9th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
The following paper was presented: -
New Guinea Report to the League of Nations on the Administration of the Territory of New Guinea from 1st July, 1923, to . 30th June, 1924.
Ordered to be printed.
– When will the Treasurer bo able to give the information for which I asked a fortnight ago, regarding the state loans maturing during the current financial year?
– The information is being obtained as speedily as possible. It has been necessary to write to each of the State Governments in order to secure the details for which the honorable member has asked.
AgriculturalImplements - T ar iff Board’s Investigations.
– In the absence of the Minister for Trade and Customs, I ask the Prime Minister when the report of the Tariff Board upon the incidence of duties on agricultural implements will be made available ?
– The report has just reached the Government, and I hope it will be made available to honorable members in the near future.
– At an early date Parliament will be considering a revision of the tariff. Will the Prime Minister see that the evidence tendered before the Tariff Board, as well as the reports of that body, are supplied to honorable members?
– An estimate which was prepared showed that the cost of printing the whole of the evidence would be too great, but I shall have the matter further considered.
– Can the Prime Minister say when the annual report of the Inspector-General ‘ of the Commonwealth Military Forces will be available to honorable members.
– I understand that the report has been submitted to the Minister, who, unfortunately, is ill. I expect that it will be released during the next few days.
-A returned soldier.. Herbert Fitzroy Purcell, was supplied by the Repatriation Department with machinery to the value of £175, with which to equip a boot repairing shop. Finding after a few months that the business was not profitable,Purcell arranged for the return of the complete plant to the department. It was sold by the department at public auction, and realized £38. The department has now issued a default summons against the soldier for the balance of the amount, namely £13614s. 5d. Does the Government approve of such cowardly and callous treatment of diggers 1
– Order !
– Does the Government approve of the action of the department? If it does not, will it take steps to see that the diggers are protected against such actions?
– As an old parliamentarian, the honorable member must be aware that questions without notice arc restricted to matters of urgency, and this question docs not come within that category. Moreover, an honorable member is not permitted to import into questions statements or imputations. I ask the honorable member to put his question upon the notice-paper,
– Will the Prime Minister see that a special effort is made to present at least an interim balancesheet of the Commonwealth Shipping Line, in time to be considered by honorable members in. conjunction with the Treasurer’s budget statement ?
– I shall inquire if that can be done.
– When the Estimates were under consideration last year, the Minister for Trade and Customs promised that he would seriously consider the advisability’ of supplying to 1 lighthousekeepers wireless receiving sets, so that those isolated servants of the Commonwealth might share, with other sections of the community, one of the minor enjoyments of life. Can the Treasurer say whether that is to be done?
– The honorable member must realize that it is impossible for me to carry in my mindall details of departmental estimates. When the budget speech is delivered the honorable member will, I hope, receive all the information he desires.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Yes. The results show that under most favorable conditions the yield of alcohol is about 0.5 per cent, by weight. This is equivalent to about 1 gallons of spirit per ton of pear. 7. (a) Stated by various persons to be from 26 to 30 million acres.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Is it a fact that many growers of doradillo grapes in the Murray Valley are in a serious position financially and need assistance; if so, will he favorably consider the question of financial assistance against the value of spirit at present with the distillers?
– The matter is being inquired into, and a reply will be furnished later.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Markets and Migration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The particulars desired by the honorable member are not available at present, but efforts will be made to furnish them for his information at an early date.
asked the Prime Minister, 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 Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– I assume that the honorable member refers to the buildings on the block at the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth streets. Onthe frontage to Little. Bourke-street, a building for the telegraph office and other purposes is now in course of. erection, and will probably be completed by the middle of next year. This structure is designed to form part of a building extending to Elizabethstreet, to be erected when, such further accommodation is required. It cannot at present be said when circumstances will necessitate the completion of the scheme of construction.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What is the approximate amount collected during the last financial year, under the Entertainments Tax, on prices for admission as follows: - On . 1s. tickets (a) for pictures, (b) dancing, and (c) all other entertainments; together with the ?ame information relating to 1s.6d. tickets?
– The information is being obtained, and will be furnished to the honorable member as soon as possible.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What was the total value of picture film.3 imported into Australia in the last financial year from (<r) Great Britain, (6) United States of America, (c) all other countries; together with the quantity in feet and amount of duty paid under each ‘heading?
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Whether he will inform the House as to the number of branches of the Commonwealth Bank established since the death of Sir Denison Miller, and also since the establishment of the new Board of Directors.
– The number of branches opened since the death of Sir Denison Miller is as follows : -
Full branches, 4: Savings Banks, 12: total, 16. Included in that total arc the following branches opened since the appointment of the Board of Directors: - Full branches, 1: Savings Banks, 5: total, 0.
Debate resumed from 8th July (vide page 814), on motion by Mr. Bruck -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Charlton had moved, by way of amendment. -
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.”
– The bill has been introduced to enable the Government to control the introduction into Australia of foreign migrants.. The Opposition is trying to throw dust in the eyes of the electors by attempting to discredit the Government- on a charge of encouraging Italians and other migrants from Southern Europe to land in Australia. The very fact that a clause in the bill is designed to bring about the more effective control of immigration is an answer to that charge. Both the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) and the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page), when speaking the other night, made it clear that the Government had arranged to introduce the quota system as far as the introduction of foreign migrants was concerned. It cannot be too often repeated that the Commonwealth Government does not in any way give any encouragement or assistance, either morally or financially, to other than British migrants to come to the Commonwealth. The fact remains, however, that we cannot hope to hold indefinitely this empty Australia of ours. We must be prepared to populate ifc, and it may happen that some day we shall be told so, possibly not by means of peaceful penetration. Some years ago a representative of China visited Australia, and when he returned to his own country he was reported to have said -
I saw more trees than men. The Almighty gave Australia to Australians, nml they could not use it, so He took it away from them and gave it to the English. If the English do not use it He will undoubtedly take it away from them.
In that statement is a moral which the people of Australia, should not ignore. The speech by the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. E. Riley) illustrated the extraordinary development of Australia during the last 140 years. I agree with him that we have done well with a population of only 6,000,000. Our long lines of railways, our wonderful telegraph system, and our splendid harbour and river improvements, are all very creditable, but one has only to travel, for instance, in the north of Queensland, or in the great state of Western Australia, to see the extraordinary amount of development that has yet to take place, and to realize the great necessity for more population. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), and also the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley), in their speeches quoted extensively from the report of Royal Commissioner Ferry on alien immigration to North Queensland. Neither of these honorable gentlemen were prepared to include in their speeches any favorable reference to the Italians. The following statement was published in the. Brisbane Labour paper known as the Daily Standard, and it appears also on page 15 of the Royal Commissioner’s report: -
Royal Commissioner Ferry, in his report on alien immigration to North Queensland, referred to the Italian as a unionist as follows: -
The following testimonies were given by three experienced members of the Australian Workers Union, and similar references were given by others: -
Another Australian Workers’ representative said -
The evidence also shows that the Italian children are well cared for, and sent regularly to schools, and later, when his means permit, to the secondary schools.
Mr. Theodore, the exPremier of Queensland, also made a reference to the Italians, and he, speaking at Townsville, was reported as follows: -
The ex-Premier (Mr. Theodore) declared that morally there could be nothing wrong with the Italians coming to the country. The country required population, and that if it required population it was foolish to rave against people coming in.
Some of the Brisbane pressmen thought that these remarks were in conflict with statements made by the Queensland State Government, so they approached Mr. Gillies, the present Premier, who is reported to have said -
On the contrary, Mr. Theodore’s remarks are quite in accord with my own. The Cabinet is fully alive to the necessity for peopling the North, and is also aware that many Italians have gone on the land and have become good settlers.
I recently visited the far north of Queensland, and as alien immigration is a very live question throughout the Commonwealth, I decided to make inquiries about it. I consulted the officials of the police wherever I met them, and also various business men, and almost without exception their report was that the Italians were law-abiding, honest in. their financial dealings, good workers, and their morals all that could be desired. I do not wish it to be suggested for a moment that I am here to advocate the introduction into Australia of these people, but it is only right that I should place some facts on record to show that the Italians are not of a poor type, as the Opposition would lead those living in the southern states to believe. As a matter of fact the Queensland Labour Government has ample power to prevent aliens from being employed in the sugar industry in any capacity.
The honorable member for Darling in particular pretended to be greatly distressed because a number of these men were employed cutting cane in Forth Queensland. He quoted figures to show the proportion of Italians employed in certain sugar areas as compared with British. He did not attempt to give the figures for the whole industry, but made it appear from those he quoted that the industry had been overcrowded by Italians. I remind the honorable member that on the Queensland statute-book is a measure known as the Sugar Cultivation Act of 1913. That legislation was introduced by a Libera] government, and it empowers the authorities to apply the dictation test to any person engaged in the sugar industry either as a grower or a labourer. A large number of Italians has been attracted to the sugar industry in North Queensland. I had a consultation with the president of one of the unions, in the course. of which I asked him how he got on with Italians. He replied that his organizers had no trouble in inducing the Italians to become members of various unions, that already 1,000 of them were registered as such, each paying £1 a year to the funds of the unions, and that the only fault he could find with, these Italian people was that they worked too hard.
– I have already pointed out that I do not advocate the unrestricted admission of these people to this country, but it is only fair to the Italians, and to the Government, to give the other side of the case to that presented by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), and the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley).
– I agree absolutely with Gillies and Theodore.
– It is refreshing to find the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) in agreement with even one person. The Government of Queensland, without reference to the Commonwealth Government, may, under existing legislation, practically debar any person from engaging in the sugar industry. The act that I have mentioned is entitled “ An act to prohibit the employment of certain forms of labour in the production of sugar, and for other incidental purposes.” As sections 2, 3 and 4 of that act enable the Labour Government of Queensland to deal effectively with the position, which honorable members who have spoken have stated is so unsatisfastory, I shall place them on record. Section 2 reads -
In this act the expression “ Certificate of having passed the dictation test “ means a certificate under the hand of a state officer, authorized for that purpose by the Secretary for Agriculture, that, when the’ said officer has dictated to the person concerned, not less than 50 words in such language as the Secretary for Agriculture may direct, such person has correctly written them out in that language in the presence of the said officer.
Under that section any person may be prevented from engaging in the sugar industry in Queensland, as it is a simple matter to require a foreigner to write a number of words in a language of which he has no knowledge whatever.
– Is that provision insisted upon ?
– It is for the honorable member himself to supply an answer to his question. I have given the law of Queensland. The complaint of honorable members opposite, and of members of the Queensland Parliament, is that the Commonwealth Government is endeavouring to bring these foreigners here, and that they are engaging in . the industry to the detriment of Britishers. I am now showing that the State Government can take such action as will prevent this happening. The definition of “occupier” is as f ollows : -
The expression “ Occupier “ includes owner in fee simple or for any less estate, and lessee for life or for any term of years, or at will, and whether on the share system or otherwise, and any occupier under any form of tenancy or agreement whatever, whether express or implied, with the owner of the land.
Section 3 is important, as it provides that certain persons may . be prevented from growing sugar-cane. It is well known that a number of foreigners who have come to Australia have invested considerable sums of money in purchasing sugar plantations. Under the act the Government of Queensland has power to deal with them. The section reads -
After the passing of this act, it shall be unlawful for any person who has not first obtained in the prescribed manner a certificate of having passed the dictation test to engage in or carry on the cultivation of sugarcane upon any land within Queensland of which such person, whether individually or in partnership or association with others, is the occupier.
Any such person who acts in contravention of this section shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding £100, and the crop of sugarcane so being cultivated shall be liable to be forfeited to His Majesty by order of the court before which the offence is proved.
Section 4 provides that certain persons shall not be employed in the sugar industry, and reads -
After the passing of this act -
Any person who has not first obtained a certificate of having passed the dictation test who is employed in or in connexion with such industry; shall be guilty of an offence, and shall he liable to the penalties following: -
These penalties are very drastic. While it may be said that the Commonwealth Government should have taken earlier actionto prevent these people from coming co Australia, it is clear that the Labour Government of Queensland has ample power to deal with the position now they are here. No person can reasonably say that the Commonwealth Government is to blame because a few hundreds of foreigners are engaged in the sugar industry. Let me quote Mr. Jones and Mr. McCormack, two Ministers of the preseut Labour Government of Queensland. Under the heading, “Mr. Jones and the Foreign Influx,” this report has been published - “The burning question on the north-east coast is the influx of Italians,” declared the Minister for Mines yesterday, after a long trip in the northern regions. “ About 300 travelled up on the sarnie train as I did,” said the Minister, “ I find the complaint is not altogether new, for the police magistrate at Ingham told me there were this season 87 gangs of cane-cutters registered, and only seven of the number are British. A gang consists of nine persons, therefore of 983 canecutters, only seven are not foreigners. Not seven gangs, but seven persons, and these gangs are not of recent comers.”
Mr. McCormack is reported by the Daily Mail as follows: -
Some strong statements regarding the Italian influx were made by the Minister for Lands (Mr. W. McCormack) when discussing his recent northern tour.
Mr. McCormack said he made a great many inquiries as to the position created by the influx of Italians. Babinda mill was not working, owing to dispute over the employment of an undue number of foreign gangs. It was obvious that the labour market had been completely glutted by the influx, and if all thu foreigners in the district got employment, is meant the displacement of a considerable number of British workmen.
It will be seen that both these Ministers complained of the conditions in this industry in northern Queensland, and placed the blame on the Commonwealth Government, whereas they have the power under their own act to adequately deal with the situation. One is tempted to say that the statements that have been made in this House and outside have been made in. order to secure a party political advantage. The remedy undoubtedly is in. the hands of the Queensland Government.
I shall support the amendment of this act, which provides for the deportation of persons who are guilty of any of the offences described in sub-clause d of section 8a, unless it can be clearly shown that such action is against the interests of legitimate trade unionism in Australia. I regard trade unions as an important factor in the trade and industry of the country, and I advocate such legal recognition of them as would tend to promote and protect the true interests of all the wage earners. I would remind members opposite that the Nationalist party is just as keen as they are in rooting out evils from the body of the community. As a member of the Nationalist party, I am not antiLabour. I am an ti -socialistic and I am anti-communistic. I believe in reasonable hours of work, in a high standard of living for every man. woman, and child in the community. I do not stand for sweated labour, or for unfair profits under the present economic system. I do not claim that the latter is all that it should be, hut until I can be convinced that there is some better system, I shall continue to support a policy that gives equal opportunity to every citizen in the community.
Proposed new section 8a, sub-section 1, paragraph d, provides that any person - who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of any State, or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law. or who advocates the abolition of organized government, or who ad voca tes the assassination of public officials may be deported. I cannot think that there is one honorable gentleman opposite who would attempt to defend any man who was guilty of any of the offences mentioned in that clause. In their hearts members of the Opposition desire to see the Labour movement cleared of many of the parasites with which it is now afflicted.
– There are some in the party to which the honorable member belongs. “Would he like to clear them out?
– Such objectionable people will attach themselves to all parties. I do not claim that we on this side are altogether free in that respect.
Some branches of the Labour movement apparently favour deportation, as is shown by the following paragraph which appeared in the Melbourne Age of the 9th July -
Federated iron workers at Lithgow have by resolution decided to ask the Prime Minister to withdraw the deportation bill, “ as in the event of the measure becoming law, should a Labour Government enter office after the next elections, the act would be forcibly exercised on Mr. Bruce himself, as it was apparent that lie was the real culprit in fomenting strikes in Australia.”
It is a poor rule that does not operate both ways. If people believe in the deportation of the present Prime Minister, they surely can have no objection to the deportation of some of the persons who have been creating a great deal of mischief lately.
I conclude by saying that I strongly object to the overthrow of constituted authority by individuals who seek a short cut to the socialization of industry by revolutionary methods, . and I shall, therefore, support the second reading of the bill.
.- I have listened with interest to the speech of the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay). Unlike the honorable member, I am opposed to the bill. One would assume from his remarks that he was as good as a Labour man. The honorable member says that he is not anti-Labour, but confesses to being anticommunistic. If that be true, he should be on this side of the House.
– If the honorable member agrees with what I said, he should be on this side of the House.
– The honorable member knows that the Labour party is opposed to communism. At the last federal
Labour conference held in Melbourne it was decided -
Communist candidates opposed Labour candidates at the recent State elections, and even for the whole of the State of New South Wales the communist vote amounted to only 1,000. J. Garden, ch leader of the communists in that State, received only about 400 votes in a strong Labour constituency. The bogy of communism will not frighten any one now. Although the communists are debarred from joining the Labour “ party, they may join the Nationalist party. The right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) said the other day that he knew of many men who were trying to disrupt Labour organizations but were in league with, and in the pay of, the employers.
– He did not say that he knew of “ many “ of them. He said he knew of one.
– Order ! Honorable members must not persist in interjecting.
– The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. . Mackay) said he was as good as a Labour man. I shall quote something to show who helped to put the honorable member for Lilley into Parliament, and whose work he is doing here. Naturally, as they supplied the sinews of war, they dictate the policy of those selected under the Nationalist banner. What I shall say has a very important bearing on industrial disputes, and will explain why men in industries organize to secure better conditions, and why it would be most unjust to deport their leaders.
– The point is, have the honorable member’s remarks a bearing on this bill ?
– They have a bearing on the deportation clauses of the bill, because many of these men behind the Nationalist party provoke the workers to strike. I allege that they are responsible for causing strikes. At a secret meeting of the Employers Federation of Queensland, held in the Union Bank Chambers, Brisbane, on the 24th January, 1922, there were some interesting revelations that greatly incensed the workers of Queensland. The meeting decided upon a certain policy for opposing the demands of the workers. The chairman of the meeting was Mr. C. W. Campbell, who is no doubt well known to the honorable member for Lilley. He said -
I would like to say this just before I sit down, that the press are excluded from this conference, so that there can be free, open discussion, and I intend to move at a later stage that a Press Committee be appointed to go through the report and decide just how much shall bi given to the press. This has been done, gentlemen, so that there may be the very fullest discussion, and you will all be at liberty to express your views as openly as you wish.
A committee was appointed, and the meeting agreed what action should be taken against trade unionism, which, the speakers said, was too aggressive. In dealing with the work of the federation, Mr. Campbell said -
It had controlled the Queensland section of the big shipping strike in 1890; acted as an advisory council to the shearers’ strike in 1891; assisted in handling the wharf strike in 1898; and conducted the big tramway strike in 1912.
The tramway strike was caused by the tramway company refusing to allow its employees when on duty to wear badges on their uniforms. Yet honorable members opposite say that they and their friends believe in trade’ unionism, and approve of men forming organizations for the betterment of their conditions. Continuing, Mr. Campbell said -
This Employers Federation used its influence in frustrating the enactment of the Unemployed Workers Bill.
– How does the honorable member connect his remarks with the bill?
– The bill relates to industrial disputes and deportations, and I am showing how the unreasonable attitude of the Employers Federation incites workers to strike. Speeches such as I am quoting show the power that is behind the honorable member for Lilley and others who share his views. The bill referred to by Mr. Campbell provided for the insurance of the workers of Queensland against unemployment, and because its provisions were beneficent the Employers Federa tion was greatly incensed, and provided funds to oppose it. Mr. Campbell further said -
I hope that all who are outside the federation will recognize the good work we have been doing and link up. Give us a helping hand.
Then he made this very significent statement -
On many and many a night we have gone up to the House when the Liberal Government was in power, and secured alterations in the legislation going through, which have all been for your benefit. They were in touch with us all the time the tramway strike was on.
– I can see no relationship between the honorable roember’3 remarks and the bill before the House.
– I am endeavouring to show the close connexion between industrial strikes and certain employers’ federations. Often men are provoked by such organizations to lead their fellow workers into a strike, and when they have done so it is against the principles of justice and freedom to deport them without a trial by their peers.
– The same might be said of drink; but we are not discussing the drink question to-day. The honorable member must show that his remarks have a direct bearing on the provisions of the bill.
– The bill is a twoedged sword. The Labour party, when it comes into power, will be able under this bill to deport those employers who provoke the workers to strike. I am endeavouring to show what the employers of Queensland did to provoke the workers of that state to strike, and I am arguing that if the workers strike as a result of such action by the employers, they should not be deported without a trial by their peers. In many cases the employers are entirely to blame. Clause 7 of the bill provides -
What greater provocation could the leaders of the union have to fight than the following words used by the employers at the secret meeting of the Queensland Employers Federation?
– From what was the honorable member quoting?
– From the official report of the proceedings of the meeting.
– Where was it published ? -
– In Queensland, and the honorable member has probably read it. General Thompson, a Nationalist senator, speaking at that meeting said -
There is another aspect of the strike matter, and that is this: Have we any machinery able to provide for armed forces? Is there any machinery to-day by which you can put your hand on some reliable force to put against the forces of-
– Hooliganism !
General Thompson. - If you have a few regulars it is wonderful what they can resist. I have seen 500 men in the shearers’ strike held up by 75 mounted infantry.
I have nothing to say against Senator Thompson personally. He comes from Rockhampton, and is a prominent member of the Employers Federation, but his views are most conservative - absolutely one-sided. An assurance was given by Mr. Campbell that those present could speak their minds, but some one made an official report of the proceedings available to some friends outside. Under provocation such as that provided by speeches like those at that meeting, it is possible when a strike is brewing for a great industrial upheaval to happen anywhere. The views expressed behind the closed doors of that meeting are held by some honorable members on the Government side of the House, although they say, in their speeches here, that they are not antagonistic to trade unionism. For what purpose was the secret meeting of the Employers Federation held ? It was held for the purpose of creating an insurance fund to help the employers of Queensland to resist the demands of trade unionism in that state. Here is what Mr. R. Bowen said at the meeting -
Now, having got the money, what is it to be used for ? It can be used, if it is found necessary, in the employers’ interests in Parliament or in the municipality.
Then he went on to refer to the Arbitration Act, and said -
Now we put through a Queensland Arbitration Act in 1916, which, to date, is thrashing us right and left, because it was thoroughly altered during the time when it went through the House, and because there was not a man in the House to closely watch it.
– The honorable member’s quotations have no relation to the bill.
– The bill contains a clause providing for the deportation of certain persons in the event of an industrial strike, and I allege that the employersin Queensland and throughout Australia have, at times, incited men to strike, and have opposed arbitration. It provides for the deportation of persons who bring about a dislocation of trade and commerce by a breach of an award, or by other means. It is designed to deal with the industrial situation that has arisen in this country. How did that situation arise ? It arose because the Arbitration Court was flouted. I submit that the representative employers of the Employers Federation in Queensland alleged that strikes had occurred because there was no one in Parliament to watch their interests.
– I advise the honorable member to take notice of what theChair has said. I repeat that his remarks have no relation to the bill.
– With all due deference to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I think that–
– The honorable member may not discuss my ruling, but he may rise to a point of order.
– I have to give some reason for rising. I wish to state my view of your ruling. This bill deals with interferences with transport arrangements either by a breach of an arbitration award or some other cause. Right through the debate it has been clearly pointed out by the Prime Minister (Mr Bruce) and other speakers that the measure is aimed at those who commit a breach of the arbitration laws. The. honorable member for Capricornia (Mr Forde) is endeavoring to put his view of the matter. I submit that what he is quoting has a direct bearing on the measure. If interference with industrial conditions by any interested party is permitted a disturbance will probably ensue. It is proposed that power should be given to deport the men who happen to be at the head of any organization responsible for such a disturbance. I hope that on reflection you, sir, will see that the matter raised by the honorable member is cognate to the bill. May I say also that almost every honorable member who has taken part in this debate has not only been allowed latitude but has also gone a good deal further han the honorable member for Capricornia.
– I think that you, sir, have allowed a fair amount of latitude to every speaker. With your permission I 3hall quote sub-clause 2 of clause 7 to show how far-reaching and how wide is the scope of this measure. It reads - (2.) When any such Proclamation is in force, the Minister, if he is satisfied that any person not horn 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 or the provision of services by any department or public authority of the Commonwealth and that the presence of that person in Australia will be injurious to the peace, order or good government of the Commonwealth, in relation to matters with respect to which the Parliament has power to make laws, may, by notice in writing, summon the person to appear before a board at the time specified in the summons and in the manner prescribed to show cause why he should not bc. deported from the Commonwealth.
I draw attention to the terms “ trade and commerce “ and “ transport,” and the variety of persons mentioned. Without wishing to in any way discuss your ruling, i* does appear to me that the bill has a very wide scope and that, without permitting the introduction of what may be termed extraneous matter, you could give speakers a fairly wide latitude. You know, sir, that in trade and commerce both an employer and an employee are concerned. Any action taken by either which creates a breach such as that referred to in the sub-clause will bring an employer or an employee within the scope of the bill. The honor- able member for Capricornia has referred to meetings that were held, speeches that were delivered, and resolutions that were passed, which were nothing less than an incitement to the workers of Australia to resist a particular organization.
– I have considered the observations of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) and the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton). Every honorable member must be acquainted with the ancient and invariable parliamentary rule regarding relevancy, according to which speakers are expected to confine themselves strictly to the matter before the Chair. The House has now before it a motion for the second reading of a bill, to which a relevant amendment has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition. The bill deals with the importation and exportation of certain classes of citizens, who are described in it. I desire honorable members to know that I have found this an extremely difficult debate to confine within proper limits, and I have had to exercise considerable discretion in the application of the rule of relevancy. Of the 32 speakers who have addressed the Chair, I have called to order at least two-thirds, when I have deemed them to have transgressed the rule strictly interpreted, and I must continue to do this. All matters are related one to another directly or indirectly, and relevancy is a question merely of degree in a discussion of this kind. Some of the subject-matter to which the honorable member for Capricornia has referred was, I think, relevant; but the quotation to which I objected was not relevant at all, as it dealt with happenings in the Queensland Parliament. So long as the honorable member for Capricornia can show that his matter applies in a close and proper way to industrial disturbances, or to any other circumstances connected with the provisions of the bill, he will be heard; but I shall not allow him to go beyond the strict definition of relevancy.
– Of course, I bow. to your ruling, sir. It is difficult, when discussing a matter of this kind, to keep within the interpretation you have given of what is relevant, but I felt that I was merely following in the footsteps of quite a number of honorable members opposite, who spent a good deal of time in condemning the Labour party for its alleged association with communism and bolshevism - matters that do not find a place in the bill. I naturally desired to expose these pernicious organizations that stand behind the Nationalist party. They incite workers to strike. At a secret meeting those persons wanted to raise a force to fight the workers. I am reminded of what occurred in the olden days, when the following platform was decided upon by a private meeting of shippers, pastoralists, merchants, members of Parliament, and other large employers of labour in New South Wales -
That plank of the proposed platform has a very important bearing on the bill, and shows how the tories of the day treated the “ good old trade unionism “ they now praise. The platform continues -
Mr. W. G. Spence, who was a Nationalist member of this Parliament, and held office in a Nationalist Ministry, was shown that document, and in his book, Australia’s Awakening, he said -
The original of the above was given to me by one who said he was present. He gave mc at the same time a good deal of verbal information, which I have since verified.
It is of no use honorable members opposite saying that they believe in trade unionism, because they are tied to political parties and wealthy interests that are identical with these to which the framers of the above platform were tied. This bill aims a blow at trade unionism.’ Because the Labour party fought for trade unionism, and men who were branded as extremists blazed the track to make the combination of employees practicable, and consideration of their claims by an Arbitration Court possible, arbitration has become popular in Australia, and certain honorable members opposite now say that they believe in trade unionism. The honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. C. McDonald) in 1893 played an important part in building up trade unionism in this country.
– Order ! The honorable member has been speaking for 25 minutes, but so far has said nothing about the bill.
– The bill provides for the deportation of those who bring about, strikes, and it also deals with alien immigration. I desire to show that men like the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Mann) would have been deported in the past had such legislation been in existence. That honorable member was the leader of a strike in Western Australia. I say nothing against him for that, because I am told that the tory government of the day were badly treating the public servants, and he successfully interested himself in a just cause. Would it have been right to deport him from Australia, to tear him from his family and send him to another country without a proper trial before a jury ? The same thing might have applied to William
Hamilton, who afterwards became President of the Queensland Legislative Council. In the early days he was engaged in a strike in Queensland, and, under a conservative government, with a band of comrades who dared to form a strike committee, was sent to jail for three years. We now have in power in the Commonwealth a tory government, which, without giving such men a trial before a. jury of their peers, would deport them to some other country. Such action will not meet with the approval of the people of Australia. Honorable members condemn extremists and trade union leaders ! It requires courage for any one to organize a big body of men who are engaged in an industry, and lead them in their industrial disputes. No one can say that the organizer or union official gains much personally by his exertions; he makes only a bare living. What is the position of the trade union leader to-day ? Honorable members opposite decry them as parasites, and as men who are endeavouring to cause industrial disturbances and bring about the dislocation of the trade and commerce of Australia. But I maintain that these men enter up’on this work, not for what they can get out of it, but from a desire to assist their fellow men by enabling them to speak as with one voice to the employers of labour. The Labour party does not believe in strikes as a general policy; on the contrary, it believes in conciliation and arbitration. It has been responsible for the establishment throughout Australia of arbitration courts. Arbitration has been advocated ever since the Labour movement began. The Labour party believes in the strict observance of arbitration court awards, and has no sympathy with anybody who would flout them. As a matter of principle, this Parliament should be opposed to the deportation without trial of any citizen of Australia. We know that it will be possible for a government constituted like that which now occupies the treasury bench to appoint a board which will be temperamentally unfitted to try these men fairly, though they will be likely to give satisfaction to the shipping combine and the employers of Australia generally. In Queensland, in 1893, absolute bias was shown by a judge at the trial of some men who were concerned in an industrial dispute. He clearly showed that it was his opinion that those men should be put in leg irons; and they were. If the Government is in a position to take the trial of industrial leaders out of the hands of a properly-constituted court, and may appoint a special tribunal for the purpose, it is possible that these men will not receive fair treatment. We should insist on i he trial, by a properly-constituted court and jury, of all persons whom ihe Government think should be deported, if this bill becomes an act. It is a provision of Magna Charta that -
No freeman shall be arrested or detained in prison, or deprived of his freehold, or outlawed, or banished, or in any way molested ; and we will not set forth against him or send against him unless by a lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.
That is a provision which should be applied to-day in dealing with industrial upheavals. The Government will find that the people of Australia will not stand for the policy they, are trying to force upon them. The action of the Labour party in connexion with industrial disputes was exemplified by the New South Wales Labour Premier, who, only the other day, instead of trying to fan the flame of unrest into a - mighty conflagration , arranged a conference between representatives of the Seamen’s Union and the Commonwealth Shipping Board. He believes in conciliation, and he brought about an agreement which, I believe, is going to put an end to what but for his action might have been a disastrous strike throughout Australia.
– He also put an end to the trouble at Mort’s Dock.
– That is so. I regard this bill as a blow aimed at trade unionism in Australia. At a meeting of the Employers Federation it was pointed out that in order to fight aggressive trade unionism a levy would have to be imposed on employers, and one man said that an armed force was necessary. These people, in their secret meetings, foment industrial trouble and strife. Now they want to arrest men who are prepared to lead their fellow workers, and give them the best that is in them, not for personal gain, but in order to uplift them. They would tear such men from their homes, and deport them without a trial to some foreign land. Surely that is not a policy which an Australian Parliament will approve. Surely honorable members do not desire that our workers shall be a body of craven sycophants in their relations with their employers. That is not the type of men we want in Australia. We want men who are prepared to join unions to say what they think, and, if necessary, become their leaders, and not men who prefer to swim with the stream and take the path of least resistance. The path of the reformer is undoubtedly a very thorny one. The men who in the past have been foremost in bringing about reforms from which the world benefits to-day were branded as extremists in their time, and it was thought by some that they should be deported from the countries in which they lived. They were extremists who, under Garibaldi, united Italy, and by some their efforts were considered detrimental to the interests of their country. They were extremists who, under Bismarck, organized Germany. They were extremists who built up the great Republic of the United States of America, and were responsible for the independence which that country celebrates on the 4th July. Honorable members opposite will not forget that only recently the Prime Minister sent a message of congratulation to the American Government on that day. They were extremists who liberated 17,000,000 of slaves in the United States of America. Will honorable members suggest that if in their day those reformers had been departed without a trial by jury from the countries in which they lived it would have been a good thing for the present generation? It is to men who were regarded as extremists that we owe our British liberty and freedom. Magna Charta was won by such men. practically at the point of the sword. Are we going to repress the virile spirit which has been responsible for all reforms? They were extremists who were behind the Ballarat stockade, but they won for the miners of Australia the freedom and liberty which they enjoy to-day.
– Not only for the miners.
-Their efforts have benefited the working class generally. A reward of £500 was offered for the capture, dead or alive, of Peter Lalor, who had the courage to lead the men, not for personal gain, but for the uplifting of the working people of this country. Peter Lalor lived to see the day when he was honoured by his fellow citizens, and eventually elevated to this very chamber, and to the chair now occupied by you, Mr. Speaker. Surely we do not desire to crush that spirit in our Australian manhood. Honorable members opposite will be making a very big mistake if they think they can crush it. The deportation of any of the leaders of unionism would only serve to galvanize organized labour throughout Australia into a great sympathetic strike. Many of the unions in Australia have no sympathy with the views of the leaders of the Seamen’s Union, but if these are taken from their home and deported without a trial to some other country, every unionist in Australia will be stirred to strike, and make great sacrifices, if necessary, to resist the deportation of leaders of unions engaged in fighting for a concession for their members. The Government will make one of the greatest mistakes in its career if it proceeds to deport any one from Australia without a trial in a properly constituted court. The extreme measure proposed by the Government will do more harm than good. The Labour party does not hold itself responsible for the actions of certain individuals in the present dispute, but, as a matter of principle, it is opposed to the method proposed by the Government for dealing with the leaders of industrial unions. We believe that, instead of bringing about the settlement of industrial disputes, the adoption of such a method will foment strikes and trouble, and bring thousands of workers into the strife who to-day are not engaged in any dispute. We have had evidence of the conciliatory spirit displayed by the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, the Marine Cooks, Butchers and Bakers Association, the Waterside Workers Federation, the Sydney Coal Lumpers Union, the Federated Marine Stewards and Pantrymen’s Association, and, indeed, all the unions comprising the transport group. They were prepared to sign, and have signed, the following statement: -
Should the Seamen’s Union flout the agreement under which they sign on any vessel, and persist in preventing the sailing of ships or exercise job control, this group will bring all possible pressure to bear on the union to observe the conditions aforesaid, and if the union continues in its attitude it will be isolated from the group. In the event of these measures not being successful tlie transport group will not oppose any measures affecting the manning of the ships to permit of their continued running.
These men are to-day .prepared to observe Arbitration Court awards, but if the Government deports industrial leaders, the unionists of Australia will not go into the merits or demerits of the present seamen’s strike. They will consider, on principle, if there is a trace of manhood left in them, that they must stand by the union leaders whom the Government propose to treat in a manner characteristic of conservative governments of 50 years ago. As a matter of fact, honorable members opposite are of the same brand of conservatism that ruled in Australia 50 years ago. They differ from the conservative party of that time only in name. The Leader of the Country party stands for the establishment of new states in the Commonwealth, and on that ground he is regarded by some people as an extremist and a fanatic. In the early days in Victoria, “men who advocated reforms in the interests of the workers were branded as extremists and red-raggers, and a tory member said in the Victorian Parliament -
Outside were a few Trades Hall agitators who should bc deported from the country.
That is what they thought of the old type of unionist. In March.. 1884, when “ a royal commission on working-class conditions reported that children of eight and nine years of age were employed in factories instead of being sent to school, the men who sought to bring about better conditions in the factories were branded as “ Agitators,” !! Trades Hall parasites,” and men who should be taken by the neck and deported to some other country. To-day we have in our midst men who are striving to bring about better conditions for the workers. Surely that is laudable work. That is better than that they should be craven sycophants, prepared to pimp on their fellow workers in order to gain some personal favours from their employers. We should stand by those who have the courage of their convictions and will fight for a good cause. Honorable members opposite do not properly appreciate the loyalty of the workers of Australia to their leaders, and I warn the Government that if it attempts to deport industrial leaders from Australia, without a proper trial, it will bring about the greatest industrial upheaval that Australia has ever experienced.
I shall not say much on the subject of immigration, because it has been very fully dealt with by honorable members on both sides. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) referred to the influx of Italians into Queensland, and quoted from speeches made by Mr. Theodore, Mr. Gillies, and others on that subject. I do not question the opinion expressed that the Italian is a good settler and a good worker. There are some Italians in my electorate, although the bulk of them are settled further north in the electorate of the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Bamford). I can say from my experience that they are good settlers and good workers. Any criticism I pass upon Italians is not dictated by any feeling of animosity to them as a race. The opposition to Italians in Queensland is merely opposition to the excessive influx of migrants. There would be opposition to the influx of thousands of Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotchmen, or men of any other nationality to a district that could not absorb them. The cause of the trouble in North Queensland was that Italians were sent there in hundreds with the cognizance of the Commonwealth Government. Trainloads of them arrived at different centres; the local Italian population could nol; find employment for them or provide for them; and, lacking other accommodation, they and their wives and children were obliged to sleep about the railway stations. Many of them were penniless, and there was no proper system for finding employment for them or placing them on the land. In those districts many Australians were out of work, and these newcomers were competitors for the inadequate amount of employment that was available. Honorable members on this side of the House are not opposed on racial grounds to the immigration of Italians, and Mr. Ferry, the Queensland Royal Commissioner, mentioned in his report that representatives of the Australian Workers’ Union had declared Italians to be good workers and F000 unionists, who demanded a fair return for their labour. The fact must be borne in mind that the report by Mr. Ferry, who is Under-Secretary in the Queeusland
Chief Secretary’s Department, and a very able officer, deals not only with Italians, but also with Finns, Greeks, Maltese, Jugo-Slavs, Serbs, and Albanians. In regard to the Maltese he reported :
Maltese are .permitted to enter Australia at tlie rate of 1,200 per annum, and many of them come to North Queensland. In one place there were twenty of them living in one big room. They are hard-working and honest, but mostly uneducated, and their standard of living is inferior to that of the British or Italian. One Maltese witness in Cairns mentioned a case where a countryman of his was induced to work for less than award rates because he could not read or write or speak the English language. He considered the Maltese should have a representative in the union to sec that Maltese arc not cheated out of what was due to them for wages. In a pamphlet issued by the Maltese Government entitled “The Maltese Emigrant and the Secret of his Success,” the Maltese is described as a “ docile and conscientious worker,” and this description is fairly accurate.
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. ‘
Prom 1st Jul)’, 1924, to 28th February last, SOO Maltese left Malta for Australia.
Mr. Ferry dealt similarly with aliens of other nationalities. My experience of Italians is that they are good settlers and good workers, and their mode of living is very similar to that of other farmers in my constituency. It is useless for the Government to say that this bill is necessary in order to give power to restrict alien immigration. There is already ample power of restriction if the Government chooses to use it, but these new restrictive clauses merely camouflage the deportation provisions. Honorable members on this side will vote against the bill because they object to the deportation proposals, and they will, no doubt, be accused by the Government of having opposed legislation for the restriction of alien immigration. On another occasion the Government coupled British preference with the Singapore Base. Because of our opposition to the latter we voted against the motion, and the Government then accused us of having voted against the preference proposals. The public is not likely to be again gulled by that ruse. Already there is ample power to deal with immigration, and the Prime Minister has declared that the Government has limited the number of immigrants from different countries. He has also said that regulations have been made by the Government to restrict immigration .qf Maltese to twenty per month in each state, making a total of 1,440 per annum for the whole of Australia, and he admitted in this House that at an Imperial Conference over two years ago he had entered into an agreement to permit of the number of Maltese immigrants to be increased from 600 to 1,200 a year. But those people are now being admitted at the rate of 1,440 a year. The Government can cope with the influx of aliens if it so desires. It has already fixed by regulation a monthly quota of 100 immigrants from Jugo Slavia, Greece, and Albania, and as no man can enter the Commonwealth without presenting a passport, the statement that this bill is necessary to control the influx of Italians, Maltese, Greeks, and other aliens, is intended only to- hoodwink the public. The Labour party is not opposed to systematic immigration. Representing a largo portion . of a state like Queensland, the Government of which is doing a great deal to settle people on the land, I recognize that Australia can carry a much larger population, but before more people are encouraged to come here, land should be provided for Australians who are landless and desire to go upon the. land. Our unemployed, who> number approximately 150,000, should be absorbed by industry. The Commonwealth Government and the State Governments should co-operate in this work. Take Queensland as an example. There the State Government has made available for settlement 3,000,000 acres in the Northern Burnett, and 1,000,000 acres in the Dawson Valley, and it is also resuming big pastoral areas in south-western Queensland. When we have thrown open the estates that are now closed, and have satisfied the land hunger of our own people and created employment for our own young men and women, we should welcome arrivals from other countries who are prepared to settle in our wide spaces. The Government should not induce people to come from England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, or anywhere else before provision has been made for their absorption, instead of forcing them to be dependent upon a government dole of rations. That is not the way to develop Australia. .Our secondary industries are languishing because of the inadequate fiscal protection afforded by the present Free Trade Government, and thousands of men and women are out of work. Let u; protect those industries, give employment to the skilled artisans, resume big pastoral holdings, and provide land for our own landless citizens, and having done that, we shall be able to afford co induce trained people to come from other countries to work in our factories, or to go into the backblocks to develop the land which at present the pastoralists are allowed to monopolize regardless of the wants of the rest of the people.
– Much eloquence has been expended upon the two principles embodied in this bill, and I desire to add a few observations in regard to some phases of it. The first fact that strikes one is that the measure aims to extend largely the Whit.3 Australia principle. I quite agree with the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) that under the existing Immigration Act European immigrants can be excluded, but that was not the original intention of the act. Its purpose was to exclude Asiatics and not Europeans, although it does permit of the exclusion of both. Asiatics have been and are being prevented from entering Australia, and the bill proposes to definitely extend that principle to certain European races. The Government should have the power to refuse immigrants whom the country cannot absorb, or whom the Government considers undesirable. But this principle seems to require a wider examination than has been given to it by other honorable members who have participated in the debate. In support of my statement that the main purpose of the existing law was to exclude Asiatics, I quote Professor Gregory -
Australia holds that the evils of the intermixture of coloured with white people are so serious that it is wise to make many sacrifices to maintain the whole continent as the home of a white race.
Professor Scott, in his History of Australia says -
In practice it has never been applied to European immigrants.
I think that statement is subject to a few minor exceptions: -
The intention was to use it simply for the exclusion of coloured races.
Sir Timothy Coghlan wrote ;
The objection to the admission of immigrants was not to Chinese only, but extended to all Asiatics.
I could quote other authorities, but those extracts are sufficient to justify my contention that the general intention of the existing law was to exclude Asiatics. Briefly, the principle behind that enactment was -
East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.
Under the bill this principle is being extended. The basis of immigration is, to a much greater extent, becoming economic rather than racial, and this greatly widens the White Australia policy. The time has arrived to consider the question of immigration as widely as possible. I, like all other honorable members, prefer some European races to others. The British migrant is preferred to -all others. Then I prefer as migrants the western to the eastern European races.
– Does the honorable member allude to the north-western portion of Europe ?
– I used the phrase the western portion of Europe in contradistinction to the eastern portion. No one can lay down hard and fast rules in this matter, and for that reason the Government should have power to exclude some and admit others. We do not want the offscourings of any nation dumped into Australia. The bill has possibilities of the widest extent in its application to all European races, and I hope that the deepest consideration will be given to it before any Government puts into force a total exclusion policy. By the kindness of the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. D. Cameron), I have had the opportunity to read the report which Mr. Ferry, a Royal Commissioner, has recently compiled for the Government of Queensland. I listened with interest to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton), and his reference to that report.- I do not criticize him for using those parts of it which he most approved of, but I must confess that I was nob altogether prepared for the general effect of the report as I found it. It seems to be a very fair report, written by a man who was really desirous of giving a fair answer to the very difficult question which was placed before him for decision.’ He also came to the conclusion that some European races are more desirable as migrants than others. Mr. Ferry considers that the type of Greek - he is not condemning the Greek race - coming into Australia at present is not desirable. On the other hand, he expresses the opinion that the Finnish migrant on the whole lias been satisfactory, and is a desirable class. He does not condemn the’ Maltese, and although he criticizes the inferior Italian, yet he does justice to the moro deserving Italian migrant. It is clear that he prefers the northern to the southern Italian. That conclusion could hardly be gathered from the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition. I hope ‘that the Government will be very chary of operating any really drastic exclusion provision against such a race as the Italians. As it is now, their numbers are severely limited. Relatively only a small number of European migrants has come to Australia during the last few years. Mr. Ferry said in his report that the average access of non-British migrants during the last three and a half years was between 5,000 and 6,000 a year. In other words, the British access in three and a half years was 101,000, and other nationalities 17,000. Would any honorable member suggest that 5,000 Europeans, provided they are decent people, is more than Australia can absorb per annum 1 I suggest that the tremendous outcry about the number of European migrants introduced into Australia is not really justified, however much objection may be justified respecting a particular type of migrant. The Honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) made some rather disparaging remarks about modern Italians compared with their illustrious ancestors, the Romans. I remind the honorable member that the Italian has a most wonderful history. Right down from the Roman times, and through the middle ages to the present day, he has been a leader in the march of civilization. The bulk of our law is largely derived from the codes and institutes of ancient Rome. The great poets and painters of the middle centuries were many of them Italians, and Italians are to be numbered among the great statesmen of the 19th century. A man who has done as much as any other to benefit the human race during the last 50 years is Signor Marconi, who is an Italian. We cannot afford to despise the Italian civilization.
– I made some exceptions.
– I do not think that the honorable member quite did justice to the Italian History from Roman days to the present time.
– What about Mazzini.
– Mazzini and Garibaldi are recognized by the world as great names. The population of Italy is 38,500,000 people, and the Italians are, therefore, a powerful European nation. When the Italians joined the Allies during the late war the prospect was not cheerful. I do not think it wise to give too much praise to .any one race,, but possibly if the Italians had joined our foes the war might have ended differently. These things seem to me to justify the suggestion that drastic provisions should not apply to this European race. Certain other races Have been mentioned as migrants. The other day I think the hon orable member for Werriwa.’ (Mr. Lazzarini) interjected that we should encourage migrants from Scandinavia. Does he know that there are only 2,500,000 people in Norway and 6,000,000 in Sweden ? We could not expect to obtain very many migrants from that source.
– The territory of Norway is small.
– It is not a small territory as European territories go, but is sparsely populated. There is a limit to even the number of British migrants. Great Britain contains about 45,000,000 people. The class that is naturally desired here is composed pf, primarily, men between twenty and 40 years of age, and, secondly, women of similar age. Females in Great Britain exceed the males. There are probably between 21,000,000 and 22,000,000 mell in England. About one-third of those might be between 20 and 40 years of age. What proportion of those 7,000,000 men in the prime of life could Great Britain afford to send away ? Britain has to supply the dominions of Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia with migrants, and the maximum number to be distributed amongst those four great continents would be perhaps 1,500,000. There is a limit to British migrants, and, therefore, we must consider migrants of other races. In spite of the American race containing so many European migrants, and in spite of that country’s doors having been closed on account of the proportion of immigrants to the resident population becoming too high, I suggest to honorable members that if they were asked what migrants they preferred after the British migrant, the great majority of them would favour the American migrant, regardless of the fact that the American race is so variously composed.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I desire to read a quotation from a book entitled The Empire: A Family Affair, by Mr. Percy Hurd, dealing with Italians in Canada: -
This mixture of races should do for parts of Canada what the advent of the French Huguenots did for England in years past. Many of these newcomers bring great cultural resources from European countries which are the home of modern music, art, and literature. Thus, Mr. J. S. Woodsworth, Director of the Bureau of Social Research for . the Governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, when visiting one of the mining towns in British Columbia, learned of the existence of a very fine band, every member of which was an Italian. The presence of this despised group of Italians was making life in this Canadian mining town much richer than it could have been if the population had consisted of Canadians only.’ In connexion with the Winnipeg People’s Forum, as many as seventeen foreign choirs and dramatic societies have assisted in the musical programme during a single season.
The article continues -
The flood of immigration is bearing with it rich deposits, which may, if wisely directed, fertilize the barren places in the New World.
That shows that the problem with which we are dealing has already arisen in Canada.
– There has always been a mixture of the French and the British in Canada.
– The Government official whose report I have read evidently is of the opinion that the result of the entry of Italians into Canada will be advantageous rather than detrimental. I cannot agree with the views which were expressed in this House recently by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) regarding the position of the United States of America. He appeared to treat our problem as if it were similar to that of the
United States of - America, and he suggested that we should not allow these people to come to Australia if they had previously been excluded from the United States of America. In answer to that statement, let me say, first, that about 93 per cent, of the people of Australia are of British origin, whereas, according to the report of Mr. Ferry, the royal commissioner who was appointed by the Queensland Government to inquire into immigration matters there, the percentage of persons of British descent in the United States of America has decreased from over 90 per cent, to 49.9 per cent, in 1920. Thus the foreign white population in the United States of America represents 50.1 per cent, of the total white population of that country. Our position is fundamentally different. It may be desirable to take steps to regulate the number of persons of other nationalities who shall enter the United States of America, hut the necessity for such action is not so urgent in Australia.
– Will the honorable member give us an indication of the percentage of foreigners that he would allow in Australia?
– I shall make some suggestions as to my views at a later stage. On the basis of population also, our position is different from that of the United States of America-. A nation containing over 110,000,000 people is in a better position to say what it will do than a country with but 6,000,000 inhabitants. The great American nation is possessed of such wealth and strength that it can place on its statute-book whatever laws its people desire. Their country is secure; they are in a position to regulate the entry of people of other nationalities by the quota system. We, with our much smaller population, are not in that position. A few days ago the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) referred to the entry of Germans into Australia, and mentioned that I had spoken on this subject last year. Any one who knows anything about the German people as colonists, putting aside Avar prejudice, knows that the Germans have proved themselves in Australia to be good citizens. While there is not a great number of Germans in my electorate there are many in South Australia, and from my fairly wide knowledge of them I have no hesitation in saying that they are desirable people to have in the country. But whether it is prudent at the present moment to permit the entry of more Germans to Australia is an. entirely different matter. We must bear in mind that if we allow Germans to come here, the racial trouble in regard to them, because of the hatred caused by the late war, is likely to be much more acute than any that might be caused by the immigration of peoples who were our allies in that war. That is emphasized in Mr. Ferry’s report. The majority of those who would come here would, in all probability, be men who were actively engaged against us in the war. For some time the extent to which Germany has been prepared to conform to the ordinary rules governing the relations between nations has been problematical, though the present indications are that the people of that country are returning to a better frame of mind, and, personally, I have little doubt that, once the existing differences between the European nations have been settled amicably, it will not be long before desirable Germans are re-admitted into Australia - of course, only in such numbers as we consider to be wise. All that I have said leads to the conclusion that the greatest care should be exercised in this matter. I have been asked what I consider to te the best way to deal with the situation. What I have to say in reply does not refer to the less desirable races, or to the less satisfactory members of any race. I suggest that the best way to deal with this problem is not by a general exclusion, or even by the application of the quota system, except to those races and those less desirable people that I have mentioned; but there should be, first, a careful supervision of the health, and, as far as possible, the character of foreign migrants ; secondly, an arrangement for their more general distribution throughout Australia, so that they shall not congregate in compact colonies where they will retain their national manners and customs; and thirdly, a restriction of the continuity of their original language which would come from them having their own clubs and schools. There can be no doubt that one of the greatest factors in securing community of view is a common language. In this connexion the United States of America afford us an example. Some time ago I. was- speaking to a man who had spent a number of years in Canada and the United States of America, and in the course of conversation I asked him some questions dealing with the character of the people there. He stated that an important characteristic of the people of the United States of America was that, once a decision had been arrived at by the leaders of the nation, the whole of the people supported it. If it was a question of engaging in war, they would express their opinion - some bitterly - but once Congress had decided on war they took the stand that, the country being at war, every person in it was at war, notwithstanding what his views were previous to the decision. That is the view of an able man and a keen observer. Yet the population of the United States of America is composed of people of many nationalities, and widely diverse interests. Mention has been made of the economic position which would arise if people from foreign countries were allowed to come here in great numbers. I say that our economic standards will, be preserved, by industrial awards, and that,. while the number coming here is small, they will certainly assimilate our ideas rather than impose theirs on us. In the course of an excellent speech the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Mackay) read a number of extracts to show that the Italians, who constitute the largest percentage of the foreign migrants arriving in Australia, are strong unionists. It may be asked, Why do you want all these foreign people in Australia? Why. do you not exclude all these alien races,, and keep Australia purely for the Australian and the Britisher ? I think there is a very good reason for objecting to the restriction being applied too. generally. I believe in a White Australia, but I fear that, by carrying the exclusion policy too far, a danger may arise. This is a time when we should consider the White Australia policy not only from our own point of view, but also from the point of view of the world at large. My experience, gained while travelling, is that the White Australia policy is not popular in Europe, not even with the British people. The honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton),, when he was at Geneva recently, had an opportunity to speak to a large number of well-informed people, and I should like to ask him if he found a general enthusiasm for a White. Australia except by Australians, or a common tendency to criticize the policy of this country. The honorable member may not feel inclined to answer that question, and, if he is not, I shall give my own personal experience. I have discussed the subject with many people, and have found a tendency on their part to disparage our White Australia policy, or, at any rate, to be very lukewarm about it. There are good reasons for that attitude. The British race has for many years been in- occupation of India and other countries, where there is black native labour, and it is natural that they should find it difficult to differentiate between those countries and Australia. I find that in talking on the subject with a number of people, I have nearly always had to argue against opposition, and have rarely found any one, even among British people, unless he has studied the question in Australia, who has not commenced with a prepossession against the White Australia policy. If that is true of the feeling of the British people to-day, is lt not likely to be accentuated if we exclude, in addition to Asiatics, large numbers of the European races? If we pursue an exclusion policy to any considerable length, a time may arrive when even the League of Nations may be forced by general public opinion to rule that immigration is not a question of domestic jurisdiction. That would be a grave, if not a fatal, blow at the White Australia policy.. I suggest that it is a serious contingency, and that, unless the clauses of the bill are administered wisely, the whole of Europe, as well as the rest of the world, may reach a decision that will be detrimental to our interests. As supporting my view I quote from Lord Bryce’s book on International Relations, which was written after the League of Nations had come into existence. He, therefore, had the League of Nations in mind, but did not regard it as the only possibility. Dealing with the exclusion of people from vast empty spaces, he said -
There is no international authority entitled to intervene, but if the problem should ever become acute, it may have to be solved by a public opinion of the world - ft public opinion which does not now exist but which ought to exist- rand solved with a view to the benefit of mankind as a whole, a thing not yet recognized as constituting a paramount aim which international policy ought to recognize.
That is the opinion of a man whose judgment ought certainly to be respected. He was not dealing specifically with the League of Nations, but suggested that, leaving the League of Nations out of account, there was a feeling in the world which, in the last resort, might compel itself to be considered.
– To do that would require an international convention. That is an argument why we should have had a world-wide conference under the Protocol to settle the question.
– I do not wish to debate the question of international conventions, or to make, or appear to make, political capital out of this matter. I am stating the opinions I hold, although they may not be worth anything.
– I believe there is a great deal to be said for them.
– My view of the danger of severely restricting immigration is supported by one of the greatest English thinkers of the nineteenth century.
I leave the question of immigration at that, and come to- the consideration of deportation. It has been assumed throughout this debate that deportation is a new thing. That, of course, is an error, for deportation was practised in ancient Greece. Every one remembers the story he learned in his school days of how the just Aristides was deported, or ostracized as they called it then, from Athens, not because of any fault on his part, but because he was “ the Just.” He was so just that they could not tolerate him any more. Right down through the centuries until the present day there have been deportations, transportations, or ostracizations, and I think the practice has become somewhat stronger of recent years. I believe there is a very definite reason for that. England, for centuries, was a refuge for the exiles of European countries. The Emperor Napoleon III. spent, the last years of his life in England, and a deposed king is at the present time living; in that country. Particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, England was a home not only for dispossessed monarchs. butalso for publicists, politicians, and literary men who were exiled from other countries. England and Switzerland were the principal countries that opened their doors and said to the exiles, “ You may come in here, and as long as you behave yourselves you are at liberty to remain.”
– That policy did not do those countries any harm.
– I am glad that the honorable member has anticipated my argument, for it shows that there is some logic in it. Most of these exiles were very grateful. During the last 20 or 30 years there has been a tendency for Great Britain to change her attitude towards certain individuals, and she is not now prepared to ‘take any undesirable alien who wishes to come within her borders.. Under a law passed in France in 1849, the Minister has the power to exclude any alien whom he thinks should be excluded, and can have him escorted to the frontier, simply by signing an authority to that effect. It may be suggested that the Egyptian case of the deportation of Zaghlul Pasha was highhanded. That was a very strong case, because Zaghlul Pasha was an Egyptian. Recently there was trouble in New Zealand over a Mr. Lyons, and, more important still, there was the instructive and interesting action, taken in South Africa.
– The ministry that took that action is South Africa has been blotted out.
– Any ministry that deports a man has to take the risk of being “ blotted out,” but it may well be that circumstances may make it necessary that a government should jeopardize its own future rather than the safety of the country. In South Africa in 1913-14, during the Rand riots, a strike had been called, and ten of the leaders of it were suddenly and unexpectedly deported from the country. The action taken was admittedly quite illegal, but was subsequently ratified by an act of indemnity. General Smuts was the Minister in charge, and he apparently broke the law, considering that that was the right thing for him to do in the circumstances, and he relied on Parliament to ratify his action afterwards. In reading an account of the matter the other day, I found the opinion expressed that the result of the deportations was that outrages that had been general before were very few afterwards, and that the trouble gradually passed away. This South African case presents a very great similarity to Australia, with the exception that here the Government, instead of first breaking the law and then asking the House to ratify its action, is seeking to have a law passed that it can, if necessary, put into execution. It is the belief of the Government that the mere presence of such legislation upon the statute-book may prevent the occurrence of anything that will require its application. I do not suppose that it is desired to put it into effect unless such a course is absolutely necessary. Why has this change taken place in the attitude of Great Britain and other countries towards deportation? I suggest that, if plots were indulged in by exiles in earlier days, they were directed against the ruling powers of the country from which they had been expelled, and not against those of the country in which they resided. In recent years, however, the situation has undergone a very great change, due to the growth of internationalism. Karl Marx was a fugitive from both France and Germany. He went to England, where he spent practically one-half of his life. Did he show any gratitude for England’s hospitality to him? According to a recent writer, although England became his bodily home, it did not become his spiritual home. His opinion’ of that country, summed up in one sentence, was “ The English are hounds.” I have here a quotation from Trotsky’s recent book on Lenin, which I think is apropos of the matter under discussion. These gentlemen were in England together at one time endeavouring to establish an international scheme which would undermine the foundations of the existing structure of society, including that in Great Britain. Trotsky in his book says that he showed Lenin Westminster Abbey and some other famous buildings from the outside. He goes on to say: “I no longer know how he expressed himself, but the meaning was, ‘ That is their famous Westminster.’ “
– I am unable to see in the honorable member’s quotation any relevancy to the bill.
– In that case I shall not proceed further with it; but I shall show it to any honorable member who cares to see it. Any country has the right to say to strangers, “ Go back to your own land “ if it considers that the emergency is sufficiently great. That principle should apply here to persons from other parts of the British Empire as well as to foreigners.
– Would the honorable member apply that principle to persons who had received the whole of their education in Australia?
– It is al ways difficult to apply any law quite satisfactorily; there must be a definite rule, which is bound to be hard in some particular case. I think that a very fair determining line has been drawn, and as the necessity to deport is not likely to arise very often, we should be satisfied to give the power that is sought. I am convinced that the provisions contained in the second portion of the bill will be used only in very exceptional circumstances, and with great care. Unless that course is adopted, disaster is bound to follow any action that is taken. The feeling against deportation as a general principle is so strong that unless there is adequate reason for it the tide of public opinion may flow back and engulf those who order it. To deport is, nevertheless, a power that a government ought to have. If there should arise in Australia a crisis such as that in South Africa, to which I have referred, the Government should take action to deport the instigators of it regardless of its own subsequent success or failure at the polls. The worst agitators are almost invariably strangers, and there should be a law to deal with them. The other night the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) made an admirable speech - looked at from his point of view1 - but in the last resort it was somewhat one-sided. He gave a glowing account of the rise of the worker in Australia. On that aspect of the matter there were very few honorable members who could not in the larger sense sympathize with him, but he did not look at the matter from the point of view of any one except the worker. He. said nothing about the economic loss that is caused by a great upheaval. He did not touch upon the loss to the strikers, or the plight of the wives and children of the strikers, who, being the weaker, first go to the wall. He did not attempt to show that they had rights. He made no reference to the undoubted rights of the shipowners, which must necessarily be considered by this House, particularly in view of the existence of the Commonwealth Shipping Line. He did not deal with the economic waste - by loss of wages, by service, and by unemployment - that results from an industrial upheaval, which sooner or later reacts upon this House and would certainly result in requests being made to it for relief. The Government is acting rightly in taking steps to remove unemployment. The other day I read The Life of John Morley, by Professor Morgan. It is a most interesting book. Professor Morgan relates the following conversation that he had with Morley : -
He said, “ I believe in regiments of parties. I do not like that hateful heresy, proportional representation.” I replied, “ That sounds very like the doctrine of authority.” Morley said, “ Well, why not? One must govern.”
That is the whole crux of the matter. The Government must govern. If the Opposition helps it to do so, it is better for the country and easier for the Government. If the Government does not govern, lawless individuals will assume the right who have not the power or the right to govern.
.- It is. correct to say that the Government must govern, but we have to ascertain exactly what is the meaning of government. In a democratic community the government should control the powers of the country in the best interests of the country, and in the most harmonious way. Government does not mean control by the use of the mailed fist and the suppression of any ideas that may be contrary to those held by the ruling powers. Rather should an endeavour be made to control the powers of a nation in such a way that industrial conflicts are avoided and class hatreds are not fomented. . This measure is one of the greatest incitements to class hatred that I have ever seen. It is a challenge to trade unionism throughout Australia. It will create in Australia something that we have hot had before, because it will make an industrial or a political offence punishable by the most extreme penalty that could be imposed upon the citizens of any country. If, because of the opinions they hold upon industrial matters, men are to be deported, Australia will become stagnant. There will be no chance of any new ideas being promulgated and no hope of any progress. Progress can be made only by the cultivation of new ideas, new hopes, new aspirations. The bill will place the dead hand of the past upon the aspirations of the people of Australia. Because I or any other man has an idea for the betterment of the conditions of the people it is absurd to say that I should be deported. If that is the principle upon which Australia is to be governed, God help ite future! It will live continually in the past, and will offer no opportunity for the ambitious young men. During the discussion I have heard many reasons urged for giving this power to the Government. One honorable member said, “ If we had the old Labour party, the old trade union movement, there would be no necessity for it.” He left the impression that in the past the Labour leaders were the embodiment of all that is good and noble. It might be well to remind honorable members opposite of the actions of their predecessors in the time of the good old Labour party and the good old trade union leaders. I shall tell them what members of their party did to the leaders of the trade union movement some years ago. I quote the case of the trade unionists who were forming the Shearers’ Union in Victoria. ‘ Honorable members opposite tell us that in the old days trade unionism was sane trade unionism, and they approved of that. But let us see what the leaders of their party did to the old trade unionists when they tried to form the Shearers’ Union in Victoria in 1886. The Government of the day prosecuted Waters and McCormack at Hamilton under an obsolete English act for conspiring to raise wages, and secured their imprisonment for over twelve months. The Government of the day attempted to strangle trade unionism at its birth. In the “ good old days “ the trade unionist was given a sentence of twelve months’ imprisonment. But the party opposite has indeed made progress and now proposes to deport the leaders of trade unionism. It was found that the jailing of leaders of the Labour movement did not check the progress of Labour principles and trade unionism. It was found that when one of. the leaders was sent to jail another immediately sprang up to take his place, and it will be found, if this legislation is given effect that just so fast as leaders of Labour are deported from Australia, others will be ready to take their place to carry on the work of trade unionism. In the “good old days” in Victoria Judge Higinbotham was deprived of the honours of the Deputy Governorship because he contributed to a strike fund.
– To help the children of the strikers.
– Of course, it was to help those dependent on the strikers. That is what happened in the days of the old trade unionism in which honorable members opposite profess to believe. Today, under similar circumstances, they would probably try to deport Judge Higinbotham. In the “ good old days “ in Queensland Chief Justice Lilley, who sympathized with the workers, was driven from his position to make room for Sir Samuel Griffith. The action taken against the leaders of Labour in the “ good old days “ had no effect in checking the advance of unionism, and the legislation now proposed by the Government will have no more effect in checking it, or in preventing the growth of new ideas. This measure will be futile, as honorable members supporting it will find out. In the “ good old days “ Judge Darley, of New South Wales, was congratulated by the press because from the judgment seat he denounced the members of trade unions as “a closely-knit band of criminals.” Listening to the speeches made by honorable members opposite we find a remarkable similarity with the language used by Judge Darley. It certainly may be implied from their remarks that they regard our industrial leaders as criminals who must be punished by deportation. They say that no such drastic legislation would be necessary if to-day we had the trade unionism of the “ good old days,” yet Judge Darley described trade unionists of those days as a closely-knit band of criminals. Judge Ennis, in summing up in a case tried before him, said “ the workmen were misled by unscrupulous leaders, who, while pretending sympathy with the poor and suffering, fanned the flames of dis- content,” and he then sent the misled men to jail for seven years. The Prime Minister has used almost the identical words of Judge Ennis. He has spoken of the “ poisonous doctrines “ preached by unscrupulous leaders of industrial unions. Judge Windeyer said that a union camp was an unlawful assembly; and a Mr. Head,, who was only ten minutes in such a camp, was found guilty of an offence. Judge Darley, in another case, when a man was brought before him, who it was proved was 100 miles away from a union camp at the time of his alleged offence, said, “ That does not matter.” The accused had previously been in the camp, and as such camps were unlawful assemblies, he was guilty, and was at once sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. These things happened in the days of the old trade unionism, which honorable members opposite tell us they stand for. I have shown how the party to which they belong treated the leaders of trade unionism in the old days, and we know what their class would be prepared to do to trade union leaders to-day. They have, however, to reckon with a different mentality, a different outlook, and a different set of ideas in Australia to-day; and the public conscience of Australia would be stirred to ite very depths if such an outrageous piece of legislation as the bill now under discussion were put into operation in this country. It is the duty of the Government, above all things, to preserve industrial peace. It should promote it by every means in its power; but, in view of the legislation which the Government has submitted, one can only come to the ‘ conclusion that there has been carefully and craftily planned a conspiracy to bring about a huge industrial upheaval in Australia. I could say quite a great deal, but for the sake of industrial peace I shall refrain from saying many things which I might say to-day. I shall probably have an opportunity in a week or two of divulging quite a lot of what I know about this conspiracy. Only a few days ago a deputation of representatives of certain great industrial organizations in Australia came to Melbourne to wait upon the Prime Minister. They said they were prepared to discuss with him ways and means to preserve peace and harmony in the industries of Austra-
Iia. What was the right honorable gentleman’s answer to them? He slammed the door in their faces. He told them he would have none of what they proposed, and that it was to be “ a fight to a finish.” He should have been prepared to devote his best endeavours to bring about industrial peace. I can give honorable members my word, as one who all his life has been closely associated with trade unionism, that it is impossible to coerce trade unions. We will have no coercion. We are prepared to meet those who differ from us in a conciliatory spirit, and let matters in dispute be. determined by reason and logic; but we will not submit to coercion. The. Prime Minister slammed the door in the faces of trade unionists who came to see him in the effort to preserve industrial, peace ; and if it were not that we have the good fortune to have in New South Wales a Labour Government led by Mr. Lang, we should probably by now have had one of the greatest industrial upheavals that Australia has ever known. The Labour Premier of New South Wales did not slam the door in the faces of trade unionist representatives) but he got to work to bring about industrial peace. As a result of his action there is now little danger of the existing state of affairs leading to an industrial upheaval. It is remarkable to note that when the prospect of peace loomed in sight and the great hound of industrial unrest was to be sent away, we found the jackals snarling. When I picked up the Melbourne newspapers, and especially the Argus, in the hope that I should read an article of jubilation on the prospect of industrial peace, I found instead an article headed, “ Queering the Pitch “, because we were to have industrial peace and there was to be no strike. What had occurred queered the pitch of their conspiracy to bring about a great industrial upheaval. The whole thing was carefully planned. This is the time of the year when the shipping industry is at its lowest point and shipping companies can best afford to lay up their vessels. It was planned by the shipping companies, backed up by the anti-Labour press of Australia, and supported by the Government.
– The honorable member will recognize that we are not discussing the industrial situation under this bill.
– I admit that, but we are discussing a proposal that in the event of certain industrial conditions arising, certain people may be deported. I have endeavoured to show that there was some possibility of such industrial conditions arising but for the action taken by the Labour Government of New South Wales. I say that, in my opinion, certain people in the community were conspiring to bring about a state of industrial unrest so that an opportunity might be afforded for the deportation of industrial leaders. They had the . pitch prepared, as the A rgus has admitted. They looked to see what would take place. This bill was to be passed, and there were to be no negotiations with the unions, though they might be prepared to accept all that men could possibly be expected to accept. There was to be a “fight to a finish,” and the Government joined in the conspiracy by introducing a measure for the deportation of industrial leaders. There could be no hope of industrial peace upon those conditions; but when it was assured, the “ pitch “ was said to have been “ queered ; “ in other words, there was no chance of bringing about the projected industrial upheaval. I hope the Government supporters will show a little calm judgment and wisdom in this matter. It is not too late even now for the Government to stay its hand. There is no urgent necessity for this measure. The danger of a big upheaval has disappeared, and it can only be revived if the ship-owners and the Commonwealth Government so determine.
– Nobody desires it.
– I hope not, and I assure’ ; the honorable member that the trade unionists do not desire it.
– I know of nobody on our side who does.
– If that be so, where is the necessity for this measure? The Government would be wise to allow it to remain in abeyance. The’ dispute is on the verge of complete settlement. Let us forget political hatreds-
– The honorable member has been trying to stir them up.
– This measure would stir up anybody. But I ask honorable members to refrain from stirring up strife.
– The honorable member is asking us to refrain from doing what he has been doing.
– Before this measure is proceeded with the Government must first show justification for it. There is none. There will be no industrial upheaval unless the employers precipitate it. I trust that the Government will give further thought to the matter. If the further consideration of the bill is postponed for a few weeks, the House will realize that there is no need to proceed with it.
.- I congratulate the Government on its genuine endeavour to minimize industrial troubles, and I believe that this bill will go a long way towards achieving that result. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) has said that the measure may be divided into two sections, immigration and deportation. Both are essential for the future welfare of Australia. I, like other honorable members, would prefer that all immigrants should be of the English-speaking races, but it is impossible to fill up our empty spaces with Britishers only. I have no objection to Italians. They are good settlers, being law-abiding and industrious. I had the pleasure one Sunday afternoon of hearing a speaker on the racial question say that the Italian race is one of the best in the world. Therefore, I am not opposed to the immigration of Italians. But there are other southern Europeans who should not be admitted to Australia, except upon the severe conditions imposed by this measure. Opposition members have declared that the bill is a direct blow at unionism. I have read the bill carefully, and by no stretch of imagination can I find anything in its provisions to justify that interpretation, and anybody who listened to the able and concise exposition of the measure by the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham) must wonder why the members of the Opposition persist in placing such an inaccurate construction upon it. Their leader declared that immigration will cause a great deal of unemployment. I wonder if honorable members opposite are sincere in that contention. It seems to me that it is raised on this occasion, as- on other occasions, merely as an electioneering stunt. If the immigrants go upon the land, they are likely to increase rather than diminish employment, because it is a well-known fact that every man engaged in primary production supports three or four people in cities. When we were discussing the proposed construction of two new cruisers honorable members opposite said that had the contracts been placed in Australia a great deal of employment would have been provided. They are inconsistent, however, in trying to prevent the passage of this bill for the deportation of men who are promoting industrial strife, which is the parent ‘ of unemployment. Some time ago there was a strike in Australia which paralysed the shipping industry. The waterside workers would not load the ships, and the seamen would not take them to sea. Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of perishable cargo was lying on the wharfs. The money represented by those goods was lost to the community. If a man enjoying the advantages of Australian institutions and conditions becomes one of those extremists who foment industrial trouble, and retard the progress of the country, he should be deported within twenty-four hours, regardless of whether he has been resident in the Commonwealth three years or thirty years. I was astonished by the remarks of the honorable member for Denison (Mr. O’Keefe). He must have spoken with his tongue in his cheek, for nobody knows better than he the plight to which Tasmania has been reduced through the incidence of the Navigation Act and strikes. In five out of the last six years strikes have occurred which have disorganized the tourist traffic between the mainland and Tasmania. That traffic is worth to Tasmania between £250,000 and £300,000 a year, and in five years that state has lost the greater part of £1,000,000 because of disturbances in the shipping industry. Yet the honorable member for Denison spoke in opposition to the provisions of this bill, which will facilitate the prevention of such troubles. For his attitude he will have to answer to his electors next year.
– And so will the honorable member.
– I know the feelings of the Tasmanian people better than does the honorable member for Melbourne. In another place is a Tasmanian senator, who is one of the oldest unionists in that state. He is a unionist of the better type, and commands the respect of every worker and every employer. Although he is a member of the Labour party, he will vote for this bill. He recognizes his obligation to the people of Tasmania, and refuses to be dominated by any party. Contrast his attitude with that of the honorable member for Denison.
– Order ! It is not good parliamentary form to compare members of the two chambers.
– I was about to say that whilst one Tasmanian Labour representative will vote for the bill another is voting against it. and against the interests of his constituents.
– Members of this House are not interested in what individual members of another place may do.
– I bow to your ruling, sir. The honorable member for Denison has asked the Commonwealth Government to establish a line of steamers between the mainland and Tasmania. That , would be a very fine service, and I would be ready to vote for it.
– Last year the honorable member voted against the possibility of its being brought about.
– I did not. How can the Commonwealth Government establish a new service with its own steamers when there are in the community men who are constautly causing strikes. The honorable member for Denison by his attitude is supporting them. Tasmania in its troubles had a great deal of sympathy from the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) when he was Prime Minister, and from the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce). The honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde) also expressed sympathy for Tasmania’s plight when he was stranded in that state during the last shipping strike. But he later informed me that, because he could travel by rail from one end of Queensland to the other, he had no time to think about Tasmania. I am sorry to say that a similar attitude is adopted by many other honorable members.
– I did not say that I had no time to think about Tasmania. Do not misrepresent my statements.
– That kind of sympathy gets Tasmania nowhere. We wantsomething practicable, and this bill will help to prevent, if possible, shipping strikes and holdups. During- strikes the workers lose a tremendous amount of working days and wages. According to the Australian Industrial and Mining Standard, issued on the 4th December, 1924, the number of strikes that occurred in Australia in 1923 were: - New South Wales, 200 ; Victoria, 29 ; Queensland, 25 ; South Australia, 10 ; Wes’tern Australia, 6 ; Tasmania, 3 ; and Federal Territory, 1 ; making a grand total of 274 strikes in one year, which is equal to five strikes per week. To fully realize what a blight on the progress and prosperity of the country this striking business is, one needs to take certain figures over a period of years. From 1919 to 1923 the number of working days lost as the result of industrial disputes was 11,181,853, and the loss in wages was £7,986,703. In New South Wales the working days lost were 6,938,505, an3 wages, £5,400,543. In view of these figures of what use is the Arbitration Court? Although this institution was established to bring about industrial peace, yet it has produced nothing but industrial chaos and turmoil. This is borne out by the motion introduced yesterday by the honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Latham). The Arbitration Court as at present constituted is one of the greatest curses to Australia. Numerous industries in Australia are idle, and the high cost of production prevents competition with imported goods, notwithstanding that in many cases the duty on imports is from 30 to 50 per cent. We shall have nothing but industrial chaos until we get rid of the Arbitration Court.
– Does the honorable member favour, the lowering of wages ?
– Yes . Honorable members opposite talk about maintaining the high standard of living. What is the use of it when there are 40,000 people in- Australia out of work, and practically starving, while honorable members sit down to their tables and eat substantial meals. It is the biggest humbug that I know of.
– Could the honorable member live on the basic wage.
– Yes. I should not be prepared to lower any man’s wages unless I were prepared to lower my own.
– Order ! The discussion is wide of the bill.
– The bill is . an emergency measure brought in to deal with men who come to this country with one specific object in view - to interfere with the progress, prosperity, and good government of Australia. As one of its representatives, and on behalf of Tasmania, I welcome the bill, and have very much pleasure in supporting it.
.- I cannot allow a number of the statements of the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Seabrook) to remain unchallenged. He stated that the Arbitration Court had done nothing but bring about industrial chaos. I contend that on the contrary arbitration has been responsible for an enormous amount of good. It has enabled many of our industrial unions to secure better working conditions. In the majority of cases the unions have worked peacefully, and honoured, in the main, the awards of the court. The honorable member for Franklin also stated that a number of Australian industries were idle, and that the high cost of production and the enormous imports into the country have caused the unemployment of 40,000 of our workmen. This has occurred not because production costs are high, but because foreign goods manufactured in cheap-labour countries are dumped into Australia, to the detriment of Australian industries. The honorable member is in favour of lowering wages, but the Labour party is definitely opposed to such a proposal . I am opposed to alien immigration to any extent at present, not because I believe that members of European races should not be allowed into the Commonwealth, but because the Government is prepared to allow alien immigrants to be employed here, to the detriment of the Australian workmen, thus bringing about a lowering of the wages and conditions which have been won as the result of many years of strenuous effort on the part of . unions before the Arbitration Court. I should not be opposed to a steady influx of alien immigrants at a time when the Government in power was sympathetic towards trade unions and prepared to safeguard the conditions of the Australian workmen. The influx of Italians, Greeks,’ and members of other acceptable races would then be beneficial to the Commonwealth, providing their physique and general health were satisfactory. There is no necessity to enter into an immigration scheme to cost £34,000,000. If the previous National Government and the present composite
Government had displayed a measure of statesmanship respecting immigration, we should not be so much concerned with alien immigration as with bringing our own kith and kin from overseas, and establishing in our midst industries from Bradford, Manchester, and Birmingham. Manufacturers would then come here from overseas bringing with them the nucleus of their staffs and establish many much needed Australian industries. The existence of flourishing works in our midst would be sufficient to attract skilled workers to our shores, and at no expense to the Commonwealth. The main purpose of the bill is more to cover with a smoke screen the misdeeds of the Government than to deal with alien immigration, or to authorize the deportation of industrial leaders and agitators. It is designed to be used as a weapon to intimidate not only the Labour organizations, but also their leaders. The measure certainly provides for the deportation of men who are responsible for, or have taken part in, an effort to interfere with trade or commerce or the handling of goods, shipping, and so on. But there is no proposal in the bill to provide for the deportation of capitalists who are responsible for interference in trade and commerce and the industries of this country. The Government supporters are determined to single out a number of industrial leaders and deport them, yet they say nothing about the necessity for deporting those men who advocate, as the honorable member for Franklin has done, the sweeping away of arbitration and the breaking down of conditions which have been won through strenuous effort on the part of industrial leaders. I am sure that there is no desire on the part of honorable members opposite that our present conditions of life should be lowered. Trade and commerce are materially affected from time to time by the market riggers who are in our midst. These men juggle with our commodities, using cold storage and other means to restrict or withhold the commodities of life, and hamper trade and commerce. Their operations continue unnoticed by the Government, which is only concerned with the men who are engaged in industrial disputes - men battling for the improvement of their position and that of their fellows. We also have financiers and bankers who, by their inflation of credit, are able to affect the progress of the country, closing down manufactories in our midst and throwing thousands out of work. The Government takes no action against them. Again, there are the importers, who dump foreign goods into Australia, adversely affecting our secondary industries. These men are certainly no better than the unionist who takes a stand against unfair conditions, but the Government does not propose to deport them. I intend to oppose that portion of the bill which provides for deportation. No matter in what direction the law is broken, we should be able to deal with our citizens, and adequately punish them, if found guilty of an offence by a jury of their peers, without sending them from our snores. I should prefer the Government to be frank and admit that the intention behind the bill is to deport Walsh, Johannsen, and, possibly, Garden also. There can be no question that the Government has certain individuals in mind. Many of these men have arrived here from countries - among them Great Britain - where there is much poverty and squalor. They have come here because conditions here are better, and in many cases have brought their families with them. They have taken an interest in the organizations of which they are members, and have endeavoured to make this country brighter and better than that from which they came. Having gained the confidence of their fellow unionists, they have attained the position of leaders in their various unions. Eventually the occasion arises when they must take a definite stand in the interests of their fellows. I do not hesitate to 6ay that frequently the conditions under .which men are asked to work are such as to justify a strike. Men have a right to refuse to work when the conditions are not acceptable to them; that right will never be forfeited by trade unionists. So far as I am concerned, no power on earth would compel me to submit to conditions which were not acceptable to me. Honorable members will remember that the wool kings of Australia some months ago decided to withhold their wool from sale, because they considered that the price then obtainable was not satisfactory. They held the wool for a number of months, and only a few days ago again offered it for sale, and obtained higher prices. Apparently, their action was quite in order. But let the unionists refuse to sell their commodity - labour - and immediately there is a great outcry on the part of the supporters of the Government. I believe that the seamen are acting in a just cause. The Commonwealth Shipping Board and the private shipping companies made a great mistake at the outset in not agreeing to come to terms with the men on the issues at stake. In this instance the shipowners, and not the seamen, took the initiative, as they and the Commmonwealth Shipping Board applied to the Arbitration Court for the deregistration of the Seamen’s Union. The result was that the union was deregistered by the court, and the seamen were no longer able to enforce the same conditions that previously applied to them. The union leaders, with a view to protecting their men, who would then be at the mercy of harsh and unsympathetic masters whilst at sea, sought to have included in the men’s articles a safeguarding clause. At first the Commonwealth Shipping Board refused the request, as did the private steamship companies, but eventually, for some reason - it may have been the result of secret negotiations entered into because of the Prime Minister’s decision to ensure peace - the Commonwealth Shipping Board reversed its decision, and agreed to the demands of the seamen. . Some of the companies did the same, but it appears that the steamship owners are determined to so manipulate things that, between now and the next federal election, there shall be an industrial upheaval of such magnitude’ that the people will be side-tracked, and the misdeeds of the Government overlooked. By that means it is hoped that the present Ministry will have a fighting chance of retaining its control of the treasury bench. Let me refer to the painters and dockers case which came before the Commonwealth Arbitration Court a few weeks ago, as it has a direct bearing on this bill. These men do. important work; should they refuse to carry on, it would mean that necessary repairs and the docking of vessels could not be done. A few months ago the painters and dockers approached the Commonwealth Arbitration Court for an award. The authorities at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, together with those at Garden Island and Williamstown, through their industrial officers, opposed the. application, claiming that a special rate should be paid to permanent men, and another rate to casuals. On the 13th November, 1918, the late President of the court, Mr. Justice Higgins, dealing with the request for a special rate, said that he refused to fix any but a casual rate for painters and dockers.
– I am afraid that the honorable member’s remarks are not within the limits of the discussion.
– I thought, Mr. Speaker, that I was in order in referring to this matter. I was about to show the disabilities under which trade unionists are working at the present time, which, if continued, may cause them to cease work.
– That relationship is clear, but very remote. If the honorable member is permitted to continue, any honorable member may claim the right to discuss any award.
– After the request had been submitted to the various departments, and the judge had signified his intention in the matter, he said that he was prepared to consider any reasonable suggestion which would not in any way interfere with, or restrict, what could be regarded as a basic principle. After Sir John Quick made that statement, further proposals were submitted by those opposing the painters and dockers, and, as a result, the judge altered his proposed judgment. The painters and dockers were deprived of the right to discuss the proposals that had been tendered, and were denied the opportunity of challenging the accuracy of statements submitted after the case had closed. They are, therefore, dissatisfied with the court’s decision, and would be perfectly justified in refusing to work. The Prime Minister evaded his responsibility when he failed to bring the contending parties together. It is the duty of the Government to endeavour to promote peace between contending parties, and to prevent, if possible, an upheaval which might affect the whole country. 1 repeat that I believe that there are agencies at work in our midst which are endeavouring to bring about a crisis before the next federal election. But in spite of these political moves, and the dark forces that are at work, and irrespective of whether this bill is carried or not, we on this side have the people of Australia behind us, and I am confident that when, the opportunity presents itself they will drive the present Ministry from office, not only because of this proposal, but for other actions of a class nature.
Debate (on motion by Mr. F. Francis) adjourned.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
.- I move- ‘
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, next at 3 o’clock p.m.
As honorable members know, it is proposed that the House shall not sit during the period that the American Fleet is here. In order to enable necessary business to be transacted, the Government feels that it will be necessary to assemble here oh Tuesday, instead of Wednesday, next week, that being the week preceding the arrival of the fleet.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Conditions at Turramurra Hospital.
Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
. - A few days ago I asked a question about the administration of the Lady Davidson Sanatorium, at Turramurra, New South Wales, an institution that is administered by the Repatriation Department. In reply to my question, the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Minister for Defence, admitted that complaints had been received from the inmates regarding the conditions in the hospital. I wish to bring under the notice of the Government the fact that I am advised that very serious dissatisfaction exists in the hospital regarding the treatment of patients. I have received complaints that the food is so bad that at times the patients cannot eat it, and that patients sometimes leave the table sick from the effects of the bad cooking. I do not say whether the statements are true or false, for I have not investigated them, but they come from sources in which I place implicit trust. I submit that they call for immediate investigation by the Government. According to information supplied to me by the Prime Minister, there are 65 patients and a staff of 40 at the hospital. In those circumstances, every possible attention should be given to the requirements of the inmates. My correspondents also complain that the institution is little better than a glorified prison. The patients are allowed one clay’s leave every three weeks, and ten days’ leave every three months. One result of the treatment is that a number of patients have left the hospital because they will not submit to the regimentation and eat the food provided in the institution. Apart from the effect on the health of the individual, it is injurious to the public-health that the conditions in the institution should be made so intolerable that cases that have not been arrested or cured owing to unsatisfactory conditions go out into civil life. I admit that in many instances the mental depression caused by tuberculosis may result in peevishness and irritability; . but if conditions like those I have mentioned exist they preclude in manycases the possibility of cure. I speak feelingly on this subject, becauseI have come in contact with a number of military hospitals. It was a very sad day for invalid returned soldiers when the Repatriation Department assumed control of these hospitals. When the Red Cross Society controlled the convalescent homes, the soldiers were treated with the utmost kindness and consideration, their wants were satisfied, and they were given comforts calculated to create contentment and cure their disease. The fact that advanced cases, _ and cases in the’ first and second stages, are mixed indiscriminately, is not calculated to create that spirit of cheerfulness which is one of the principal factors in curing this dire disease. I urge the Treasurer to investigate these charges promptly. I am informed that if patients leave the hospital because of what they regard as unsuitable treatment, they are not then eligible for the special rate of pension. In one case that I particularly have in mind, the mother of the patient bought a cow and gave every consideration to her son’s dietary and treatment, and a private doctor expressed the opinion that he would be much better treated at home. If he goes home, however, he will, I understand, be debarred from receiving the special rate of pension.
– I am very much surprised at. the statements of the honorable member forReid (Mr, Coleman), and I s-hould like to ask kim whether he can personally vouch for their accuracy. I should like to know whether he discussed them with the Minister for Repatriation before bringing them under the notice of the House. I was in charge of the Repatriation Department for nearly two years, and eight or nine months ; ago I paid a special visit to the Turramurra Home. At that time the conditions in the institution were very good. What the conditions are now it is impossible forme to say. Considering that it is imperative that sufferers from tuberculosis should in their own interests remain in homes, for only by that means can the disease he permanently arrested, honorable members would be wise, before publicly making statements like these, to investigate them and test their accuracy. The publication of grievances which have no foundation in fact can only breed unrest in the minds of the patients. As the honorable member has voiced these complaints, I shall be pleased to bring them under the notice of the Minister for Repatriation as soon as he is well enough, and when they have been inquired into a definite reply will be gi ven to’ the honorable member.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 July 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1925/19250710_reps_9_110/>.