adopt the quota system. I repeat that my objection to the immigration of aliens is not based upon racial prejudices. I realize the bad conditions under which the workers live in some of the older countries of the world, and I appreciate their natural desire for the sunlight of Australia and the better conditions which the Labour movement has won for our workers. Since the United States of America Government became so alarmed at the fact of so great a proportion of its population being of foreign origin that it tightened up its immigration law, about 11.000 aliens have been coming to Australia each year. In its earlier history America was in a position similar to that of the Commonwealth to-day, and powerful influences were at work to flood the country with cheap servile labour in order that capital might increase its dividends. When the tide of immigration reached its maximum flow of 1,700,000 in 1907, the more thoughtful Americans realized that if that wholesale influx of Jugo-Slavs, Maltese, Italians. Greeks, Austrians, and Syrians continued, America would cease to have a homogeneous population, and would be merely a conglomeration of many peoples. Indeed, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, and other industrial centres were already practically dominated by foreigners. Through the lack of foresight on the part of their statesmen and the greed of the capitalists, the native-born American has been practically squeezed out of the iron and steel industry. The position had become so alarming that the only way to prevent the degeneration of the American nation into a motley assortment of peoples lacking the cohesion which comes from a common loyalty and unity of ideals, was to regulate the proportions in which other nationals should be. allowed to enter the country. Accordingly, a 3 per cent, quota, based on the 1910 census, was adopted, but that having been found ineffective for the purpose of reducing the proportion of southern Europeans in the community, a 2 per cent, quota was- based upon an earlier census. By that time the Jugo-Slavs had possession of ohe industry or locality, the Greeks dominated another, and the Italians and Austrians were in the ascendant in other industries and districts. Each race congregated in communities, which became foreign settlements upon. American soil. Its people were not becoming assimilated with the people of the United States, and they never could become Americans until they had learned the language and developed a sense of responsibility to the country and a regard for its economic and social conditions. That was not possible under existing conditions, and therefore the American immigration policy was revised in order to give the community a chance to digest the various foreign elements. The very trouble which America experienced now threatens Australia, and it will be futile for the. Commonwealth to defer for 50 or 100 years action such as America, has been compelled to take.
Now is the time to ensure that Australia shall not be deluged with foreign immigrants. The United’ States of America, * by* partly closing its doors to foreigners, is “shutting out about 1,000,000 immigrants per annum, and the shipping companies, whose agents are busy in the towns of southern Europe seeking to induce people to emigrate, must inevitably look to Australia for an outlet for their dupes. Of. course, the shipping companies are not interested in the welfare of Australia - their only concern is the fares that the immigrants will pay to them. The influx of southern Italians to Australia has become critical, and anybody who has studied the conditions of Queensland, or the developments in Victoria and New South Wales, during the last twelve months, must feel disturbed.
– This bill will not remedy those conditions.
– The Bill is not in- . tended to remedy them ; it camouflages those restrictions which the Government seeks to impose upon the industrial movement. When I was in Queensland recently, I had an opportunity of interviewing, not only the organizers and members of the Australian Workers Union, but also foreign immigrants, particularly Italians, and the first-hand knowledge I was able to gain verified the conclusions at which I had arrived as a result of my study of this problem. Every union in Queensland has carried resolutions drawing attention to the alarming influx of southern Europeans. Every branch of the Australian Workers Union has made its protest.
– What is the main objection of the unions?
– It has an economic basis. These foreigners will reduce wages, lengthen hours of work, and accept food, clothing, and housing considerably below the standard insisted upon by Australians. But whilst the antagonism is based solely on economic grounds to-day, the very fact of foreigners entering the country and taking jobs from men already here must cause racial hatred and distrust. The Australian workers in Queensland desire to get a fair share of employment. In yean, gone by they received 100 per cent, of the work in the cane-fields. To-day they are not getting anything like all the work, and the South Johnstone branch of the Australian Workers Union recently adopted a resolution asking that of the cane-cutters to be employed in that district during the coming season 75 per cent, should be Britishers. But, as I shall show, in some districts the labour employed is almost entirely foreign. The following is an analysis of the gangs employed in the three districts mentioned during last season: - Mourilyan - 27 foreign, 16 British; South Johnstone - 23 foreign, 10 British; Goondi - 21 foreign, 9 British. Those figures indicate the conditions that existed in one portion of Australia in 1924. The conditions this year are infinitely worse.
– Those figures represent a small proportion of the total number of employees in the industry.
– Those figures relate only to the districts I have mentioned, and the honorable member knows as well as I do that they are correct. The Proserpine Farm and Cane-cutters Association recently resolved that the Federal Government should be asked to prevent the influx of southern Europeans, because the unrestricted influx of those people was a menace to the industry. According to the Brisbane Daily Mail of the 2nd April, the Innisfail branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Association sent a protest to the head office in Brisbane against the inflow of aliens who, were taking work from returned soldiers. Honorable members on this side of the House have no objection topeople entering Australia in. such numbers as the community can assimilate, and our industries can absorb, but large numbers: of aliens are being brought here for one purpose only. There is on the part of those who are responsible for their coming no desire to help either Australia or the immigrants. The object is to provide private enterprise with cheap and servile labour, which in ordinary circumstances could not be obtained in this country. In spite of the hostility and bitterness of the capitalists and legislative hindrance by anti-Labour Governments, the trade union movement has been established in Australia. Many of our leaders gave their liberty and even their lives for it, and because of it employers are obliged, to offer proper conditions and adequate wages to the working man. To-day Australian labour conditions are unparalleled throughout the world. We should be wanting in our duty to the workers if we allowed any sinister organization, aided and abetted by the employers of this country, to deluge Australia with migrants, and thus break down our high standard of living. There is undoubted evidence that these people come here with no knowledge of our language, our trade unions, and our ideals, and are invariably trapped by their own countrymen. In some instances their economic position compels them to work for a wage which, had they been educated, up to our ideals and standard of living, they would not have accepted. 1 have with me copies of four so-called agreements made between Italian workers and Italian cane farmers. They illustrate how the unscrupulous cane farmer takes advantage of his unfortunate countrymen, who, knowing nothing of our language or conditions, enters into an unfair agreement. One of these documents, dated the 21st February, 1925, reads -
I declare Enrico Tuni to pay Capra Guiseppe the sum of £50 for work done for me for 50 days at £1 per day.
Witness - Giuseppe Gallo.
Another agreement, dated the 21st February, 1925, reads -
T declare Enrico Tuni to pay Perrone Luigi the sum of £94 for work done for me of 94 days at £1 per day.
Another one reads - !. declare Enrico Tuni to pay Nosenzo Giovanni the sum of £50 for work done for me for 50 days at £1 per day.
Witness - Guiseppe Gallo.
Another agreement, dated the 14th October, 1924, and due the 25th September, 1925, reads -
Twelve months after date we promise to pay J. Prineas or order the sum of £66 2s. 3d. wages worked and received.
These documents and others of a similar nature were placed in the hands of a representative of the Australian Workers Union, who took these Italian farmers to court, and compelled them to obey the arbitration awards. Three months ago resolutions were passed at Babinda, Innisfail, and Herbert River asking that the cane-cutting gangs comprise 50 per cent. British and 50 per cent, foreign labour. Other resolutions have since been passed, asking for 75 per cent. British and 25 per cent, foreign labour, but, unfortunately, they have not been put into effect.
Recently a royal commission in Queensland, presided over by Mr. Ferry, made an extensive investigation of the position in Queensland. I invite honorable members, before they pass this bill, to read the commissioner’s report, and see for themselves what his investigation has disclosed. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) asked by interjection when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) was speaking what the Australian Workers Union thought of the position in Queensland. When giving evidence before the royal commission, David Duval, Australian Workers Union representative, said that unionists at Proserpine, local men who had been living in the district all their lives, could not get work ; that at Saltwater there were between 20 and 30 Italian families receiving no payment for work other than food and clothing, and these persons were doing farm work and clearing. He objected to new arrivals, not on racial grounds, but on economic grounds. He also stated that the Italians were working long hours daily, in addition to working on Saturdays. Mr. James Riordan, president of the Australian Workers Union, Queensland, when giving evidence before the commissioner, put in as an exhibit an agreement made between two Italian farmers in the Ayr district to grub and clear 5 acres at £5 an acre, the work to be done in February last. That agreement provided for payment in December next. There is in the commissioner’s report a statement by a member of the Australian Workers Union to the effect that he had visited the homes of the Italians and found their social conditions as good as ours. He found that their, food was good, and that they did not cut down wages or work long hours. But the overwhelming weight of evidence taken in Queensland is that the Italians, Jugo-Slavs, Sicilians, and Syrians work longer hours and accept lower wages than those” prescribed under the award.
– Why are we not strictly enforcing our own laws?
– As foreigners are working for foreigners, it is extremely difficult to obtain information about what is happening. During the past six months, over 600 Italians, Jugo-Slavs, and other foreigners have settled in Northern
Queensland. They cannot speak a word of English, and are completely at the mercy of their countrymen in that portion of Australia. Mr. Frank Ryland, representative of the Australian Workers Union, Ingham, said that about 1,000 men would be required in the district for the sugar season, and that during the past twelve months over 1,000 Europeans had arrived there. He also said that awards were being continually violated and agreements made to defer payment until after the cane season. When giving evidence before the commission at Gordonvale, Mr. John Murphy; Australian Workers Union organizer, stated that foreign cutters made it a practice to work excessive hours, and that he had chased Italian and Greek cutters out of the paddocks as late as a quarter to 7 at night. He said that these foreigners also made it a practice to work on Sundays and on Saturday afternoons, and that they were not in the least particular as to barrack accommodation, being quite satisfied so long as they got a job. He also said that, with the exception of the Italians who had arrived in Queensland some years ago, the standard of living of foreigners was very much below that of the Britishers. Mr. Murphy instanced several cases of breaches of the award by foreigners. About two months ago fully 350 Southern Europeans were employed at Mildura. Their fares were paid from Melbourne, a concession always refused to Australians. It was then proposed to send another 400 Southern Europeans there. The Australian Workers Union intervened on behalf of our own workers, and took the stand that aliens were not to be given employment if it meant the displacement of Australian workers. That attitude has since been justified, because, had the union not objected to foreigners being brought in to take the jobs of Australians, the whole of the work at Mildura would have been done by Southern Europeans. Mr. Theodore, speaking at Townsville on the 13th April, said that the difficulty was not that Italians were coming in, but that the market was flooded.
– He said more than that.
– He said that there was room for them all in Australia. He also stated that where large numbers of unemployed existed immigrants should not be brought in to make the position worse. The royal commissioner, on the subject of foreigners accepting wages below award rates, said -
In many instances, contracts have been entered into by foreigners for the clearing of scrub land for cultivation on a promise that payment for the work shall be made from the proceeds of the first crop, perhaps in the following year. While the workis being carried on the employees receive food and shelter only, and. in the event of the crop being a failure, would probably have to go without payment for the work performed.
On the ground that we cannot assimilate these people, or educate them to our standards, we hold that they are a constant menace to trades unionism in Australia. The Commissioner states further -
Maltese are permitted to enter Australia at the rate of 1,200 per annum.
It is extraordinary that an agreement of this nature should have been entered into by the Commonwealth and Maltese Governments without the people of Australia knowing its contents. I shall now proceed to show that Maltese who are physically unfit, diseased, and mentally affected so as to be rejected by other countries, as well as illiterates, can find an entrance to Australia. In this connexion the report of the Commissioner states -
The arrangement with the Commonwealth Government provides that illiterate Maltese will be allowed to enter Australia provided they obtain special permission, on the application of relatives and friends residing in Australia who are prepared to find work for them on arrival.
It is not right that the Commonwealth action should allow these illiterate people to enter Australia.
– What is the date of the report ?
– The report of Mr. Ferry from which I am reading is about two months old. According to the Commissioner, 566 Maltese left Malta for Australia between the 1st July, 1924, and the 28th February, 1925. He stated, further, that emigration from Malta to Canada had practically ceased. Because of that, the Maltese have turned their eyes to Australia, and the secret agreement entered into by the Government makes their entry an easy matter. By referring to “ Appendix E, conditions of entry into various countries,” it will be seen that the Maltese Government is perfectly frank in telling its people that, although diseased, illiterate, or mentally defective, the doors of Australia are open to them. The report issued by the Maltese Government contains the following in relation to Australia: -
I should like to know from the Minister whether it is a fact that Maltese to the number of 250 a month are allowed to enter Australia without proper medical examination.
– No; that is not so.
– This report states that they are. The Government should lay the agreement on the table of the Houseso that honorable members may know what it contains. Dealing with Greeks, the Commissioner says -
In company with an officer of the police I visited a number of their boardinghouses and clubs, which were generally in a filthy condition … It is stated that in the modern economic struggle the displacement of one race by another takes place at the bottom, and that the effective weapon of displacement is a lower standard of living. The Greeks have given a further illustration of this theory by displacing the Chinaman from the part of Innisfail known as “ China town.”
At a later stage in his report dealing with Greeks, the Commissioner states -
During the inquiry of the commission several instances of rejects ‘ from America arriving in Queensland came under my notice. Their residence in America was usually in some industrial centre, where they were engaged in some menial occupation which only added to their unfitness to become useful citizens of the Commonwealth. Their admission to Queensland can be of no possible benefit to the country.
That is a scathing indictment of the Government for the extraordinary laxity of its immigration machinery. In dealing with the influx of Italians I desire to say, first, that there is a great difference between the northern Italians and the southern Italians. In the United States of America a discrimination has been made between them in favour of those from the north of Italy. The Commis sioner, dealing with this phase of the question, states -
The illiteracy test of immigrants taken in the United States of America over a number of years in regard to these two groups isas follows: -
Northern, 11.4 per cent. illiterate.
Southern, 54.2 per cent. illiterate.
For the above reason, care should be taken when dealing with immigrants from Italy to provide against the indiscriminate entry of those from southern Italy. The report goes on to say -
The southern Italian is more inclined to form groups and less likely to be assimilated into the population of the state.
While that is true of the southern Italians in Queensland, the same thing applies, in a measure, to Jugo-Slavs, Maltese, arid Syrians also. These people form themselves into small communities, with their own clubs, hotels, and stores, and have no desire to mix with the British population. Wherever large numbers of them congregate one can find little Italies” and “little Maltas.”
– Are they members of the Australian Workers Union?
– Yes. We find that the best way to protect ourselves against these people is to get them into our unions, so thatwe may be able to do something towards educating them. The Commissioner has drawn up a table which is instructive as showing the conditions in certain districts of Queensland. Under the heading “ Cane-cutters Employed “ he gives the figures for the Herbert River district as follows. -
For the Cairns district the figures are: -
Those figures show the preponderance of Italians, or foreigners of other nationalities. The proposed legislation is the result of a hysterical outburst on the part of a government which is incapable, inefficient, and puerile. It is the personification of stupidity for a government to introduce a bill of this character in the hope that the people of Australia will support it. It is an admission of the Government’s incapacity to govern the country. That much was admitted by the Prime Minister in his speech when he said -
Our greatest hope lies in the leaders of the different sections of the community, whether they be employers or employees. If they will counsel their followers wisely, and particularly if the leaders of the working class will come into the open, and denounce those men who are bringing incalculable suffering to tens of thousands of men, women, and children, a great service will be done to Australia. I have heard a great deal about my duty as Prime Minister to prevent these industrial upheavals, but upon the leaders of industry there is a much greater responsibility.
What an admission of incapacity and inefficiency ‘for a Prime Minister to make ! He says, in effect, “ Gentlemen, we are incapable. We are so inefficient that we cannot avert industrial trouble. I, therefore, place the whole of the responsibility upon the Labour leaders of the country.” The Prime Minister cannot place the responsibility on honorable members on this side of the House. The Government will have to answer for the condition of affairs which it has brought about, and which has precipitated industrial trouble from time to time. In Italy doses of castor oil are used by its Mussolini, but the Mussolini of Australia sets out to deport those whose presence he considers undesirable. Under pressure from the Employers Federation and other kindred bodies, the Government proposes to deport certain men. They may be Englishmen, Scotchmen, or Irishmen, with 20, or even 50, years’ residence in Australia, but they have come under the ban of the organizations which have the power to control the Government, and must, therefore, be deported. Because of his association with trade unionism in the past, the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) would come within the scope of this bill. Many officers of the Australian Workers Union who, not being Australian born, have incurred the displeasure of powerful associations of graziers, are also liable to be deported. Were it not that I was born in Australia I, too, should be in danger of deportation because of my having been an officer of a trade union and fined £100 for inciting certain of its members to strike. The futility and ridiculousness of its proposals must be apparent to the members of the Government. A little while ago the Melbourne Herald, in an editorial, advised the Government io adopt a certain course of action. In its columns there appeared also an “ open letter “ to the Prime Minister, which was intended to encourage him. The writer said that he would again go “ over the top “ with the Prime Minister against the established trade union ideals of the Commonwealth. Apparently the Prime Minister recognizes the incapacity of his Government to do anything of real value for Australia, and realizing that the people also recognize it, he is endeavouring to hide the Government’s failings behind a smoke screen. The PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Gibson), in a speech which lasted for about a quarter of an hour, referred to the laws of certain countries; but I point out that the passing of laws by other countries does not justify this Parliament in enacting similar legislation. This bill provides for the deportation oi Australian citizens, and excludes only those who are Australian born, but the Canadian measure applies, only to those who are not Canadian citizens. Dealing with the communist bogy, the PostmasterGeneral quoted certain matter from a full-page advertisement, costing £125 per page, which was published daily in New South Wales for some days prior to the recent elections there in not less than five newspapers, in order to divert the attention of the electors from the true issues of the election, and prevent them from voting for Labour candidates. The honorable gentleman repeated stuff and rubbish, the publication of which in New South Wales was paid for by the political party to which he belongs, in an endeavour to camouflage the issue. The people took no notice of it when it appeared as a paid advertisement, and T am sure they will take no notice of it when published as part of the PostmasterGeneral’s speech. There was certain legislation passed by panicky governments during the great war. A government from time to time would be overcome with hysteria, and would pass panic legislation similar to this Bill. During the war Paul Freeman was deported from this country, but he has since returned, and was regarded as quite a good citizen. He was put on a boat here, and taken to San Francisco. From San Francisco he was sent back to Australia. He was again sent to San Francisco, and, at last, at his own request, he was taken to Russia. The action taken to deal with him was absolutely ridiculous. He was an inoffensive citizen, but it was necessary to create a smoke screen to cover up the protection given to the profiteers and capitalists who were bleeding the country in the war period, and so some persons had to be deported. I am reminded that only a little time ago the Postmaster-General said that from the steps of this Parliament House one could fire a gun and shoot all the profiteers in Flinders-lane. To-day the honorable gentleman is standing for that which the profiteers’ are responsible. Plenty of people in Australia, who are not workers, are interfering with the good government and peace of this community. There are, for instance, the people who corner foodstuffs, the great land-holders and shareholders of great land companies who are evading their just taxation, the great graziers association whose power and money is behind the Government, and the unfair employers who bring about lockouts that are called strikes. But this bill is intended to deal only -with representatives of the workers. The Government must accept responsibility for its legislation which does not meet with the. approval of the majority of the people, and this bill is only the last of a series of acts which will not be approved by the people of Australia when their opinion is sought.
Sitting suspended from 6.S0 to S p.m.
.- This bill may be divided into two parts, which deal with two separate subjects, but both are founded on the fundamental principle that it is the inherent right of a self-governing democracy to determine what people shall enter and what people shall, if necessary, be expelled from its country. Unless iis has that right, a democracy is not self-governing. Until this Commonwealth is able to control, and is prepared £0 accept the responsibility of determining, the character of the persons who shall be admitted to full Australian citizenship, and who shall be allowed in this country, it will be impossible for her to determine her Own destiny. Unless we can settle, as we think proper, what people are to come here, and who are to stay here, our fate _ will not be in our own hands. The first “ set” of provisions in the bill gives power to make a proclamation excluding aliens of certain specified classes, on certain grounds. These provisions are directed towards the maintenance of the racial, social, industrial, and economic standards of Australia. If honorable members will refer to the measure itself, they will see that the first ground on which specified descriptions of aliens may be excluded is “on account of the economic, “industrial, or other conditions existing in the Commonwealth.” I have heard many honorable members say that it is wrong to bring immigrants into Australia when we are unable to absorb them because of the economic, industrial, or other conditions existing in this country. The bill is intended to confer upon the Government, in very explicit terms, the power to regulate the immigration of aliens in accordance with the economic, industrial, or other conditions prevailing in the Commonwealth. From that point of view I should have thought that it would have commanded the support of every honor-, able member. The second ground on which aliens may be excluded is that, in the opinion of the Minister, they are “ unsuitable for admission into the Commonwealth.” Although from an economic or industrial point of view they might not be objectionable, yet they might be persons who would not fit in with our ideas of social life. There ought to be an express power to exclude them, and that power the bill gives. Further, where alien intended immigrants - are deemed unlikely to become readily assimilated or to assume the duties and responsibilities of Australian citizenship within a reasonable time after their entry they may be excluded. The experience of the United States of America should convince honorable members that no country is a melting pot into which can be poured an indefinite number of persons of alien races./ It is of fundamental importance that we should admit only those persons who are capable of being assimilated, and of assuming1 the ‘duties-, and (responsibilities of Australian citizenship. There is power under the existing law to exclude any alien, and it is important that the House should fully realize that. The Minister administering the Immigration Restriction Act has power to exclude any immigrant, whether he be alien or British.
– Then why is the bill needed ?
– I shall endeavour to explain why I consider that the additional legislation is not only wise, but also necessary. Under the existing act it is possible to apply to any immigrant a dictation test in any prescribed language. Thus it is possible to exclude any immigrant, including any of the persons who could be excluded by a proclamation pro’vided for in this bill. What then, it. may be asked, is the necessity for altering the present law? The necessity arises from the circumstance that the dictation test can be administered only to individuals when they arrive in Australia, and that it is unjust and unfair to allow the door to appear to be standing open when there is, in reality, another door behind it which may be shut in the face of the intending ‘ immigrant. In the past these conditions have not been of importance because there has been no large volume of possibly objectionable immigration, “but now that there is a risk of a considerable volume of such objectionable immigration - and I use the word objectionable from an Australian point of view, having regard to the economic, industrial, and social conditions of this country - it is very desirable that there should be provision for making known to the world ‘ what Australia’s attitude is in regard to certain classes of immigrants. The bill makes that provision, and gives legal effect to a proclamation made in accordance with its terms. If there were no such power, all chat could be done by the Government would be to wait until the intending immigrants had arrived here, and then to administer to them the dictation test. It is much to be preferred that there should be a proclamation announcing beforehand any prohibition of a general kind that it is intended to apply, so that people on the other side of the world who wish to make their homes in Australia may know exactly what the position is. This is only a power that is proposed to be taken by the Government ; it does not follow that it will be exercised. It is, however, a very desirable power to have. It may be thought that an obvious criticism of the measure is that this and certain other provisions leave too much to what may be described as the arbitrary and uncontrolled discretion of the Minister. It is important that honorable members should realize that the most arbitrary and the most uncontrolled discretion any one could imagine exists under the present law. Already the law of Australia is such that the Minister administering it may exclude any one who does not know all the languages of Europe. Accordingly, the criticism based upon administrative discretion ‘ ought to have been raised in 1901, and if it had been effective, the Immigration Restriction Act of that year, on which the White Australia policy rests, would not have been passed. The objection, therefore, is now somewhat late in the day. It should be recognized that such a power as this will be used in the future, as the similar power has been used in the past, with a very full sense of grave responsibility. These matters, as the honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) has said, are regarded by most peoples, and I should like to think by all, as being within the sphere of domestic jurisdiction. Although that may be the .strict legal position, and although we may pass what laws and make what proclamations we please within the limits of the Constitution, it is important, in the first and last degree, that legislation of this character should be administered with a full regard to the susceptibilities of other nations. That has been done in the past, and there is no reason for believing that it will not be done in the future.
The second subject with which the bill deals is that of deportation . The right to deport, I suggest, is a right incidental to self government. There can be no question about the existence of the right, or the necessity for its exercise in some cases. Questions arise only as to the cases in which it should be exercised, and the safeguards that should surround it. Unless we are able to expel from Australia persons who are threatening the stability of the country, we must fail to govern Australia according to the ideas of its elected repre-‘ sentatives. This is a very stringent power, and it must be carefully safeguarded. It has been one of the traditions of our race, in recent centuries at least, and I hope it will long be maintained, that, like the liberty of the subject, the liberty of expressing opinions should be held sacred; that while the safety of the republic must ever be the supreme law, it is only in extreme cases that there should be any interference with the free expression of opinion. In British law a distinction has for a long time been drawn between the mere holding of opinions which may be regarded as subversive of an existing state of society, and the incitement to acts of a revolutionary character. There is an essential difference between the holding and the propagation of opinions directed to the changing of the social organization, and the incitement to acts of violence and attempts to change by force the character of that organization. It is true that a power . such as the bill confers on the Minister is open to abuse, and it appears to me that all the arguments of members of the Opposition have been directed to the possibility of its abuse. But I have already pointed out that powers that might be abused have existed since 1901, and as far as is known they never have been abused, and I see no reason for supposing that these powers in their turn will be abused. It has been said that these provisions are directed against trade unions. If I thought that they are, I should not support them. It is because they are general in their terms, and. apply to all persons in the community, whether unionists or not, who fall within their scope, that I support the bill. It surely ought not to be necessary, to say * that trade unions have won their place” in and are essential to modem society, and I doubt whether any honorable member disapproves of their existence. Speaking for myself, I shall not be a party to any action that will curb the legitimate activities of these unions, and I feel sure that the Government has no intention of taking such action. It would be foolish, however, to shut our eyes to the fact that some disputes called industrial disputes are not really what they are said to be, but are directed to other than industrial objectsWell-known examples of disputes of such a character are those which have been organized from time to time by the Indus trial Workers of the World. That body has been succeeded very largely by the communists, and we all know that it is part of the deliberate plan of action of communism to foment industrial disputes for the purpose of bringing about social discontent, to put an end to the existing social system. The Labour party excludes communists from its ranks, and during the recent New South Wales election the Labour Premier of that State trounced the communists on platform after platform. I ask myself why that was done. Was it merely because the communists differ from the Labour party in some of their views? No; it was because the Labour party recognizes that the communists are the enemies of Australia, and the enemies of Australian society. If men of this class, who are excluded from the Labour movement for good reasons - I pay the Labour party the compliment of thinking that it has taken this action because it regards the communists as a danger to their ideals - are in sufficient numbers to make it worth while for the Labour party to pass a rule concerning them, they are possibly numerous enough to warrant us in making a legislative rule regarding them. It does not lie in the mouth of the Labour party to say that the communists do not constitute a real or a serious menace to this country. I am very glad that the election results in New South Wales show that the Labour party has successfully opposed the communists, and I congratulate the party on the small vote that the communists obtained. When what is called an industrial disturbance is not really a disturbance at all, but an attack on society, then a problem which is not an industrial, but a profound social problem, emerges. The people of Australia stand for government by democratic majority, but the communists are making an attempt by insidious propaganda to set up government by a strong and determined minority. There are many minorities in the community which, by combination, could bring the activities of society to an end, and these minorities should not be allowed to use their power to attain their political objectives. There is only one way of obtaining political objectives according to the constitutional principles which we have at last established for ourselves, British history shows that political and social changes should be brought about, not by force, nor by holding up to the community a foreign ideal of social organization, but by debate and persuasion. If any minority is able to convince the majority that another form of government is the right one, it is entitled to do so, but the matter should be fought out fairly and plainly in the constituencies. It is intolerable that the few should dictate the policy and actions of the many. Modern democracy must protect itself against minorities that are seeking to attain political objectives by force, and when democracy fails to do that a reaction inevitably occurs. Such a reaction has already taken place in Spain and’ Italy, and the result there is bo be found in dictatorships that are hardly veiled. Unless democracy will insist on the rule of the majority and the government of the country by the elected representatives of the people, there will inevitably be another movement - an extra-parliamentary and reactionary movement - and the risk of a dictatorship such as is in. existence in Spain and very largely obtains in Italy. These considerations bring one to the conclusion that the government of the country must go on whatever disputes may exist between employers and employees, and irrespective of which side may be right or wrong. It is on that ground that I approve of the provisions of clause 7 of this bill. It will be observed that the proclamation referred to in section Saa is to be made only in the event of “ a serious industrial disturbance prejudicing or threatening the peace, order, or good government of the Commonwealth.”
– “Who is to be the judge of that?
– The government of the day, subject to the provisions of the bill.
– Should it apply to a citizen of 30 years’ standing, and a Britisher at that ?
– I shall deal with that question later. This proclamation is a condition precedent, and after it has been issued, if the Minister is satisfied about certain matters, he may require any person not born in Australia, whether he has or has not been in Australia for any length of time, to go before a tribunal and show cause why he should not be deported. The Minister must be satisfied that a person not born in Aus tralia has been concerned in “ acts directed towards hindering or obstructing, to the prejudice of the public, the transport of goods, or the conveyance of passengers in relation to trade or commerce with other countries or among the states.” This proposed legislation, it will be observed, is directed towards making effective the control over trade and commerce which the Constitution places in the hands of this Parliament. When the Minister is satisfied that there is an interference with the provision of services by any department or public authority of the Commonwealth, action may be taken. It is within the knowledge of honorable members that on occasions it has been difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, for the Commonwealth to place its quarantine officers aboard vessels lying in Australian harbours. I ask honorable members to realize what this might mean. Such a service as that provided by the quarantine officers should be carried on in the interests of the health and wellbeing of the community as a whole. No matter what disputes may occur between different sections of the community, that service, and all necessary governmentalservices, should go on at the will of Parliament, and not at the will of any disputant, whether industrial or otherwise. Then, in addition, the Minister must be satisfied that the presence in Australia of the particular person concerned will be injurious to the peace, order, or” good government of the Commonwealth in relation to matters in respect of which Parliament has power to make laws. It will be in no’ ordinary dispute that it will be possible for a Minister to say’ that the presence in Australia of a particular persons is injurious to the peace,, order, or good government of the Commonwealth. No- government could livefor a week if it used these powers during an ordinary industrial dispute. We know perfectly well that the people would not. tolerate anything of that sort. Honorablemembers on this .side of the House have enough sense to know that any action taken in an ordinary industrial dispute under these provisions would be repudiated by the country. When the proclamation has been made, and the Minister is satisfied that a case should be investigated, ‘ the person concerned is- summoned before a board, a judicial body, and he may show cause to that board why he should not be deported. But, if the board reports in favour of deportation, the Minister may deport the man.
– It certainly would do so.
– I am surprised to hear the honorable member say that a body presided over by a judge, or a man with judicial experience, would, as a matter of course, decide in favour of deportation.
– The chairman would have with him two men possessing no judicial experience, and unconsciously biased against the working man.
– I repudiate that suggestion. It is entirely unworthy of the honorable member. There is no reason for suggesting that anybody going before the tribunal would not receive a fair trial.
– A man convicted, say, twenty years ago, would not have to go before the tribunal. He could be deported without any trial.
– In section 8ab, which by clause 7 would be inserted in the principal act, there are provisions of a different character, and if further safeguards can be suggested I shall be perfectly willing to consider them, because I realize that very sweeping powers are proposed to be conferred. Proposed section Sab relates only to persons not born in Australia who have been convicted of offences against the laws relating to trade and commerce or conciliation and arbitration for the prevention or settlement of industrial disputes. Those laws would include the Australian Industries Preservation Act, which is often referred to as the anti-trust law, and the section will, and should, apply to employers and employees alike.
-Can the honorable member imagine the present Government deporting any person for an offence against that law?
– That would depend upon the circumstances. If the Government was of opinion that the presence of such a person was injurious to the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth, it should exercise its power to deport. Under section 3 of the existing law an immigrant may be deported within three years of his entry into the Commonwealth if he had been convicted of any crime and sentenced to imprisonment for one year or more, unless five years have elapsed. Proposed section 8ab extends the power of deportation to offences committed at any time, but imposes a limitation in respect of the class of offence. Before that provision can be operated there must have been a conviction for an offence of that class, and the Minister must have been satisfied that the acts constituting the offence were “ directed “ - and that I interpret to mean intentionally directed - “ towards hindering or obstructing, to the prejudice of the public, the production or transport of goods, or the conveyance of passengers, or the provision of necessary services, and that the presence of that person in Australia will be injurious to the peace, order, or good government of the Commonwealth.” Obviously that power is only to be exercised in very special cases; indeed, only in exceptional circumstances would this House approve of its exercise.
– This House is not required to approve; action may be taken by the Minister.
– A Minister is responsible to Parliament, and any Minister taking action under the proposed law must be prepared to justify that action on the floor of the House. It is all very well for honorable members opposite to object to this proposal, but what alternative method do they suggest for dealing with circumstances in which the foundations of society are threatened, and re straining foreigners whose presence is regarded, even by them, as prejudicial to peace, order, and good government? Neither the Leader of the Opposition nor his supporters have offered any alternative to this practical plan.
– Is there not a criminal code ?
– People whom we admit to our house in the hope that they will be our friends must respect our standards, laws, and ideals, or else they must leave it. There are abroad in the world some persons who can be fairly described as poisoners of the body politic, and the body politic must take steps to remove them. This bill is a proper measure. It is an expression of our democracy and of our determination to govern ourselves. Its purpose is to preserve Australia for the Australians, and for those newcomers who are prepared to respect and safeguard our institutions and ideals.
– I shall leave to the legal members on the Opposition side the task of replying to the technical dissertation to which we have been treated by the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham). He appears to be the unofficial legal adviser of the Cabinet, and doubtless he was consulted in regard to the framing of the measure; but I have no doubt that some of my colleagues will be able to reply effectively and sufficiently to the honorable member. My principal object in rising is to reply to the speech of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson), who quoted portion of a section of a Canadian act of parliament in an endeavour to make the House believe that this bill is almost identical with that statute. I shall later quote the whole section to which the honorable gentleman referred in order to prove that the similarity which he professed to see does not exist. Before doing so, however, I shall refer briefly to those provisions in the bill which relate to a certain class of immigration. The Prime Minister tried to prove by statistics that so far the immigration of southern Europeans into Australia has not been harmful to the country. The reply by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) showed conclusively that the influx of these people has been yery injurious to the Australian community, by lowering our standard of living, reducing wages in certain industries, and creating social conditions that are distasteful to our people. I have no desire to be offensive towards people who come from other parts of the world, but by the various restriction and exclusion laws made by this Parliament in support of the White Australia policy we have maintained in this continent a people purer in blood and race than any other British community in the world, and any proposal that tends to impair that purity will be resisted by honorable members on this side. I know that there are in northern Italy people of a type superior to the southern Italians. The same may be said of some of the people of Greece, or Jugo-Slavia, or Spain, but that superior class is comparatively small in propor tion to the total populations of those countries. Any student of history realizes how inferior to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Spaniards are their compatriots of to-day, and their own writers admit it.
– The honorable member might also compare the Labour party of to-day with the Labour party of a few years ago.
– The degeneracy of the party sitting behind the Government is very pronounced. Honorable members opposite seem to be reverting to the spirit that animated some politicians at the time of the great maritime strike. That is indicated by the suggestion of the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) that a state of affairs such as exists in Italy to-day in consequence of the Fascist movement, may develop in Australia. Such a condition of affairs could never occur in our community, and I urge the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley), and those who think as he does, to beware in trying to revive the spirit which was abroad in Australia at the time of the maritime strike. I repeat, with no intention of giving offence, that the people of southern Europe to-day compare very unfavorably with their predecessors of classic times, and that is admitted by leading thinkers and writers amongst them. The explanation is that their originally pure blood has been diluted by admixture with that of inferior races, and in consequence they have deteriorated physically, socially, and morally. The superior physique of the Australian people is universally recognized. Our blood has been kept pure, and despite the fact that we number only about 6,000,000, we have produced world champions in almost every branch of sport.
– And on the battlefield.
– Yes. Famous generals and others capable of judging have testified that physically the Australians were the finest soldiers engaged in the great war. That superiority is due to purity of race, and it is idle for the Prime Minister to say that the wholesale influx of southern Europeans will not detrimentally affect our community. Foreign communities will be formed on Australian soil like those that have been formed in the United States of America. There one may find communities that arewholly Italian, or German, or Greek, or Spanish, or Syrian. If former leaders of American thought had ever anticipated the present state of affairs in that country they would long ago have prevented indiscriminate immigration.
– They would have passed a bill similar to that now before the House.
– Not a bill like this.
– One much more drastic.
– No. Whilst for the time being these foreign elements in our midst may constitute a community of their own, there will be gradual intermarriage with the Australian people, with a consequent deterioration of our physical and moral standards. That danger alone would be sufficient justification for drastic legislation to prevent the continuance of the influx of southern Europeans. The industrial and economic menace has been ably dealt with by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley). In many Italian communities in the north of Australia the very worst kind of slavery, namely, family slavery, is in force. I have no doubt that the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford) and other honorable members familiar with conditions in the north can substantiate the statement made by a Minister of the Crown in Queensland concerning one Italian sugar cane-grower. The story is that he had been employing two of his sons for a number of years, and by paying them a sweating rate of wages he was steadily becoming very wealthy. One day the organizer of the Australian Workers Union persuaded these young mento join the union. They did so, and as members of that organization, demanded and were paid the award rate of. wages. The father, however, brought out from Italy two younger sons, and when they were sufficiently conversant with the work of the farm, he turned his two elder sons adrift, and suggested that they should appeal to the Australian Workers Union for employment. Eventually the younger sons, also at the invitation of an organizer of the Australian Workers Union, joined the union, with the result that the father was again compelled to pay the union rate of wages. That is an illustration of what is happening in some parts of Queensland. The figures quoted this afternoon by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) were absolutely stagger ing. The other morning I met a young man from Bundaberg (Queensland), who informed me that whilst there was. considerable employment in the back country, the position was steadily getting worse, owing to the advent of southern Europeans who are both land-owners and employers and employees. Australians, he told me, were gradually being pushed out because foreigners were prepared to work longer hours for a lower rate of wages. The excuses given by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) for the introduction of this bill are of the flimsiest nature. Its provisions will not prevent the present influx of foreigners. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson) said this afternoon that the Canadian law was identical with the provisions of this bill, and in support of his statement he quoted from the Canadian act. The Minister was quite inaccurate, as I intend to show. Section 41 of the Canadian Immigration Act 1919 reads- “ 41. (1) Every person who by word or act in Canada seeks to overthrow by force of violence the government of or constituted law and authority in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and- Ireland, or Canada, or any of the provinces of Canada, or the government or any other of His Majesty’s dominions, colonies, possessions, or dependencies, or advocates the assassination of any official of any of the said governments or of any foreign government, or who in Canada defends or suggests the unlawful destruction of property, or by word or act creates or attempts to create any riot or public disorder in Canada, or who without lawful authority assumes any powers of government in Canada or in any part thereof, or who by common repute belongs to or is suspected of belonging to any secret society or organization which extorts money from or in any way attempts to control any resident of Canada by force or by threat of bodily harm, or by blackmail, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization entertaining or teaching disbelief in or opposition to organized government shall, for the purposes of this act, be deemed to belong to the prohibited or undesirable classes, and shall be liable to deportation in the manner provided by this act, and it shall be the duty of any officer becoming cognizant thereof and of the clerk, secretary, or other official of any municipality in Canada wherein any such person may be, forthwith to send a written complaint to the Minister, giving full particulars : Provided that this section shall not apply to any person who is a British subject, either by reason of birth in. Canada or by reason of naturalization in Canada.
This shows clearly that any person who is aBritish subject either by birth in Canada or naturalization in Canada is specially exempted from the operations of the act.
– He should not he.
– Honorable members can see how easily deception may be practised on the House. The Canadian section refers specifically to persons who may advocate assassination or the unlawful destruction of property, the inference clearly being that they must be criminals of the worst type, and yet they have the right of trial by the properly constituted courts and by a jury of their own peers.
– And the Canadian law does not apply to industrial unions.
– I am indebted to my leader for his interjection. There is no reference whatever in the Canadian section which I have just quoted to any industrial organization. That provision has been inserted in the bill now before the House. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) emphasized that the chairman of the proposed board will be a man with legal training, possibly a judge of the High Court, or of the Supreme Court of a state, or a magistrate. He omitted to mention that there will be two other members of the board. We all know what happens in our police courts. Justices of the peace, if they are in the majority on the bench, sometimes overrule a police magistrate. Thus the chairman of this proposed board may find himself overruled by his colleagues, who may have been appointed for political considerations. What has been the history of boards appointed by this Government? In nearly every case they have given biased decisions. The worst criminal in the community has the right of trial by a judge and jury, and, in some cases, he may require the Crown to provide counsel to defend him. Offences against the immigration law, however, will be dealt with by a special board, which may order the deportation of a man. This is wrong. Already we have all the machinery necessary to deal with these matters. Honorable members opposite should consider this measure without regard to any political opinion. I understand that in some quarters feeling is running high over it. I am trying to discuss it as dispassionately as possible. Every honorable member on this side of the House has, I believe, proved himself to be in every respect as good an Australian as any other man in (he community. Why, then, should there be this direct attack on trade unions? Where would Great Britain or Australia have been in the recent war but for the trade unionists who responded so nobly to the call ? Yet these are the men who are going to be robbed of some of the privileges and rights that people in a democracy have enjoyed from time immemorial. It almost seems that we are harking back to the time when government was in the hands of the few. The honorable member for Kooyong knows quite well that Australia will never tolerate the state of affairs that exists in Italy to-day. We are never likely to have a Mussolini in Australia.
– I hope not.
– Perhaps we may have some one just as bad.
– I was not speaking about the honorable member for Darwin. I strongly resent this attack on our trade unions. Many returned soldiers who are trade unionists came to honorable members during the week-end and demanded to know the reason for this measure, which they fear will rob them of their rights. They want to know why the Government is endeavouring to force this legislation through. If this law had been on our statute-books during the great shearers’ strike, the late “ Jim “ Page, one of our most honoured colleagues in this House subsequently, would have been deported. Probably Sir Joseph Cook, our present High Commissioner, the Right Hon. W. M. Hughes, the late Mr. John Hancock, and a number of other stalwarts of the union movement, would have shared a similar fate. Incidents during the recent election in New South Wales proved that some of the squatters would, if they had the opportunity, be just as tyrannical in their attitude towards trade unionists as the early squatters were.
– Did the honorable member hear the declaration of the honorable member for Kooyong about trade unionists ?
– I did. The honorable member for Kooyong could not say a word against them because he himself belongs to one of the strongest unions in Australia. If the honorable member said anything against unionism he would be turning round and biting himself.
– I believe in unionism.
– Any member of the legal fraternity who offends against its laws is practically ostracized. 1 know of one person who has suffered constant persecution at the hands of the barristers’ union, many members of which deserve a worse fate than even deportation.
– Not at all.
– The honorable mem ber for Calare (Sir Neville Howse) has to subscribe to certain rules of, the British Medical Association, which body has done worse things than has any industrial union.
– That is not so.
– This discussion is wide of the bill.
– The provisions of the bill have been accepted by two caucuses, and therefore any discussion of it in this chamber is of no avail. Honorable members supporting the Government have already cast the die, and, regardless of the Opposition, the measure will be passed without alteration. Very few honorable members on that side of the House have spoken on the bill.
– Did the honorable member agree in the Labour party room to vote against the bill?
– Honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Fawkner, have decided in caucus to accept the bill. At our party meetings we discuss measures such as this in the most reasonable spirit, and come to exceedingly sane conclusions respecting them. We are always prepared to discuss proposed legislation with an open mind. Honorable members opposite have already made up their minds. They have arrived at the verdict before hearing the evidence. At the next elections, when the people have an opportunity of’ expressing their views respecting the introduction of this tyrannical measure, which is aimed , at the oppression of trade unions, this Government will doubtless be relieved of the responsibility of administering the affairs of this country.
.- I shall support every clause in the bill, and I wish that its provisions were more stringent. No decent man in Australia can take exception to the measure. It is the duty of every respectable and decent person in this House to go out into the highways and by-ways of Australia, and to inform those persons who are endeavouring to bring into Australia some form of demoniacal bolshevism or communism that there is no room for them in this country. More especially, it is the duty of members on the Labour side of the House to do it. If they were to rise to the occasion we should not have the disorder or discontent that is at present rampant throughout Australia. Our trade is being disrupted, and why are they not doing something to stop it? What are we to say to men who come here with ideas of diabolical bolshevism or communism, which simply mean no God, no law, no master. Do honorable members opposite ally themselves with persons of such a creed? What would be the result of the. success of the communistic policy. It would be chaos, destruction, death, hell to the body politic of Australia. Do honorable members want such a state of affairs to come about? Do they realize that it would mean the destruction of the exchange value of gold, the taking of individual life, the loss of personality, and the introduction into Australia of chaos most confounded. Are we to permit men advocating such a policy to live in Australia? To-day we have the spectacle of 90 per cent. of the decent seafaring men in Australia being led by a few persons for whom there is no name bad enough, and who are trying to sap the vitals of our national life.
– Where are they?
– The honorable member knows where they are. This bill, if carried, will enable the Government to deport theseagitators who have no country, and are thieves against society, by which I mean the public of Australia. Away with them! This country is no good to them, and no other country is any good to them. Would it not be better for them to marry the mermaids at the bottom of the deep, blue sea. I do not care where they go, but for heaven’s sake get them out of Australia. I, myself, was not born in Australia, and therefore might come under this law; but, if I were found guilty of doing anything objectionable and contrary to thewelfareof Australia, I should be quite prepared to besent back to the land of myforefathers -thenorth ofIreland. Any personwho is prepared to undermine our Constitution by following Russia’s example, and advocating her idiotic doctrines here, shouldbe deported. Right-thinking Australians should refuse tobe dictated to by afew men advocatingthese principles of bolshevism. When the people find out what rotters these persons are, it will be unfortunate for them. We should insist on their deportation, and Iwish that the proposed law had been on the statute-book ten years ago.
Mr.LAZZARINI (Werriwa) [9.7].- The honorable member for Kooyong gave us one reason for supporting the bill. The honorable member supported the bill because it would apply in every sense to every member of the community, but the Leader of the Opposition, when speaking on this subject, said clearly how impossible it was for it to affect any one section of the community other than trade unions and members of industrial organizations. This contention is justified by the operation of similar legislation in the states and in the Commonwealth. The honorable member is a lawyer, and therefore must know that the bill, if passed, will, and can, apply only to one section of the community. Again, the honorable member said that no government would usea power of thiskind except in extreme circumstances. That statement is contrary to the history of this and other countries of the world. In most of the states is an industrial law called the Masters and Servants Act. This law has never been used except against employees. I know of hundreds of instances ofminers who have beenbaledbefore the court for minor offences andeither sent to jail or heavily fined. On the other hand, no action is taken against the mine-owner who locks the men out or fails to provide employmentfor them. This law in operation will apply only to industrial organizations. To refute the argument that this law is to apply equally to all persons in the community let me remind honorable members of what occurs under our existing laws. I shall instance the case of a man who was working on a dairy farm. Six months ago he attended a social or a dance, and arrivedbackat thefarm at about 2.30 a.m. He wassupposed to commence workat 4.30 a.m.,but being tired and not feeling well he refused to work. He was haled before thecourt and fined £3 and £210s.costs. Iknow of hundreds of similar cases, and I venture to say that they are really the cause of all our industrial unrest. The workers resentthe operations of lawswhich impose hardships upon them while the employers are allowed to go scot-free. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) said that the bill, if passed, would apply to all sections of the community, but he requires abetter excuse to justify his support of it. The measure, once it becomes law, will be used by the Government in the interests of the employers. It may be that the Government intends to use this legislation as its king hit at the next general elections; if so, the Labour party has no fear of the issue. This is a foolish law introduced by a foolish Government. The Leader of the Opposition, in his speech this afternoon, clearly showed that the introduction of this bill as an immigration law was nothing more than an attempt to camouflage the real issue. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have at last realized that the people of this country areopposed to unrestricted immigration. The Government has ascertainedthat it is completely out of touch with public opinion, and hasconsequently decided that something must be done to check the inflow of immigrants at a time when unemployment is rife throughout Australia. Those who are represented by the Government are opposed to the best interests of the people of Australia. This measure has been introduced at their dictation, in order to strike what they think will be a vital blow at the principles of trade unionism and industrial organizations generally. TheGovernment is endeavouring to stampede the workers and bring about a reign of terror in their ranks. Its action is an open confession that it is absolutely lacking in a knowledge of the psychology of the industrial movement as it exists to-day, and as it has existed throughout the ages. Does the Government think that legislation of this character will impede the progress of industrial organizations; that a threat of deportation of some of their members will1 make them run in terror? Right through the ages industrialism has fattened and extended its influence as a result of persecution of this nature, and’ it will continue to do so. Honorable members opposite want to restore the conditions that existed when it wascriminal to belong to a trade union. The statute-books of every country in which there is industrialism are filled with legislation of this, character. It has had only one effect; for a time it has made industrial fights more bitter,, it has engendered more distrust and hatred, it has tended to prevent rather than to- ensure the peaceful carrying on of industry. This is one of many acts by the present Government that are calculated to bring into contempt constitutional government and parliamentary institutions. In spite of such legislation as this industrial organizations will continue to prosper. If an industrial upheaval took place after the passage of this measure do honorable members opposite believe that the fight would be declared off at the deportation or the threatened deportation of an officer ‘ or a member of the organization involved, because he happened not to have been born in Australia? Do they believe that men will submit, to conditions that they do not think are right?. Even the dungeon and the gallows have not proved a deterrent in the past; so this threat of deportation will not have that’ effect in. the future. This matter has been made an issue in six elections in the Commonwealth, and on every occasion those who. favoured the action that is now proposed by the Government were turned down by the, people. Evidently the intention now is to try to prove that there is a vital necessity to. deport somebody. I suppose that somebody will be deported in order to lend colour to the arguments of honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. latham), the Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson), and other honorable members opposite have said that this legislation is designed to uphold constitutional government. In my opinion it is the most glaring piece of class legislation that has ever been introduced by a class-conscious government, and it will go down in history as a measure that was moulded in the interests of a very small section of the com munity. The whole of the argument used by honorable members’ opposite has sought to prove that in every industrial upheaval’ one side only has been responsible; the worker or,- the industrial’ organization, according to those honorable members, has always been to blame. They claim that the leaders of industrial organizations lead the men by the nose. In one centre of my electorate the men working in a coal mine went on strike as a protest against being sent underground, with lamps that were likely to cause an explosion. Those lamps were subsequently found to be defective, but the men had to refuse work for three weeks before the management would have them attended’ to. Had this legislation, been in existence the leaders of those men. would have been deported for protecting the lives of their comrades. There are similar, happenings almost every day in industries in which large bodies of men ‘ are engaged, but the position is most acute in the mining industry, because of the nature of the occupation. The mining industry has made greater profits than has any other industry in the history of Australia, yet the men engaged in it arecompelled to strike* to prevent themanagement from sending them into thebowels of the earth under conditions that may cause them to- be hurled into eternity! Should those men be- deported.? If it is contended that they should I. would rather be ‘ the man who was de. ported than a member of the Government responsible for deporting him, This legislation will not appeal to the people of Australia. I should like toremind honorable members opposite that it may have a boomerang effect. According to the bill, everybody who is not Australian born is a foreigner. The cause of more than two-thirds of the industrial trouble in this country is the effort to reduce the economic standard of the workers. If some of the captains of industry come to Australia from overseas and endeavour to do that, it may later be found that they can be deported from Australia. It would be a very simple thing in the near future to so amend this measure that it would operate against those whom this Government desires to protect. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) asked, “What is it intended to do with the men who are deported?” If every country passed similar legislation and deported those persons who became a nuisance to the employing class it might be necessary to have a fleet of vessels carrying them continuously around the world, because of there being no country in which to land- them. Such a journey would outrival the wandering of the Hebrew race centuries ago.
I desire to refer briefly to one or two statements that were made by the PostmasterGeneral. He dealt with the question of immigration. I do not intend to devote much time to that aspect of the matter, because I do not believe that the Government is at all exercised in its mind regarding it. lt is a characteristic of this, as it has been of other, legislation that has been introduced by this Government, that that portion of the bill is merely camouflage. The PostmasterGeneral said that no State Government that was controlled by labour had signified its intention to accept the agreement made between the Commonwealth Government and the British Government for bringing immigrants to Australia. Perhaps that is so. There is no humbug about the attitude of the labour movement towards immigration; it stands four square in its determination that adequate and proper provision must first be made for those who are alreadyin Australia. It believes that that is the only way in which Australia can be successfully populated. There are in Australia thousands of men - some Australian born and others who have come here from the Old Country - who have had practical experience of agricultural pursuits extending over periods ranging from ten to fifteen years. They are willing to go on the land if the opportunity is provided. I could supply the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) next week with the names of 100 men in my electorate who are prepared to go on the land - and they would make a success of farming, because they are practical men - if the Government will give them conditions that are half as good as those which it is prepared to give to immigrants. These men are land hungry, and it is from the land that they can best earn a living. The Government will not give assistance to those men, whether they are Australian born or immigrants of some years’ standing. Some of them already have families ; others are prepared to settle down and have families. These men, I repeat, are land hungry, and are prepared to go on the land under conditions less favorable than are promised to immigrants. They have been born and reared in the country, and have had experience either as farm labourers or as workers on the share system. The Labour party makes no apology for saying that before making land available for immigrants this field should first be exploited. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Gibson) said that immigration would not increase unemployment, but we know that that is not so. The honorable gentleman is closing his eyes to the facts if he denies that among us are many who cannot get work, and are in straitened circumstances. I could take him to an area, a few square miles, in my own electorate, and introduce him to 500 or 600 unemployed men, who are looking for work. This party is not opposed to immigration when properly regulated. We are prepared for our attitude to be known by the people of Australia, and are content to be judged accordingly. The PostmasterGeneral appeared to be angry when hi referred to the suggestion made by honorable members on this side of the House that the tribunal which would be set up to deal with these alleged undesirables would be prejudiced, but he had not gone far in his speech before, by innuendo, he accused the commission which was appointed by the Labour Government in Queensland of having been prejudiced. The honorable gentleman has been so long associated with a Government which has appointed commissions composed of persons willing to do the Government’s bidding, that he cannot conceive of any government acting impartially. I do not believe that the bill, if passed, will have the effect of causing many persons’ to be deported from the Commonwealth. I take it that the object of this legislation is really to so stir up the industrial organizations of the country that industrial trouble will be caused, and thus to give to those candidates supporting the Government something in the way of propaganda to be placed before the electors. The bill demonstrates the weakness and mental bankruptcy of the Government. It is a throwback to the times when trade unionists were terrorized. The proposed legislation is founded neither on sense nor reason, but on the blind rule of the jungle - brute force and stupidity.
.- It has properly been said that this bill has two objects : first, to regulate immigration, and, second, to provide for the deportation of undesirable aliens. These two phases, however, are correlated. In a democratic country like Australia, where every adult is given a vote, it must be conceded that the Government should be supreme. We have, however, had instances recently where that has not been the case. I take it that in this bill the Government is seeking legal power to make itself supreme, and I can conceive of no valid reason why that power should not be given. Certain honorable members, apparently, are of the opinion that in connexion with this measure there is a “ nigger in the wood-pile.” I have been approached by Labour organizations regarding the admission to this country of alien immigrants; 1 have received letters from the Australian Natives Association pointing out the number of these people who are entering Australia, and asking me to use my influence with the Government to prevent it. Opposition members have also asked a number of questions as to the Government’s attitude towards this question. In this bill the Government expresses what it intends to do. The bill before us is not experimental legislation; other countries have enacted similar measures in order to regulate their population. For the maintenance of a White Australia, the regulation of immigration is essential. The second phase of the bill provides that alien immigrants who have got through the first sieve, in that they have been possessed of certain sums of money on arrival, and have submitted papers testifying to their good character, but later have worked to subvert the democratic institutions of this country, can be deported. That, surely, is a power which we should possess. The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) mentioned that his organization, the Australian Workers Union, had discovered that some of these aliens were living and working in groups, and were really reducing the social conditions of Australia. The figures relating to Queensland make one think that we, and more particularly the people of Western Australia, are paying heavily for our sugar in order that employment may be found for more foreigners than Britishers on the sugar-fields of thatstate. Although much has been said” about dealing with undesirable immigrants, nothing of a constructivenature has been submitted by honorable members opposite. Had they placed before the House some alternative method of dealing with these objectionable people from other countries, onewould attach greater importance to theirother remarks. The House should be grateful to the honorable member for. Kooyong (Mr. Latham) for his timelyspeech. When he asked what the Opposition would do with objectionable aliens,, the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) answered that they should beplaced in jail. As a citizen of this country,.. I object to jailing too many undesirable alien immigrants. It is too costly. I’ prefer that they be jailed in their owncountry. If they cannot conform to the laws of this land, let them get out of it. That is the most expeditious and merciful, way to deal with them. If an aliencomes to this country, and is not satisfied’ to abide by the decision of the majority,, let him go to- some other country wherehe will form one of the majority. An* alien minority should certainly not exercise greater powers than this Parliament,., yet we have had instances where individuals have exercised a greater control: over the country than that exercised by Parliament. Even members of the Opposition would say that Mr. Bruce has exhibited weakness in administration. When.’ he now introduces a measure to enable the - Government to deal firmly where beforeit has been weak, I, as a representative of the people, intend to vote to give to the Government of the day - no matter what party it represents - the power thatis conferred by this bill. Even were aMinistry to be formed by the party now in opposition - which God forbid ! - I’- should be prepared to place this power in-‘ its hands. I am not fearful, as was thelast speaker, that every opportunity will! be taken to deport persons. The existing legislation confers considerable powers on: the Government in power, but those powers have not been exercised to any great extent. You, Mr. Speaker, have the power, if not to deport, to “ de-house “ or remove from this chamber any honorable member who does not conform to the rules of the House; but you have not used those. powers harshly. The passing of this bill will only cement the true lovers of Australia into a stronger bond of union; and unless this Parliamentgives itself ample power to regulate the conduct of its citizens, it will strike a blow at the White Australia policy.
– I hardly knew the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) in the highly Christian tone of the address with which ho favoured us, but it was easy to recognize. the honorable member for Darwin (Mr. Whitsitt) in the observations that he made. I gather from that honorable member’s remarks that any person, on either side of the House, who ventures to oppose this bill, is, ipso facto, branded with the stigma of indecency. Not only that, but we should be condemned either to deportation or to be submerged and find solace in the company of the mermaids down below if we fail to vote for this measure. I venture to suggest that such a fate, with a carefully selected dozen of enchanting mermaids, would not be altogether’ displeasing to the honorable member. But I fail to see why he should suggest that form of punishment for members of the Labour party, unless it is because of his knowledge of their superior virtue. I am tempted to support this bill for the reason that it appeals to the weakness of the flesh in this way : There are indications showing above the horizon that at no very distant date the government of this Commonwealth, as of the states, may pass into other and better hands. When that time comes I confess that I should feel a very special pleasure in demonstrating by actual cases how wide are the powers proposed to be given by this bill. I should certainly be tempted to operate these powers upon some of the gentlemen opposite. I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to cast your eagle eye on honorable members who occupy the seats opposite; and ask yourself as you look upon the fatuous conglomeration of incompetence that dwells there, would it not be a fair and legitimate exercise of the powers proposed to be given by this bill to place some of them on a ship and remove them to some country, if such could be found to receive them, or, if not,toland them in the dead of night at some port, while the Government was asleep, so that they might be left there to consider patiently the full effects of the: boomerang that they manufactured in this year of grace 1925. Notwithstanding the threats or promises, whatever they were, of the honorable member for Darwin. (Mr. Whitsitt) I declare myself, no doubt to the surprise of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten), to be wholeheartedly, opposed to the provisions of the bill. I propose to address a few words to honorable members opposite, which I hope will fall with gentle cadence, like sweet music, upon the ears of the Government, and to use the language of the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr: Latham), “by debate and argument,” convince them that they really should support’ us in this matter. The object of the bill has been declared by the Prime Minister. At least he has declared what, in his view, is the object of the bill. Curiously enough, it is to amend the Immigration Act so that additional’ powers may be obtained to regulate and control the immigration of aliens into Australia. With the greatest respect to the Prime Minister, I say that it is perfectly obvious that that is not the real object of the bill. It has another object altogether. Had that been the chief object of the measure, there would have been no urgency for its introduction. It is very questionable whether there would have been any need for its introduction from any point of view, since the plain truth is, as the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) has said, and as is well known to lawyers and laymen alike, that we already have ample powers to regulate the influx of aliens and other immigrants into this country. It is well established that we not only control the incoming and outgoing of aliens, but also have practically unlimited power tocontrol the incoming and outgoing of British subjects. Notwithstanding the views expressed by the honorable member for Kooyong, I say that we have exercised that power, and exercised it shamefully in the case of British subjects. He ought to have been better informed in regard to the operations of the act. If he had been he would not have used the argument that the powers that we already have latent in our statute-book havenot been misused. Seeing that we already have these general powers, one must look somewhere else for the real, object of this bill. I do not propose to discuss the question which has been so well debated by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley), the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini), and others, of the effect of the .influx of migrants generally on the economic position of Australia. That is a matter of vast importance, and the honorable members to whom I have referred did we’ll to attack it as they did. But I contend t’hatit is not raised by this bill, and we shall doubtless have other opportunities to discuss it. There are some special local vicious provisions in this bill which are really the cause of its introduction, and it is to these that I shall direct my criticism. The bill is directed against, a class of people in this community - it is directed on political considerations against the industrial class. All the intrinsic evidence that we have bears out that not only is it directed against a class of individuals, but, more regrettable still, that it is directed against particular individuals in the community. I do not propose to follow the bad example of the Government which has introduced this bill in order to pursue a vendetta against individuals by dealing with them at the moment, but I venture to tell the Government that it is quite unbecoming to use the machinery of this National Parliament for the purpose of coercing individuals. These purely local matters are not for the National Parliament to deal with, and, in proposing to use this machinery for that purpose, it is dragging Parliament down to the level of local suburban .policemen. Parliament should not be placed in that position. I know that I would not be in order in dealing in detail with the clauses of the’ bill during the secondreading debate, but there are two provisions which really embody its object to which I would refer the House. In order properly to examine the principles underlying it, may I be permitted to quote the words to which I object? In clause 1 we find that it is proposed to insert the following new sub-sections in the principal act: -
It is a cardinal principle of British law that the criminal code shall be clearly defined, and that the offence upon which a person is indicted shall be couched in definite language that can be understood. It is also a cardinal principle of the criminal law of this country, and of every British community, that when a man is charged with a serious criminal offence, he shall be indicted before a jury of his peers and tried for the offence.
– This deals with aliens subverting the laws of the country.
– Not at all. It deals with “ persons -not born in Australia.” It deals with the honorable member, who apparently has not read the bill. I ask honorable members opposite where’ they would, be if it were not for persons not born in Australia? We on this side get all the Australian votes. Can it be said that an offence for which a man . may be deported is not a serious offence? I think it was my honoured leader who pointed out that a British subject who had been resident in Australia for 30 years or more might find the provisions of this measure used against him. He might find himself seized and cast out of this country where all his interests are, where his family ties are, and where his children and perhaps ‘his Australian-born, grandchildren live. Surely it must be a serious offence that would deserve such a punishment, and being serious, there should be applied to it the carefullymatured principles of law applicable to such cases. Would honorable members opposite suggest that any but a serious offence, a gross offence even, would deserve so drastic a punishment. If we pass laws like this, what becomes of our boasted British liberty, of Magna Charta, and of every other charter that has secured for the British people their freedom, including the right to be tried 1by their peers? Then “what about the terms of the charge which this measure has in contemplation ? Is it to be declared in definite and understandable language? Let honorable members consider the words - :acts directed towards hindering or obstructing, to the prejudice of tlie public, the transport of goods or the conveyance of passengers in relation to trade or commerce.
The language is so vague and indefinite that I should like to hear my learned friend, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), addressing a court in support of a person accused in such terms. I can imagine the flood of ridicule that he would pour upon any indictment framed in language of this kind. He would say, “ Your Honour, the language is too absurd. A charge so framed could be proved against any man, innocent or guilty.” The Word “wilful” is not used. Any act might be considered to be directed towards “certain classes of disturbance” or any person “concerned in “ such disturbances against the peace, order, or good government of the country. One hardly knows what would happen if a charge were laid under a section like this. Everything would depend, of course, upon the bias, conscious or unconscious, the tribunal before which the unfortunate person concerned would appear. Under this provision the accused is entitled to go before a tribunal, but it is ;not a court.
– It is a star chamber.
– It is a star chamber, as my honorable friend rightly says. The courts of this country have been built up as the result of long experience in the administration of- justice, -but for this grave offence an untried and inexpert tribunal is to be set up. I turn now to the next proposed new provision, embodying a vicious principle. It is as follows : -
Sab. Where any person who was not born in Australia has, at any time, been convicted in Australia of an offence against the laws of the Commonwealth relating to trade and commerce or conciliation and arbitration for the prevention or settlement of industrial disputes, and the Minister is satisfied that any of the acts constituting the offence were directed towards hindering or obstructing, to the prejudice of the public, the production or transport of goods, or the conveyance of pas sengers, or the provision of necessary services, and that the presence of that person in Australia will be injurious to the peace, order, or good government of the Commonwealth, the Minister may make an order for his deportation.
There is no tribunal provided for in that case.
– Yes, the Minister is the tribunal.
– My honorable friend is right in a sense, but there is no tribunal such as that referred to in the other provision. No trial is provided for. The person dealt with is one who has already been tried and punished - either fined or imprisoned. The offence has already been dealt with under the laws of the country.
– Perhaps twenty years before.
– It may be so. Having already paid the penalty for his offence according to the laws of the country, and subsequently lived as an honorable citizen, he may be seized, and, without recourse to any tribunal, arbitrarily deported. Do honorable members opposite stand for that sort of thing? “When the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) was speaking, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) asked what he had to say about this provision, and his answer was a very lame one. In effect he said, “ If you can suggest anything to improve it, I will give it consideration.” Why did he not use his position as a leading member of the bar to condemn it root and branch as an outrage on this country? He knew it was -an outrage, yet he dealt with the bill with as much sentiment as a coffin -maker sawing wood. He might at least have told the House that, as it stands, this vile provision is a discredit to the Government that introduced it, and will be an everlasting discredit to any country that allows it to remain on the statute-book. Punishment may be inflicted for an offence committed when this legislation was not in contemplation, although it is against the almost invariable application of the principles of British justice to make penal provisions retrospective. In this country, a man who sins against the law is presumed to know the law, but at least he has some confidence that he is sinning against the law as it then is, and not against some law which may be passed at some date in the remote future.
– Is the power to deport a penal provision?
– I have discussed that point already. I have pointed out the nature of the penalty, and asked all honorable members opposite who were awake and listening if they did not think that it must be a grave offence to warrant so severe a penalty. Is it not perfectly obvious, therefore, that we get back to this position: that this is anti-strike legislation; that it is class legislation in disguise, and a very poor and unworthy disguise at that. I ask my honorable friends opposite fairly - what is the issue that is troubling them at the present time? An honorable member rightly suggests that they are acting under pressure. It is true that the newspapers are directing them, and that the big corporations which supply their funds are pointing the way. But taking Ministers at their word, and granting for the moment that they are sincere in their attempt to deal with what lawyers call the public “mischiefs” we want to cure, what is the position? Is it not plain that the trouble is that particular bodies of men are refusing to accept work under certain conditions ? I suggest to my friends opposite that it is too late in the history of Australia to apply a policy of force to industrialists who in combination and by organization have decided that they will sell their labour on their own terms and conditions. They have the right to do so. One union which most of us have in our minds, and which honorable members opposite certainly have on their minds-
– Which one is that?
– The Seamen’s Union. Honorable members did not dare to mention it because they knew that if they did so it would be all the more obvious to the public that this bill has special relation to the Seamen’s Union.
– Is that why the honorable member objects to the bill?
– I do not pretend to say for the moment that the conditions demanded by the seamen or their leaders are fair or unfair, or that those which have been imposed upon them by the employers are just or unjust. It is not for me to pass judgment upon the differences between them in that respect. I am merely dealing with principles, and I warn honorable members that it is too late now in Australian history to apply a policy of coercion to working men. They have come out of the abyss. In the days before organization, when men - aye, and women and children also - tried to sell their labour as individuals, they did so infear and trembling and in peril of their lives, because they knew that the thing they had to bargain about was life itself. As Shakespeare put it -
You take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
And so, in days gone by, these children of toil made their bargains in fear and trembling, often with cruel taskmasters. Out of that condition of bargaining there grew up on the one side an industrial despotism more unrelenting than has ever cursed any country, and on the other side there developed a condition of slavery more ab ject and pitiable than ever existed in countries openly slave-ridden. That was the state of affairs out of which the workers of Great Britain and the workers, too, of Australia emerged. They knew their own history. The leaders of the trade union movement, the leaders and torch bearers who had emerged from the condition of slavery to which I have referred, knew what they and those near and’ dear to them had suffered. They had seen men crushed and broken on the industrial wheel. They had seen women in whom every semblance of womanhood had been destroyed. They had seen children robbed of their natural inheritance - the chattels of the industrial system. Out of all this there grew up organization’ and unionism, men no longer going secretly and individually to make their bargains, but standing shoulder to shoulder as comrades and friends determined to sink or swim together. That is organization, and that is unionism. They looked back upon the past, and said that such things should never occur again. In Australia - in this fair land - at all events, such things should never be. But a very curious thing happened, and that was that with the organization of men and the development of unionism, there came, notwithstanding the past, a remarkable spirit of sweet reasonableness and patience. For the most part organized labour said, “We do not wish to force our views upon you, now that we possess the strength and the power: We are prepared to deal with you under a system of arbitration. We are prepared to permit our differences to be settled by a judicial tribunal.” What did my friends opposite say when that proposal was made? Did they welcome it? Not at all They fought it tooth and nail, yet they now talk of driving the seamen back into the Arbitration Court. One day we see the metropolitan press foaming at the mouth and cursing arbitration, and the next foaming again at the mouth, and insisting that the men should take advantage of the Arbitration Court, which the previous day they had cursed or derided as the humour seized them. They cannot have it both ways. Have honorable members opposite ever heard of the Single Purpose League? Did they carefully read the leading articles in their newspapers before they committed themselves to give their unbounded allegiance to the great system of arbitration we have set up in this country ? Labour; notwithstanding its strength, did not say as it was entitled to say, “We shall sell our labour on conditions and at prices of our own choosing.”
– Then the. unions do not want the Arbitration Court?’ They just demand things.
– My querulous friend wants to know, “What about the Seamen’s Union ?” I have already said that I express no opinion whatever, on. the merits of the matter with which the Seamen’s. Union is concerned; I am dealing with principles. First of all, I am stating the fact that honorable members opposite who desire that the unions should take advantage of arbitration are not such wholesale and pure merino advocates of the arbitration system themselves. I say now that there is no law in this country to compel any man to take advantage of the Arbitration. Court. There is no law to compel him to be a member of an organization. It seems almost absurd to have to point that out to those who have been so keen on getting men out of their organization.
– Honorable members opposite know nothing about arbitration.
– They do not Examining the matter of principle, the Seamen’s Union, as I read the news papers, have only returned to that condition of affairs which, existed before the arbitration system was introduced, when, as I have said, men stood together and said,. “These are our conditions. These are the wages we demand. Observe these conditions and pay these wages or, we shall not accept your work.”’ But underlying this bill - and this is. one of the main reasons why I say it is directed against the industrial movement and the organizations - is the “poisonous propaganda” that has appeared: in the press; and was mouthed by the Prime Minister in obedience to the press. Underlying all this is the determination of the Government to try to make individuals scapegoats for the acts of organizations’. They cannot do it. If they tell me that this or that body of men is being led by the nose by this or that man, I say “ You flatter the individual, because there is no body of men in Australia that will be led by the nose by any individual.” The industrial organizations put their leaders in the positions which they occupy in the open parliament of their organizations. By their votes they select them because of their capacity. They keep them in their position as leaders so long as they want them. They can get rid of them if they choose, and they have a very prompt way of doing so when it occurs to them that it should be done. They put them out when they are done with them.
– By a secret ballot.
– At all events, by the most effective means that lies to their hands.
– Yes, that is more like it.
– The members of an organization control the situation, and not any individual man. It is a littles absurd that it should be suggested in this Parliament that we have to pass legislation not only to protect the whole community against one or two men, but to protect the tender buds in the unions from the dreadful operations- of their organizers and leaders. Honorable members opposite should have a little more experience of union meetings. They should occasionally go to the Trades Hall. They might take with them a suitable bodyguard to secure admission: into the meeting room, and they would find that no single man runs any organization that meets at the Trades Hall. I pay the greatest attention to what my fellowcraftsman, the honorable member for Kooyong, says, although he does belong to a different and stricter union than 1 do. I think I pointed out before on the floor of this House that it is the business of my branch of the profession to do the work, and of the branch to which the honorable member for Kooyong .belongs, to draw the fees. But that is a -matter about which I am quite sure we shall never quarrel. We are both so incurably wedded to the principles of unionism, and the rules of our separate organizations, that we are never likely seriously to fall out. He asks members of this party what we would do about it. I have an answer to that, and it is that we would apply the laws of this country to offences committed in this country, the civil laws to civil matters, and the criminal laws to criminal offences. We do not meet it with vague generalities. We would not deal with it in such phrases as that used by the honorable member for Kooyong, “ These poisoners of the body politic,” which is a striking phrase, with no meaning. We do not adopt the language of the Prime Minister, who says there are persons in this country who are out of harmony with the -social ideals of Australia. I am perhaps not quoting his exact words, but that was the effect of them. I have to tell the right honorable gentleman that I am out of ‘harmony with his social ideals, and that it is quite possible that there is a large variety of social ideals in this country. The mistake honorable gentlemen opposite make is that they suppose that the social ideals of this country are settled either in the offices of the Argus or .the Age, or in the Athenaeum Club, or Flinders-lane. The social ideals of this country are as wide as Australia itself. They include the social ideals of my friends - and many of them are my friends - of the Seamen’s Union - the men who come out of ‘the stokehole stripped to the waist, with the perspiration running down their bodies. If any honorable member supporting the Government were to work for half an hour, or even to remain for half an ‘hour, in one of those stokeholes, if he came out alive he would be ‘for the rest of his days a hearty sympathizer -with the ideals, social and otherwise, of the Seamen’s Union. The social ideals of the men who come out of the stokehole are not the social ideals of the Prime Minister’s supporters. We cannot deal with this matter in vague generalities. To borrow a phrase from the late illustrious, but now not so illustrious, right. honorablemember for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes), we must “ face realities,” and the great reality we on this side have to face is that we are ambitious for Australia to be a democracy in fact, and not merely in name. Our ideal is to secure and maintain for every worker in this community all the rights of a free Australian, with liberty to pursue what ideals he likes. Our concern is with fundamental rights, not with fetishes, not with clubs, but with humanity. That is the difference between us and honorable members opposite. We shall never descend to the passing of legislation to pursue a vendetta against this, that, or the other person. When we get into power we shall pass equal laws for all the people, and shall depend upon our criminal code to deal with malefactors, and the copious tomes of our legislation for every phase of the administration of the law. My last words to the Government to-night are: Pull off your dogs of war, and get down to this matter in the only spirit in which it can be handled. I do not know the merits of it in detail, but a deputation waited upon the Prime Minister yesterday.; and to-day what are the members of it charged with by the .press? They are charged, not with militancy, but with meekness. Yesterday they were too militant, to-day they are too meek. It is the hardest thing in the world to create a psychology suitable to the gentlemen who draw their dividends from Collins-street and Flinders-lane. Call off your dogs of war, and realize that you are -not dealing with one .man, but with bodies of men. Try to realize that you are dealing .with Australians like yourselves. Abandon the policy of coercion and get back to conciliation. Do you think that these men against whom this legislation is specially directed are of some inferior clay, that they will not respond to reason, and that they have no ideals ? Believe me, they have ideals, and perhaps honorable members have yet to find that out. Treat with them in that spirit, recognize them for what they are, dissociate yourselves -from the prattle about foreigners and .communists, who register on a test a vote of about 300 or 400 for the whole of Australia. Drop all this talk about a foreign element in the country and face the real issue, which is a contract of men with men. The right honorable gentleman said that some of the men who come to Australia have minds poisoned with the persecution suffered by them in the lands from which they came. I say that they come not with their minds poisoned with persecution, but with their minds informed and illuminated by the conditions they have seen in other countries, and with a determination that those conditions shall not subsist in the country of their adoption. And my Imperialist friends, do not, I beg of you, imagine that you can deport men who are British subjects and have been 30 or 40 years in this country. Will they be sent back to Great Britain or left on a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean, or in the Malay Archipelago? I say to honorable members on the Government side, “ Have the courage to do the right thing. Make up your minds for yourselves. Do not read to-morrow’s leading articles.” Honorable members opposite, in their hearts, know that this talk of a foreign element, of a war upon society, and of the holding up of the body politic is all humbug. They know that there is industrial trouble, and nothing more, and that, like other industrial troubles, it cannot be settled by the worn out weapon of coercion.
.- The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has given us a delightful view of things in general. He has talked to us about the emancipation of the wage slave, about the old times which everybody deplores, and about the better times which are the pride, not only of Australia, but also of the world. I remind my honorable friend that the men who won these victories for labour are not here today. Only a few of the men who made labour powerful and organized it as a force that commended itself to every section of the community are now with us. The men who bore the heat and burden of the day were driven out of the Labour movement. I am glad to say that in South Australia we have a sane Labour party. I think I can claim to know something about public opinion in my state, and I say, without hesitation, that 90 per cent. of the members of the Labour party there believe in their hearts that the bill is a wise one, and they wish it had been in existence six or seven weeks ago. With the exception of the “red” wing, 80 per cent. of the members of the Labour party in Victoria hold a similar view. A desperate remedy is being applied to a desperate situation. The extremists are destroying the Labour movement throughout Australia, for they are undermining the industries of this country. I am glad that the interests of the community are at last being considered. In the United States of America those interests receive first consideration, the trade unions being debarred from political activities. Canada has at last commenced to study the needs of the community, and the results have been beneficial both to Labour and the people generally. Industrial disputes are settled in a most efficient and inexpensive manner at a round-table conference, and, as a result, the wheels of industry do not cease to run. Representatives of the workers and the employersin an industry in which a dispute arises meet, and the Government appoints a man to represent the community. It is high time to consider the interests of the community in Australia.
– What was done at Mount Gambier to the late Mr. Tom Price?
– Although he was a Labour Premier in South Australia, if he were living to-day he would curse the Labour party up hill and down dale. If John Abel McPherson were amongst us, I should like to hear him tell honorable members opposite what they have done for Labour.
Several honorable members interjecting,
– Order! Will the honorable member resume his seat? I think that the House has had plenty of liberty, and I do not propose to allow this disturbance to go any further. I rely on honorable members for assistance.
– Why should the honorable member curse us?
– I name the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony).
– I hope that the honorable member will withdraw his remark and apologize to the Chair. I am sure that he did not intentionally depart from the ordinary rules of debate, and I feel sure that he wishes to assist in maintaining the dignity of Parliament.
– If I said anything that is a reflection on you, Mr. Speaker, I certainly withdraw it. I desired to direct your attention to the remarks of the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster), which I considered to be a curse pronounced on honorable members on this side of the House. If you consider that to be a reflection upon yourself and contrary to the decorum of the House, I withdraw and apologize.
– I think that the honorable member for Dalley knows that he was named for provocative and obstructive conduct, which culminated in the interjection that he made to the honorable member for Wakefield. I accept his withdrawal, and hope that the House will learn the lesson that parliamentary debate must proceed in silence.
– If I have seriously reflected upon anybody I sincerely regret it. The public will have an opportunity to-morrow to judge for itself as to the merits of the case under discussion. The people are giving serious thought to the subject in every part of Australia, and particularly in the outlying portions of the Commonwealth. Side by side with the apologetic and irrelevant remarks of honorable members opposite, they will be able to read in the press the lucid and instructive statement of the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham), whom I thank warmly for the service he has rendered. The people will gather from the evening press that already 210 ships are on the point of being laid up, resulting in 6,000 seamen and others being unemployed. The shipping trouble is only beginning, but Parliament should do all in its power to0 restore industrial peace. The conditions imposed by the extremists in the Labour party have made the continuance of the Commonwealthowned shipping fleet an absolute impossibility. They have flouted the Federal Arbitration Court the medium by which they have obtained most of the privileges they now enjoy. By the continual promotion of industrial unrest they are destroying Australian industries. Whilst countries against which Australia has to compete in the markets of the world are seeking every day to increase their industrial efficiency, that of Australia is being steadily decreased; and no tariff, however high, can save our industries if Australian flesh and blood will not rally to their support. This Government would have been recreant to its trust if it had not proposed these drastic laws, and it must apply them when the necessity arises. I believe that the very existence of these provisious upon the statute-book will promote industrial peace, and I am confident that they will yield fruit a hundredfold in the interests of labour and the community generally.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Coleman) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– I was unavoidably absent from the House on Thursday and Friday last when the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson) made very grave charges against a Government official in his constituency. I regard it as my duty to place the full facts before the House. On the 25th June, the honorable member for the Northern Territory said that Major Story was relieved of his command of the 37th Battalion after the battle of Messines as the result of an inquiry into his conduct and the manner in which he behaved under fire. That was tantamount to an accusation of lack of courage. The second charge was that Major Story was practically cashiered out of the army, and the third was that he received employment in the delousing depot and later with the Comforts Fund department, where he was again court-martialled for selling to French civilians goods belonging to the Comforts Fund. On the 26th June the honorable member made a further statement, in which he repeated the charges. He said, amongst other things, that Major Story commanded the 37th Battalion temporarily, and was in charge of its attack at the battle of Messines, and that after the armistice he and Lieutenant F. G. Harris, an officer of the permanent staff, were court-martialled together on a charge of selling army comforts to civilians. No graver charges could be made against any man than those the honorable member has made under the cloak of parliamentary privilege. Had these accusations not been made under the ‘protection afforded by parliamentary privilege, the honorable member .would have been liable to prosecution upon a criminal charge, and, if convicted, to imprisonment with hard labour. I shall relate to the House the facts as disclosed by the files, which are available at my department for perusal by honorable members. I hope that the honorable member for the Northern Territory will take an opportunity of consulting the files in . order to verify the statements I shall make. Major Story was charged with “ conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he at the delousing camp, Australian Base Depot, Havre, on or about the 14th June, 1919, improperly authorized the sale of certain Australian comforts goods when he was not entitled to do so.” The Judge Advocate General stated on the 31st December, 1919 -
Tlie evidence submitted in this case is not strong, depending almost entirely upon the evidence of Lieutenant Harris, but is sufficient, I think, to justify trial of the accused upon the charge submitted. In view of the fact that Lieutenant Harris is also accused of offence in connexion with the disposal of Australian Comforts Fund goods, &c, I am of opinion that his trial should be completed before Major Story is brought to trial.
The most important witness was Lieutenant F. G. Harris, who was returned from Australia to undergo trial on a similar charge, . namely, “ disposing of comfort goods, &c.” He was found guilty, and cashiered from the service. At that time he was quartermaster of the Australian Base Reception Camp, Havre, where Major Story was stationed when the offence is alleged to have been committed. On the 8th January, 1920, a summary of evidence was taken in connexion with the charge against Major Story, and on the 16th of that month Brigadier-General C. H. Jess, G.O.C., Australian Imperial Force, minuted the file -
As there is no evidence to substantiate any of the statements of Lieutenant Harris, but, on tlie -contrary, there is evidence to disprove same, there is no charge against Major Story, who is to be at once released from custody.
It is quite clear from that record that Major Story was not court martialled and was not cashiered. With regard to the statement that that officer was relieved of his command in the 37th Battalion after the battle of Messines as the result of an inquiry into his conduct, and the manner in .which he behaved under fire, tlie records show that he was in command, not of the 37th Battalion, but of a company only. The battalion was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W. J. Smith. The following extract from a memorandum by Major-General. Sir John Monash relates to Major Story’s conduct at Messines -
The short facts are as follows : - On the occasion of the offensive on the 7th June, Major Story commanded a company of the 37th Battalion with orders to capture the green line. After advancing towards the green line this company again withdrew to the vicinity of the black Une. There is strong reason for believing that this withdrawal was actually ordered by Major Story, but, after inquiry, I came to the conclusion that there was not sufficient evidence available on which a definite charge of any specific impropriety could be laid against this officer. I found, however, on the report of his brigadier, and upon his own statement in writing, that he had displayed such shortcomings under the stress of battle, that I ought to convey to him a mark of my displeasure. I, therefore, instructed his brigadier to inform Major Story that I viewed his actions on the date in question so unfavorably, that I would not be prepared hereafter to recommend Major Story for a higher command than that of a company until he had satisfied me that he was able to command a company in action creditably and efficiently.
Major Story did temporarily command the 37th Battalion from the 11th of August, 1918, to the 13th September, 1918. That, honorable members will see, was more than a year after the battle of Messines. On the 13th of September, 1918, Major Story wrote a letter regarding the proposed disbandment of the battalion, and I ask honorable members to pay attention to this. At that time sufficient reinforcements were not available to bring all the battalions up to strength, and lots were -drawn to determine which battalions should be disbanded in order to strengthen the others. Amongst “the unfortunate battalions was the 37th. The 37th Battalion was the one to be disbanded. I was “in the field at the time, and I remember what occurred. There was a considerable amount of feeling over the matter, and Major Story wrote what was undoubtedly an injudicious letter protesting in no measured language against the breaking up of his battalion. The letter was a bit “ over the odds,” and he was really suspended for that reason. I emphasize that this happened nearly a year and a half after ‘the battle of Messines, so that his suspension had nothing whatever to do with what occurred at Messines. In his -efforts to protect the battalion which he loved he acted unwisely, and was sent to England. Subsequently, realizing what he had done, he wrote, apologizing for his stater ments, and pointing out the conditions under which he was induced to make them. This is the true history of the case as shown by the files in connexion with the charges. It is inconceivable that any honorable member of this House should under cover of privilege bring such charges against an officer whether he be in the civil service or one of the dregs of the streets. The honorable member charged Major Story with dishonesty, with theft, with want of courage, and with everything that is valued by and sacred to. any human being.What opportunity had Major Story to reply? None whatever. I admit that the honorable member, in justifying the charge, declared that, he wished to protect his constituency. Does he really ask the House to believe that he is protecting his constituency by so defiling a member of the staff? It is the most unwarrantable charge that I ever heard made in or out of the House, under cover of privilege. It is most disgraceful. In my opinion the charge is absolutely unwarranted. I say this with considerable feeling. The file and everything; in connexion with the matter shows that all the charges brought by the honorable member for the Northern Territory are absolutely untrue, and on behalf of one of my comrades at the war I can only say that the files give him the lie direct.If the honorable member is not satisfied with my statement let him do the only thing that is possible in the circumstances. Let him spend some time with an unbiased mind in an examination of the file in. order to get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Or if he is not then satisfied, let him furnish the House with information that may be in his possession.
– I do not think he will depend on the file.
– That may be the honorable member’s opinion.
Mr.Brennan. - It is.
– I say with extreme reluctance that these scurrilous attacks on Major Story savour of the sower, and my only regret is that they cannot be expunged from the records of this House.
Mr. NELSON (Northern Territory) able the Minister (Sir Neville Howse) proposes to place the file in connexion with the charges which I have made on the table of the House, so that they may be available to honorable members. I t hi nk, however, that he should also produce the files in connexion with my charges against Lieutenant-Colonel W. J. Smith and Lieutenant F. G. Harris.
– Ask for them.
– I am doing so, and have done so previously. I should like to repeat that I have as much honour as the honorable gentleman who has just resumed his seat, and that if, after a perusal of the file, I am satisfied that I was wrong, I will publicly apologize. Up to the present I am not in a position to do that, for the simple reason that the information upon which I made the charges was given to me on what I regarded as good authority, and it has not yet been disproved. It would be only fair to put on record the reasons that haveled up to my making these charges. May 1 explain thatI was driven to make the charges because I had previously charged Major Story with maladministration, with illegal action in connexion with the ballot, and with lying to the administrator of the Northern Territory when asked for information that was required for the guidance of this House,and on every occasion no action was taken ? I was. reluctant to make the charges, but I felt that there was no other way of securing redress for my constituents. Honorable members will, perhaps, recall that I also made changes against other officials. The Minister to-night was silent in regard to them. Wo have been told that the authorities were satisfied with personal explanations from the individuals concerned. I have no. wish to detain the House, because I shall have an opportunity of perusing the files and arriving at a decision in conjunction with other evidence with which I have been furnished. I can assure honorable members that I will approach the consideration of this matter with an unbiased mind, and, if I find that I have made a wrong statement I will be the first to apologize. I shall reserve any further remarks which I may have to make until I have examined the files.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 10.59 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 July 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1925/19250701_reps_9_110/>.