13th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon.G. H.Mackay) took the chair at. 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– The . newspapers report that the Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) . is returning to Australia,, and will not further represent the Commonwealth at the Disarmament Conference. Will the Prime Minister say whether that report is correct ?
– The Attorney-General notified me that he was arranging to leave Marseilles on the 27th May, although his work at the Disarmament Conference was incomplete. In the circumstances, the Government asked him to extend his stay for a fortnight.
– Will he attend the further sittings of the Disarmament Conference?
– I hope so.
– In connexion with the promise madeby the- Acting Attorney-General - that he would sympathetically consider the request for a public inquiry into the affairs and methods of the Australasian Performing Right Association - will the Minister representing the Attorney-General in this House state what decision has been reached by the Government ?
– I do not know what action the Acting Attorney-General has taken,- but I shall bring the honorable member’s question to his notice,and furnish a reply later.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Customs made any arrangements with the tobacco combine for the purchase of marketable tobacco in excess of the amount provided for in the agreement ? If no such arrangement has been made, or can be made, will the Government finance the growers while they are maturing the unsold leaf?
– The actual quantity of marketable leaf that will be produced this season is uncertain. The Government has done no more than get an undertaking from the manufacturers that they will purchase about7¼ million lb. of tobacco leaf, if it is available. In regard to the second part of the honorable member’s question, I shall consider the matter, but I am not to be taken as in any way committing the Government, nor am I prepared to suggest that the Government should become financially responsible for the marketing of the unsold tobacco crop. If the’ growers desire to arrange for the maturation of the unsold surplus, there is a definite obligation upon them to do so on a cooperative basis.
– I understand that the tobacco-producers in some districts are unable to sell ‘their product. In view of the arrangement’ that has been arrived at with the tobacco companies, will the Minister exercise the right, to which he referred during . an early debate on tobacco, to restrict, importations?
-I understand that it is still somewhat early in the purchasing season to say that sales are not proceed? ing satisfactorily. However, I shall look into the matter. I cannot accept, and have not accepted at any time, responsibility for the arrangement of the sale of the tobacco. I have kept right away from that side of the question. All that I have done is to secure from the tobacco companies an undertaking that they will not pay less than a certain amount for Australian tobacco leaf. Apart from that, the selling of this season’s tobacco leaf will proceed precisely as it has proceeded in previous seasons. I may say that imports have already been heavily restricted.
– Is the Minister aware that, since the import duty on American tobacco leaf was reduced from 5s. 2d. to 3s. per lb., there has been quite a change in the attitude of the tobacco combine towards Australian-grown tobacco, and that in North Queensland buyers are purchasing only 20 per cent, of the crop. In view of the Minister’s statement that ho had arranged with the manufacturers to buy 7,300,000 lb. of this year’s crop, will he take steps, if necessary, to ration imports of American tobacco, so as to ensure the sale of the whole Australian crop? Will he take definite action before’ he leaves for Ottawa to see that the tobacco industry is not jeopardized by the combine taking advantage of the low import duties on American leaf, and discarding the Australian-grown crop?
– I shall consider the political speech of the honorable member.
– In view of the Minister’s assurance to the tobaccogrowers of Australia that, if the necessity arose, he would be prepared to ration imports, will he instruct the officers of his department to investigate the report that the British-Australasian Tobacco Company has already purchased from 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 lb. of tobacco in America, and is storing it there for future importation to Australia? If that report is true, will the Minister warn that company that rationing may be drastically applied ?
– I understand that, before this tobacco controversy arose, the ‘ customary practice of this - company was to have on hand a considerable quantity of tobacco leaf. I believe that it’ has normally carriedsince the war a two years’ supply of tobacco leaf. -It has carried a considerable quantity in Australia, and, after purchase in America, it has left a considerable quantity there. At the time the arrangement was made with the company it still had a substantial quantity of tobacco leaf in America, for which contracts existed. There is a definite arrangement with the tobacco companies that further purchases will not be made in excess of a limited quantity. Without going into the business of the companies that are parties to the arrangement, I may say that the total ‘quantity ‘ of tobacco purchased in America this, year will not exceed a few. million lb.
– Has the Minister for the Interior arranged that Commonwealth works to be undertaken in South Australia shall be carried out by the State Public Works Department?
– Very little Commonwealth work is being undertaken at the present time, and one of the proposed economies incidental to the inclusion of the Public Works and Home Affairs Department in the Department of the Interior is that merely a skeleton works staff shall be maintained in each State, and that the State departments shall be asked to carry out any Commonwealth works that may be sanctioned. The negotiations with the State Governments are not yet complete.
– In view of the serious charge made by honorable members of this House and by Mr. Weaver, M.L.A. in the New South Wales Parliament, that the police of that State had been guilty of a “ frame-up “ against the New Guard in connexion with the assault upon Alderman J. S. Garden, and the promise of the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) that a royal commission would be appointed to inquire into the operations of the New Guard, will the right honorable gentleman state whether the newspaper report, that the Government has since decided not to fulfil that promise, is correct? If this decision has been reached, is it due to the fact that information has come to light which implicates in the operations of the New Guard, members of this House and high officials of the Defence Department?
– The honorable member is not justified in saying that any charges were made in this House against the New South Wales police.
– The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Lane) referred to a “ frame-up.”
– I said that Garden had been guilty of a “ frame-up.”
– I specially emphasized the fact that I had confidence inthe State police and I repeat that; but 1 mentioned that a charge had beenmade in the New South Wales Parliament that there was evidence of a “ frame-up “ in connexion with one sensational incident. At that time the New South Wales Government had flatly refused an investigation of this matter, and because of that I promised to institute an inquiry, not only into the statement that documents of the Defence Department were in the possession of the New Guard, but also into the general operations of that body in New South Wales. Later the Lang Government undertook to hold a magisterial inquiry into the operations of the New. Guard, and the present State Government is considering the extension of that inquiry into several other matters. Therefore,, an investigation by a Commonwealth royal commission is not necessary. The Commonwealth Government will, however, proceed with an investigation into the charge that improper use has been made of Defence Department documents.
– In making inquiries into the alleged assault on Mr. Jock Garden, will the Prime Minister investigate a rumour current in Sydney that the gentleman whose hand was bitten, visited Mr. Garden two days before the assault, and it was then that the dog bit that gentleman, so that the wound might be ready for the alleged “ frame-up”?
– I suggest that the honorable member address his question to the Premier of New South Wales.
– Is the Assistant Treasurer prepared to make a statement to the House regarding the application of the Government of South Australia for a grant from the Commonwealth because of the disabilities suffered by that State under federation ?
– The Premier ‘of South Australia has submitted to the Commonwealth Government a printed case setting out the alleged disabilities of South Australia under federation, and has requested for next year a grant of £2,000,000. At the request of the Treasurer, I conferred with Mr. Hill in Canberra. South Australia’s claim will be considered by the Commonwealth Government in connexion with the budget for next year, and I have undertaken to submit to Mr. Hill any comments which the Commonwealth Government desires to make upon his case, and to indicate to him at least a fortnight before the next meeting of the Premiers Conference and the Loan Council, when the budgetary position of all States will be considered, the amount of relief which the Government is prepared to recommend to Parliament.
– Has the Prime Minister yet considered my suggestion that a proportion of the £600,000 made available by the Commonwealth for unemployment relief works in New South Wales should be utilized in the construction of country telephone lines? If so, what amount will be allocated for that purpose ?
– All applications from local governing bodies and departments will be considered by the Unemployment Relief Council.
– Has the Postal Department applied for any of the money?
– I understand that Commonwealth departments have been asked to suggest works which might be undertaken with the relief grant.
– In order to give a stimulus to the building trade and other activities pertaining thereto which provide employment for skilled and unskilled labour, and in view of the applications, under the Housing Act, that were made to the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales prior to that institution closing down, will the Minister instruct the Unemployment Relief Council that sonic of the money for relief be made available to the Commonwealth Bank for building purposes?
– The Government will not give any direction to the State councils as to how the money made available to them shall be allocated; but I shall bring the honorable member’s suggestion under the notice of the New South Wales council. Definitely, the Government will not give any instructions, but councils will act on the applications submitted to them.
– In regard to the agreement alleged to have been made between the leaders of the United Australia party and the Country party to propose amendments of the Constitution, with a view to giving the electors an opportunity to decide whether new States shall be created in New South Wales, has the Prime Minister any data regarding the areas proposed to be divided and the towns which are to become the capitals of the new States?
– I have not that information, but the subject of constitutional amendments will be fully considered by the Government during the next adjournment of Parliament.’
– The Sydney Morning Herald, of the 18th May, reports that Burns, Philp & Company is placing in England an order for two 3,000-ton motor ships for the island trade, and that duty will not be imposed on the diesel engines installed in them. Will the Minister for Trade and Customs consider the advisability of placing a heavy duty upon these ships, in order to make it more economical for the company to have them constructed at Walsh Island, or Cockatoo Island Dockyard ?
– I shall be pleased to make inquiries into the honorable member’s suggestion.
Nationality of Women
– At Geneva last year a request was made by the first committee of the League of Nations that the States affiliated with the League should forward their observations and views on the subject of women’s nationality, for the purpose of having them placed on the agenda of the League for its meeting next September. Has that request been complied with by the Commonwealth Government?
Mr. ARCHDALE PARKHILL.Some representations have been made regarding this matter, and they have been incorporated in a statement submitted to Cabinet. That statement is now under consideration.
– In view of the great loss of life through influenza throughout the European world, in comparison with the death rate in respect of small-pox because of the use of preventive medicine will the Minister, when any outbreak of influenza colds takes place in the nationally owned hotels and hostels in Canberra, arrange that a room occupied by a sick person shall be fumigated before another guest is allowed to use it? Will he also consider the suggestion that at stated times during the year the Department of Health shall fumigate all such hotels and hostels?
– I promise the honorable member that I shall at once investigate the possibility of carrying out the work referred to. His second request presents certain practical difficulties, but possibly they could be overcome. The whole question will be examined in detail.
– Is the Prime Minister in a position to make known to the House the personnel of the Unemployment Relief Council of New South Wales and its address, so that public bodies may know where to send any schemes or applications for assistance?
– The names of those appointed have already been made public. Mr. Garlick is chairman, and Mr. Gourgaud, of the Works Department, is associated with him. Mr. Collins, of Wagga, Mr. Riley, an ex-member of this chamber, and Mr. Abbott are also members of the council. In addition, within the last few hours we have obtained the services of the President of the Local Government Association, and the Presi dent of the Shires Association. Offices have been secured in Sydney at the Government Savings Bank Building. Applications may be sent direct to the chairman, at that address.
Charcoal - Oil Fuel
– Is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research continuing its research work into the use of charcoal in farm tractors?
– I shall have inquiries made to ascertain the exact position.
– What action has the Minister taken with the oil companies in an effort to obtain cheap oil fuel for farm tractors ?
– That question is still being investigated.
Sale and Use of Blankets
– Has your attention, Mr. Speaker, been drawn to a statement published in the press that certain property of this House - blankets - have been disposed of in Canberra ? I understand that officers employed in Parliament House have purchased these blankets for 5s. a pair. If the statement is correct, then the usual practice of calling tenders for surplus governmental material has been departed from. If it is the desire of the Joint House Committee to be charitable by practically giving materials away, why was no consideration given to the charitable organizations which are catering for people in dire distress and in need of bed clothing?
– When I noticed the paragraph in the local press I made prompt inquiries into the circumstances. In 1927 it was found necessary to employ a large number of special assistants in Parliament House as well as in the refreshment rooms. It was impossible to house these persons in the hotels, because of the scarcity of accommodation due to the large number of visitors then in Canberra. An arrangement was therefore made with the Federal Capital Commission to house the men in its camps, on the understanding that the Joint House Committee would be responsible for finding bedding for them. A number of blankets, pillows and mattresses were consequently obtained. Later, when it became unnecessary to provide accommodation for our employees, these articles were no longer needed, and were stored at Parliament House. As they were . considerably soiled, they were fumigated, and then stored in this building for several years. Recently it was decided that these articles should be disposed of, and the President and myself, as the executive of the Joint House Committee, were consulted on the matter.
These are the particulars of the sale: 4½ pairs of white blankets were sold at 15s. a pair; 22½ pairs of coloured blankets at 10s. a pair; 5 coloured mattresses at 15s. each; 9 black and white mattresses at 10s. each; and 10 pillows at1s. and 2s. each. The goods were purchased by 23 individuals. As a preliminary to the sale, which was in the hands of the steward of the refreshment rooms,, the furniture officers of the Works Department fixed the prices that I have referred to. Precautions were taken to consult the Audit Department so that everything should be in order.
– Will you, Mr. Speaker, make arrangements for each honorable member who desires a blanket during an all-night sitting to obtain one?
– I understand that the number of blankets available for this purpose exceeds the number usually asked for.
– Did I understand you to say, Mr. Speaker, that the members of the Joint House Committee had been informed of what was being done in regard to the disposal of the blankets? If that is so, I wish to make it clear that I, as a member of the committee, had no knowledge of the matter.
– The honorable member has misunderstood my remark. I said that the President and myself, as executive officers of the Joint House Committee, had approved of what was being done. The other members of the committee were not consulted.
– Will the Prime Minister inform me whether the five bills which appear on the notice-paper for the first time to-day under Orders of the Day must be dealt with before the adjournment on Tuesday next?
– Yes. Most of the bills deal with matters of minor importance, and it is hoped that they will be disposed of.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the Journal of the Senate which honorable members received this morning? If so, has he noticed that it contains four or” five pages of amendments to the Bank ruptcy Bill? Does the right honorable member consider that this measure is of minor importance?
– No; I was referring particularly to the Forestry Bureau Bill and the Solar Observatory Fund Bill. The Bankruptcy Bill is, of course, important.
– Has the Assistant Minister (Mr. Perkins) received, within the past fortnight, any communication regarding the present industrial situation at Cockatoo Island Dockyard? Is it his intention to pay an official visit to the dockyard during the recess, for the purpose of obtaining first hand information with regard to it?
– During the last few weeks I have received several communications relating to Cockatoo Island Dockyard. I have also received a letter relating to a legal matter. Possibly it is that which the honorable member has in mind.
– I was not referring to that communication.
– I paid an official visit to the dockyard two or three weeks ago, and made exhaustive inquiries as to affairs there. The whole subject is now being considered by a sub-committee.
– Has the Prime Minister made any further request to the judges who some time ago declined to accept salary reductions in accordance with the Financial Emergency Act, asking them to review their decision, and fall into line with the rest of the community in this regard?
– I shall make inquiries into the subject, and ascertain the present position.
– In view of the fact that repairs are again being effected to Parliament House roof, will the Minister for the Interior take steps to see that mistakes are not made on this occasion similar to those made some time ago when the contractor in charge of the work got. off much too lightly?
– Only the ordinary repairs are being made to the roof; but I shall have further inquiries made into the subject.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
When is it proposed to furnish the information asked for by the honorable member for Kennedy on the15th March last, in two questions, to which the Minister replied that the information was being obtained?
Mr.LYONS- It is regretted that the information desired by the honorable member is not yet available.
– The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) has asked a number of questions relating to the purchase of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers by the Kylsant Shipping Line. The information is being obtained, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
– Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be furnished to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) with regard to the amount of clothing and boots available from the surplus military stores for distribution among unemployed persons in South Australia.
– The honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) has asked a number of questions about gold production in New Guinea. Inquiries are being made, and a reply will be given as soon as possible.
– Replies will be furnished as soon as possible to the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear), in answer to his questions relating to the action to be taken by the War Ser vice Homes Commission with regard to the cost of repairs effected on abandoned homes in Boronia, Bazentine, Madeline, and Linda streets, and in Seymourparade.
– Replies will be furnished as soon as possible to the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney), with regard to the cost of maintenance of the grounds and gardens of the Canberra hotels.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Government is not in possession of any information on the matters mentioned by the honorable member.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
Victoria. - Messrs. C. A. Norris and Clive McPherson.
Queensland. - Messrs. J. P. Bottomley and M. P. Campbell.
South Australia. - Messrs. W. Queale and A. E. Hamilton.
Tasmania. - Messrs. Guy Parsons and R. Nettlefold.
Information will be furnished later as to the personnel of the employment councils in the above States. The personnel of the Employment Council of New South Wales is as follows: - Mr. J. Garlick (chairman); Alderman E. E. Collins, Wagga Wagga; Mr. P. A. Gourgaud, Department of the Interior; Messrs. E. Riley and J. P. Abbott. In addition, invitations have been extended to . Mr. W. H. Crouch, Everton, Condobolin, and Mr. G. J. Baker, Coogee, president of the Local Government Association of New South Wales, to accept positions on the council.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
As regards the frequent complaints from people who are obliged to use public telephones placed outside country post offices, that at a number of places these cabinets are merely boxes placed against the wall and conversations can be overheard, will he have inquiries made into the matter with a view to installing proper silent cabinets?
– A special type of cabinet has been designed to secure a greater degree of secrecy than is possible with many cabinets now in use at country post offices, but, unfortunately, their intro duction must remain in abeyance for the present, because of the prevailing financial conditions.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
What are the names and addresses of the chairman, vice-chairman, and members of the new Broadcasting Commission?
– The names of the members of the Broadcasting Commission will be announced as soon as the Government has reached a decision.
– Information will be obtained, and a reply furnished to the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) as soon as possible with regard to the distribution of naval and military clothing to the unemployed during the three months prior to the 1st instant.
Representation of Primary Industries
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Whether the Government will “be prepared to accept, in a consultative capacity, at the Ottawa Conference, the services of representatives of the wheat and meat industries, and also of the flour-milling interests of Australia, provided that they pay their own expenses?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Besides the officials who are to accompany the Australian delegation, the Government has conferred official consultative status upon four trade representatives who are arranging to be present at Ottawa during the Imperial Economic Conference. This has been done on the understanding -that no expense will be incurred on their behalf by either the Commonwealth or Canadian Governments. Two of these trade representatives (Mr. F. H. Tout, and Mr. H. W. Osborne) represent primary producers, Mr. R. W. Knox, commercial interests, and Mr. S. McKay, manufacturers. It is not proposed to increase the number of the official consultants under the present circumstances. Certain industries have expressed a desire to send their own representatives to Ottawa as private citizens. In such cases the Government cannot extend any special encouragement to them to do so, nor give any undertaking that their advice will be required, although, should unexpected problems arise, there would be little doubt that advantage would be taken of the opinion of an accredited representative of any industry concerned should such a representative be available.
Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
In view of the fact that ex-soldiers receiving what is known as living allowance have no appeal against the decision of the local Repatriation Department, whose decision is based on the local departmental medical officer’s certificate, will he introduce amending legislation to enable war pensioners to have access to the Assessment and Entitlement Tribunal in respect to living allowance?
– It is not quite correct to say that there is no appeal against the decision of the local Repatriation Department in respect of living allowances. Appeals may be lodged against the decision of the State Repatriation Board for consideration by the Repatriation Commission. The varied nature of living allowances and their economic aspects are such as to render them unsuitable subjects for submission to the appeal tribunals, and are entirely outside the purpose for which these tribunals were created.
Treasurer, upon notice -
In view of the numerous claims for invalid pensions that are being rejected by the local Pensions Department, chiefly on the ground that the departmental medical officer certifies that the claimants are not totally and permanently incapacitated for work, will he introduce amending legislation by which the claimant could obtain the advice of a private medical practitioner, whose advice would he accepted by the department in assisting to arrive at a decision as to whether the claimant is entitled to a pension or not?
– All claimants for invalid pensions are required to lodge with their claims medical certificates from private practitioners showing the nature of the incapacity and its permanency. These certificates are given full consideration together with all other medical evidence in the determination of the claim. In these circumstances, it isnot considered that amending legislation is necessary.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– A decision has not yet been reached, but I hope to make an announcement at an early date.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, uponnotice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. The information desired by the honorable member would necessitate a lengthy examination of the statute law of each of the Australian States as well as of Great Britain. It would be impossible- for the staff of the Attorney-General’s Department to devote the necessary time to this matter without delaying other and more important duties.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will he take steps requiring manufacturers of tobacco and cigarettes, who purchase imported leaf, to declare, when it is being bonded, for what purposes the leaf acquired is to bc used, and will lie have provision made for a substantial penalty for any contravention of any declaration so made?
– The purpose for which the leaf is to be used is disclosed and duty is paid accordingly when the tobacco leaf is removed from bonded warehouse to excise factory. It is therefore considered that no good purpose would be served in taking the action suggested1.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) proposed -
That Order of the Day No. 1 “Ways and Means - Further consideration in committee (The Tariff - Item 106)” be postponed until after Order of the Day No. 2.
– I should like the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) to tell us why this alteration is being made in the order of business. We understood last night that the consideration of the tariff would be resumed this morning. I shall offer no objection to the re-arrangement if there is a good reason for it ; but I do not -think that surprises should be sprung on honorable members without an explanation.
– I should also like an explanation of the alteration. _
– I informed the Leader of the Opposition this morning that it was proposed to proceed first with the consideration of the Immigration Bill. It is not possible to give many hours’ notice of alterations to the order of the business when we are- so near the recess. The Government is anxious to dispose of this bill, and also of the tariff ; but the discussion of the tariff has taken longer than we anticipated. It is possible that later in the day we may resume consideration of the tariff.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 11th May (vide page 604J), on motion (by Mr. Perkins) -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- This bill contains a number of provisions relating to the administration of our immigration laws, and I have no objection to those which are designed to prevent undesirable immigrants from coming to Australia or to deport those already here. During the two and a half years that I was administering our immigration laws, many cases were brought under my notice which showed the need for protecting the public purse, and the public property, as well as our citizens, from the ill effects that would follow unrestricted immigration. People have come here who are known to be addicted to criminal practices, and who in the past have lived vicious lives. It is only fair to our people that the Commonwealth and State Governments should do their best to rid the country of such persons, including those suspected of engaging in the white slave traffic and other undesirable practices. These are dealt with, first, by the State authorities, and then, if necessary, the Commonwealth law is enforced against them. In conjunction with the Customs Department our immigration officers have been able to do a good deal to protect Australia from the vicious practices of such people.
We know very well that our social services and privileges such a3 our old-age and invalid pensions, and the like, have attracted many people to Australia, and cases have come under notice of people in Great Britain having sent their aged and infirm parents to Australia with the special object of enabling them to enjoy our pension provisions.
– Has the honorable member any figures in that connexion ?
– I can say that an alarmingly large number of cases have occurred of such people being sent back to England. I have no objection whatever to the provisions of our immigration laws being applied to undesirable immigrants who live on prostitution and criminal practices of different kinds; but I am very much opposed to these laws being used for political purposes. The Government has recently begun a campaign against the “ Red “ bogy, and we shall deal with the Crimes Bill and the Arbitration in their proper order. While I have no objection to the provisions of this bill, I object to the measure being used in conjunction with any attack on working-class organizations. Let the Government apply it to criminals, white slavers and dealers in cocaine and opium, but. I strongly deprecate its use for the purpose of carrying on a political vendetta. It is a great pity that this solicitude regarding migration to these shores was not shown when the party opposite was previously in power.
– The Scullin Government ignored the act.
– I maintain that , the Bruce-Page Government ignored it.
– The Scullin Government admitted a notorious agitator who had been previously deported. That was contrary to the act.
– I am speaking of a totally different matter. The BrucePage Government began a campaign, in conjunction with certain European shipping companies, and facilitated the. migration to Australia in six and a half years of from 250,000 to 260,000 persons.
– Were they not nominated by the States ?
– I shall deal with that point. For six and a half years the Labour party protested strongly, and drew attention to the problem that inevitably confronted Australia of having so great a number of migrants that it would be necessary for the States and the Commonwealth to assist them’ with the dole. The Bruce-Page Government, at the instance of the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), with an extraordinary false idea of economics, laid down the doctrine that the more people we brought to these shores the better would be the economic conditions generally. The right honorable member used to say thai every person who came here would require to fed, and social services would have to be provided, and that this would create employment.
– Does not the honorable member believe in Australia being populated ?
– Not by Britishers.
– The Bruce-Page Government brought hundreds of thousands of migrants to these shores, and they received treatment which was denied to migrants of British origin. My friend opposite, who has made a sneering remark about the Labour party not welcoming Britishers, should remember that the Bruce-Page Government evidently wanted anything but Britishers. Travelling down the Queensland coast a few years ago, I saw a train full of Italians, Maltese and Greeks, and I was astounded to find that this tremendous party of migrants had been landed from a couple of boats at Brisbane. These men were all taking the place of Britishers.
– And all protected by the sugar agreement.
– It has been said on many occasions, and it will bear repetition, that when Australia is in a position to absorb labour from overseas, the Labour party will certainly provide facilities for, and give encouragement to, migrants of our own kith and kin; but apparently the members of the BrucePage Government did not care where migrants came from, so long as they arrived in large numbers, and provided cheap labour.
– Did not the Bruce-Page Government impose restrictions?
– No. It is of no use to say that the migrants were requisitioned for by the various State Governments, because, irrespective of the representations of any State, the responsibility rests exclusively on the Commonwealth Government to say how many, and under what conditions, migrants shall come here.
– The Bruce-Page Government borrowed £300,000 a year to pay the passages of migrants.
– Under that tragic policy, that Government brought into this country over 250,000 migrants, whichis almost equal to the present number of our unemployed. I shall not be so rash us to say that if this large batch of migrants had not been brought in by the Bruce-Page Government we should have had no unemployment to-day, but the number of unemployed would now have been 100,000 less than the present figures. That Government adopted a foolish and tragic policy.
– It was merely the agent for the States.
– I have already answered that point. Does the honorable member imagine that the Scullin Government acceded, as a matter of course, to the requests of the States for migrants?
– The conditions have totally changed in Australia.
– The whole of the conditions now obtaining were foretold by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) nine or ten years ago. The people of Australia were warned that the policy being pursued was a dangerous one. On certain occasions, when it suited the Government of the day, the Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) also warned the people, but he did so only for political purposes.
– Is the honorable member referring to British or to foreign migrants?
– To both.
– Does the honorable member consider the present population sufficient for this continent?
– I consider it too great at present, remembering the number for whom employment cannot be found. Any country which cannot employ its population has no right to encourage others from outside. If it were certain that we could employ migrants, the Opposition would welcome our kith and kin from Great Britain; but we have done everything possible to prevent a repetition of the calamitous experience that resulted from the policy pursued by the BrucePage Government, which was adopted merely for the purpose of breaking down the economic conditions in Australia.
When the Scullin Government came into power I had the privilege of administering the migration laws, and immediately upon taking office I placed a minute before the Cabinet, which was agreed to. Under the policy then adopted a large number of migrants were not allowed to land in Australia. But under the Bruce-Page regime, as I have already said, certain shipping companies brought out hundreds of men who obviously would compete in the labour market. It was a most unpleasant position for the Scullin Government to be placed in, to have to take the strong stand of refusing admission to a large number of migrants who had either borrowed money, or sold up their homes, in order to obtain passages to this country; but that Government was compelled to take that action, because even at that time a large number of foreigners were on the dole in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Under present conditions we cannot carry on an immigration policy, and a long period must elapse before there will be room for further migrants. When that time does arrive, it is to be hoped that, governments will not adopt the insane and vicious policy which was carried out by the Bruce-Page Government.
I am pleased to see that in the bill certain disabilities which were placed upon our former enemies have been removed. These disabilities applied to Germans, German-Austrians, Bulgarians, Hungarians and Turks of the Ottoman race. Representations were made by Turkey against legislation being placed on our statute-books specifically directed against its nationals, and during the Scullin Government’s term of office it was agreed to remove such restrictions. I do not suggest that the amendment provided for under this bill will allow these nationals to come into Australia. I assume that at least the same restrictions imposed by the Scullin Government will be observed, because of economic necessity. I intend at a later stage to have a good deal to say regarding the other legislation which the Government proposes to bring down. Certain of the amendments proposed in this bill are undoubtedly good, but they should be separated from other proposals which are contentious. It is obvious that some of the provisions have been inserted for purely political purposes.
– To which provisions does the honorable member refer ?
– Those dealing with deportation. As a matter of fact, the Minister himself hinted that this legislation would be used to purge the country of undesirables.
– The honorable member does not object to that, does he?
– It depends on how the provision is applied. For the past fifteen years the anti-Labour parties in this country have carried on a vendetta against certain sections of the working class.
– No one suggests that the working class is undesirable.
– I have made my attitude towards this bill quite clear. It is desirable that we should have power to take action against those engaged in the white slave traffic, or in the purveying of opium, cocaine and other noxious drugs. We should also have power to. deport criminals, and immigrants from other countries likely to become a charge on the public purse. It is proper that we should have legislation to deal with such persons, but we should not seek, through our immigration legislation, to pursue political and industrial vendettas. Speaking on this bill in another place, the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) stated -
The general purport of the amendments, other than that relating to alien immigration, is to tighten up the provisions that enable us to deal with undesirable persons in the Commonwealth. These provisions, in conjunction with those that will bc embodied in another measure that is to come forward next week, will, we consider, afford the Commonwealth hotter protection against certain undesirable features in the body politic, which have been asserting themselves only too plainly within the last few months.
Because of that statement, and because of the hints thrown out by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Parkhill) the Opposition proposes to vote against the second reading of this bill, and we shall endeavour to effect such amendments as we think necessary to this and’ the subsequent bills when they are in committee.
.- I support the bill. The time for the amendments forshadowed in it is long overdue. I was struck by the statement of the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley), that he was in favour of the bill generally, but distrusted it because it was introduced by this Government. He concluded by saying that he would vote against the second reading, but would seek to amend the measure in committee. If, by any chance, the motion for the second reading should be defeated, it is obvious that he will have no opportunity to propose amendments. The bill is either good or bad, and its merits are not affected by its introduction by the present Government. For my part, I believe the bill to be good. The honorable member for Darling was not able to point to one objectionable feature in it, arid was compelled to commend several of its provisions, yet he stated that he would vote against it.
The Commonwealth Y ear-Book does not bear out the statements made by the honorable member for Darling in regard to immigration. According to the honorable member, Australia was flooded with immigrants, in 1927 and 1928. The YearBook states that, for the year 1927 - when the Bruce-Page Government was in office - the net increase by immigration was 48,024. The Bruce-Page Government felt at that time that there were more than sufficient immigrants coming into Australia, and imposed the quota system.
– Under pressure from the Labour party.
– The same old cry! In 192S - still under the BrucePage regime - the net increase by immigration was 27,232, while in 1929, the increase was only 8,963. That was the beginning of the depression. In 1930, the last year for which figures are available, the Scullin Government was in office, and there was a net loss through emigration of 11,408* It is evident that the migration figures were affected, npt so much by government policy, as by economic considerations.
The purpose of the bill is to tighten up the provisions controlling the entry of immigrants into Australia, and also to simplify those provisions under which undesirable persons may be deported. Under the present act, the dictation test plays a very important part in determining the fitness of immigrants either to enter or remain in the country. The suitability or otherwise of an immigrant should not be made to depend upon his ability to pass a dictation test, and I am glad that it is proposed in the bill to relegate this provision to the background. Some of the most desirable immigrants who come to this country are least able to pass education tests. It is proposed in this bill to extend the permit system under which, the Minister stated, 90 per cent, of immigrants arriving in Australia are now admitted. There is no reason why the remaining 10 per cent, should not come in under that system also.
The act provides that an alien who, while, a resident of Australia, has been convicted of a crime of violence against the person, may, after the expiration of his sentence, be allowed to remain in the country if he is able to pass a dictation test. It is proposed to amend this section so as to render such a person liable to deportation, even though he may be sufficiently adroit to scrape through a dictation test. All immigrants who come to Australia should be regarded as on probation, and in the bill the probationary period is extended from three to five years.
In one direction the bill does not go far enough. Reference is made in the original act to the deportation of persons belonging to unlawful associations, but we have no means of knowing which are unlawful associations. The law should provide that any person belonging to an unlawful association, so declared by the High Court, may be deported.
– That is dealt with in the Crimes Bill.
– The provision should be inserted in this bill, and I propose to move in that direction when the bill is in committee. This is an important bill, with the “provisions of which I believe practically every honorable member in this House is in agreement, though some, no doubt, will vote against it for political reasons.
– I oppose the bill. While I admit that we should have authority to restrict immigration during times of depression, when the country cannot absorb the new arrivals, I cannot support some of the provisions of this bill, because they are obviously directed against working-class organizations. It is proposed to amend section 3 of the principal act by omitting from paragraph 9 g the words “ unless five years have elapsed since the termination of imprisonment “. That implies that, if a person has been convicted and imprisoned for a period of twelve months, he stands no chance of being admitted to this country.
Opposition MEMBERS - Hear, hear!
– Those honorable members who so jubilantly say, “ Hear, hear,” regularly repeat the Lord’s Prayer in all sincerity when they assemble in this chamber. They solemnly beseech the Lord to “ forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that . trespass against us “ ; yet they approve the proposal of the Government to penalize for all time any man who once made a slip. The offence for which he has paid the penalty may have been some minor indiscretion of youth. It may have been a political offence. Although a quarter of a century might have elapsed since the slip was made, and the person concerned might have re-established himself in the eyes of his fellows, the error of the past that he had lived down is to be resurrected, and used to debar him from becoming an excellent citizen in this new country. The original act contained the reasonable provision that five years must elapse before such- a person could be admitted to Australia.
– The honorable member misunderstands clause 3. It does not debar an individual from coming to Australia; but merely gives the Government an opportunity to investigate his record.
– It is perfectly clear that the clause will prohibit the entry to Australia of many desirable citizens. The majority of us have, at some period of our lives, violated the law of the land ; but many have been fortunate enough to escape detection. If honorable members indulge in a searching retrospection, they will acknowledge the truth of my claim. As an eminent man once said, “ There are two classes of men - those who are in gaol, and those who ought to be.” We profess to be followers of the lowly Nazarene, and in holy writ it is promised that those who have made atonement shall be forgiven. The policy in which the Government proposes to indulge, of eternal persecution for a forgotten indiscretion, leaves only a future of blank despair for the person who has erred, and subsequently rehabilitated himself. This legislation is entirely onesided. The alteration of the language test is deliberately designed to injure industrialists. No matter how good a linguist a man may be, he can be deported if he has committed a political offence. The remarks of the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Dein) confirm my opinion that this measure is designed to be used in conjunction with the Crimes Act and the Arbitration Act to make the deportation of political enemies of the Government and the punishment of trade unions a simple procedure.
The bill makes provision for the deportation of a person who is serving a term of imprisonment in Australia. The offence is not specified. It might apply to a trade union official who is in prison because of his endeavours to see that the awards prescribed by our industrial tribunals ave adhered to. I have in mind the lockout that occurred in the northern coal-fields of New South Wales, when the coal-owners flouted the award of the Hibble tribunal, as was definitely borne out by the finding of the royal commission presided over by Mr. Justice Davidson. Had this legislation operated at that time, any union official who took an active part in protecting members of his organization would have been deported had be been born out of Australia. I was amazed that the coalowners were not dealt with under section 30j of the Crimes Act. No action was taken against miserable “ scabs “-
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that the word “ scab,” which is the Communist term for non-unionist, is unparliamentary.
– If that is the proper interpretation of the word “ scab “ it is unparliamentary, and I ask the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) to use a substitute.
– These “ blacklegs “ who incite unionists to do wrong, are protected by the State police, notwithstanding that the mine-owners are breaking the law. During the recent lockout, an award of the court was deliberately broken by them. The police endeavour to enforce the law impartially; but when one section of workers attacks another, the police are called in to quell the disturbance. In such an-atmosphere, workers may be arrested, and under this law, would be liable to deportation. That is a severe penalty to impose on a man whose only offence is that he has acted in the defence of his wife and children. In times of industrial unrest, feeling runs high, and men are prone to break the law. Surely some other punishment than deportation should meet such cases.
An important omission from the bill is the absence of any provision for the deportation of migrants who have come to Australia, but have been unable to find employment. At a cost of £300,000 per annum, the Bruce-Page Government brought to Australia about 250,000 migrants. During the six years’ regime of that Government, the expenditure in connexion with assisted migration was £2,000,000. These unfortunate migrants were induced by circulars and posters to come to Australia, where they were promised lucrative employment, but many of them have been sadly disillusioned, and would now return to the Old Country if they had the wherewithal to pay their fares. Through no fault of their own, they have been thrown on the State. The bill should provide for their return to the Old Country, should they so desire, and that they should take their wives and families with , them. That would, at least’, be humanitarian treatment of people who were misled by false promises. To do what I have suggested would be more economical than to continue to feed them in Australia.
– Is the honorable member in favour of deporting them for economic reasons?
– I favour an amendment of the existing legislation to provide for the deportation of British migrants who, through no fault of their own, are unemployed in Australia, and desire to return to the Old Country. If the Minister would accept an amendment to that effect, I should be prepared to move it in committee.
– I take it that the honorable member desires that the passage money for their return should be paid for them.
– That is so. There is already provision in our legislation for the deportation of diseased persons in certain circumstances. Why should we not also provide for the deportation of migrants who are suffering because of our economic troubles? The position now is that Australia is put to the expense of keeping a portion of the surplus population of Great Britain. If these persons are to remain here, representations should be made to the Government of Britain to assist in their maintenance. Probably 50 per cent, of the unemployed in Australia to-day are British migrants.
– Nonsense !
– If the honorable member were to go into the coal-fields, he would know that almost every British countyis represented there.
It is proposed to make provision for the deportation of the wife and children of any man who has committed an offence under this legislation. What would be the. position should the wife and children not be willing to be. deported; because they would not be guilty of any offence?
– The wife of an alien is in law an alien also.
– This bill does not confine itself to aliens alone. No law should compel an Australian woman to leave these shores unless she herself has done something wrong. To deport a woman for an offence she herself has committed is serious enough ; but, surely it is very wrong to deport her against her wishes if she has committed no offence.
The bill empowers the AttorneyGeneral or the police to arrest, without warrant, any person whose deportation has been ordered by the Minister. It will be permissible for them to hold up vehicles on the road, and to search people whom they suspect. In my opinion, that is too great a power to give to the police, particularly when an innocent person who has been arrested is to receive no compensation. Provision should be made to meet the case of a person who has been wrongfully arrested. If the Minister will give an assurance that the suggestions I have made will receive favorable consideration by the Government, I may support the second reading; otherwise I cannot do so.
.- Mr. Speaker-
– The honorable member for Balaclava.
– I rise to a point of order. I should be glad to know the procedure which you, sir, propose to adopt in giving the call to honorable members. The Country party is the second largest party in this House; but although an exMinister who at one time controlled the Immigration Department has risen several times, he has not yet received the call, notwithstanding that you have now called upon the fourth speaker. Indeed, no member of the Country party has yet spoken to this bill. I suggest that in order to be fair, the Chair should have given a call to a member of the Country party before this.
– The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) will not be allowed to reflect on the Chair.
– I have no desire to do so.
– Honorable members generally will recognize the difficulty I have in pleasing every member, each of whom would like to be called as early as possible. My endeavour is to distribute the calls fairly among the parties, and I have to recognize that the members on my right constitute one-half of the House. The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Abbott) has risen on three occasions. I have now called the honorable member for Balaclava; but the next speaker called will be the honorable member for Gwydir.
Debate (on motion by Mr. White 1 adjourned.
– I move -
That Order of the Day No. 1 be further postponed until after Order of the Day No. 3.
The purpose of the motion is to allow the second reading of the Crimes Bill to be moved. After that has been done, the House will resume the debate on the Immigration Bill.
.- This is an extraordinary procedure. Honorable members assembled this morning on the understanding that the consideration of tariff items was to be resumed, only to find themselves switched on to order of the day No. 2. Now they are asked to pro ceed to the third order of the day, and discuss the second reading of the Crimes Bill. The whole position is uncertain. It is doubtful whether the consideration of the Immigration Bill will be resumed. In view of all this uncertainty, I think that we should receive from the Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) a statement as to what the Government actually intends to do. Having important engagements at the week-end, I protest against the uncertainty in which honorable members are placed.
.- I, too, protest against the way in which the House is being treated by the Government. In the absence of any declaration as to the Government’s intentions, honorable members have been extraordinarily patient. All through a 36-hours sitting they waited in vain to learn when they could go home and enjoy a sleep ; no announcement was made until there was a general protest against the continuation of the sitting. Surely they are entitled to some little consideration. I admit that the Government should control our business, but at the same time it should extend some courtesy to the Opposition, and even to its supporters, who apparently know as much about the programme of business as we do. Last night it was said over and over again by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Gullett) that the Committee of Ways and Means was to continue its consideration of the tariff until all the items in the schedule had been dealt with, but now we find that the tariff has been side-tracked. Is it that the Government changes its mind so rapidly that it has not sufficient time to acquaint honorable members with all the changes? We should certainly be told why the tariff has been side-tracked in this fashion. Surely the Government has not become “ windy “ because of what happened last night. If we are to jump from tariff to immigration, and then from immigration to crime, and back from crime to immigration, we shall not know where we stand. Is the sidetracking of the tariff necessary to give the Government time to do some whipping of its supporters? Whatever it may be, I want to know the reason for this extraordinary change in the Government’s programme.
.- It is unfair to honorable members of the Opposition, and also to honorable members of the Country party, for the Government to inform us at a moment’s notice that certain measures are coming on for discussion. Ministers ask us to give them consideration, but they show scant courtesy to us when they override the rules of the House, which provide opportunities for honorable members to analyse the various measures that come forward for discussion.
– I merely intend to move the second reading of the Crimes Bill today in order that honorable members may have a reasonable time to consider it.
– That may be right ; but last night, although I had not spoken to one item of the tariff, when I wished to speak on the adjournment on a question of importance, ministerial members were instructed to leave the chamber so that a quorum would not be present. Attention was then called to the state of the House by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Holman), and with the deliberate intention of “ gagging” me, the House was counted out.
– Order !
– Yet the Government asks us to treat it with all respect. I am opposed to the proposal now before the House.
.- In making this motion the AssistantTreasurer (Mr. Bruce) said that when he had moved the second reading of the Crimes Bill the discussion on the Immigration Bill would be resumed. Some honorable members- who reside in distant States have remained in Canberra in order to record their votes upon some of the remaining items of the tariff. It was unfair not to give them reasonable notice that the order of business was to be altered. I see no use in having any fixed order of business, if the business-paper can be re-arranged at a moment’s notice. It is of great disadvantage to honorable members to have prior engagements upset in this ruthless fashion.
– Honorable members are aware that, towards the end of a session, many measures have to be dealt with, and it is obviously advantageous that there should be a reasonable interval between the moving of the second reading of a bill and the resumption of the debate on the motion. I wish to convenience honorable members by moving the second reading of the Crimes Bill, to explain the provisions of the measure some time before the House is asked to discuss them.
– When will the debate on the Crimes Bill be resumed ?
– The Government is nontrying to determine what time will be required to enable the House to conclude its business in a proper and orderly manner. The resumption of the debate on the Crimes Bill will be included in that consideration.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of the bill is to strengthen the law in regard to unlawful associations. Section 30a of the Crimes Act defines as an unlawful association any body of persons which by its constitution or propaganda or otherwise, advocates or encourages - (i.) the overthrow of the Constitution of the_ Commonwealth by revolution or sabotage; (ii. ) the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of a Commonwealth or of a State or of any other civilized country or of organized government; or (Hi.) the destruction or injury of property of the Commonwealth or of property used in trade or commerce -with other countries or among the States . . .
The section also refers to bodies of persons advocating or encouraging sedition. Every decent citizen is naturally opposed to persons or organizations having those objectives, and any proposal to strengthen the law against them should meet with general support. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Scullin) has recently criticized the Government for not having invoked the courts of the country to the extent that he thought desirable in connexion with the dispute between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of New South Wales. The principal alteration proposed by the bill should meet with his approval, because it does invoke the assistance of the courts, placing upon them the obligation of determining whether certain bodies of persons are in fact unlawful associations. When these are so declared by the courts, the AttorneyGeneral will be enabled to deal with them, even to the extent of deporting those of their members who were not born in Australia. To the definition contained in section 30a the bill proposes to add -
Clause 3 empowers the Attorney-General to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for a declaration that a body of persons is an unlawful association, and the onus of proving that it is not an unlawful association is placed upon the body so charged. Almost insuperable difficulties are experienced in obtaining proof that associations of this character are engaged in propaganda and activities of an unlawful character. In placing upon the organization that may be charged the onus of proving that it is not an unlawful association, no undue hardship is inflicted, because such proof, in cases where it exists, should not be difficult to produce.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral be under any obligation to make out a prima facie case?
– No; the averments of the Attorney-General are, by the bill made prima facie evidence of the matters averred. Obviously, he would not apply to the court unless he had evidence in support of his application, but instead of his being obliged to prove that an organization is unlawful, the onus will be put on the body charged to prove that it is not unlawful. That provision is necessary, because these bodies take every precaution to prevent the obtaining of evidence of their unlawful character; they even go to the extent of intimidation, so that persons who have in their possession evidence which would prove the unlawful character of the association will not take the risk of furnishing it to the court. The bill also gives to the Attorney-General power to require a person or an officer of a corporation to answer questions, to furnish information, and to allow the inspection of documents relating to any money, property or funds belonging to an unlawful association or relating to any payment made directly or indirectly by, to, or on behalf of an unlawful association, or to any transaction to which it is a party. A person failing to comply with this provision will be liable to a fine of £100 or imprisonment for six months.
This House should have no hesitation in strengthening the arm - not merely of the Government or Parliament, but of society - so that it may be better able to extirpate organizations with whose objectives no decent citizen sympathizes. This provision, enabling the AttorneyGeneral to require information, gives a very necessary power incidental to dealing with those classes of persons who, today, are almost blatantly associating for unlawful purposes. It will help the Government to excise a social cancer.
Another clause relates to the sale and distribution of books, pamphlets, &c, The existing law confers upon the authorities power to prohibit the sale of books, pamphlets &c, issued by an unlawful association, but does not provide a penalty for the circulation or distribution of such literature. That omission is being corrected.
Proposed new section 30fb enables the Postmaster-General to cancel the licence of any broadcasting station used, or operated by, or in the interests of any unlawful association. Honorable members will agree that that power is necessary, because of the almost unlimited opportunities which the air offers for the dissemination of subversive doctrines. The owner, lessee, agent or superintendent of any building, who knowingly permits it to be used for the meeting of an unlawful association, will be guilty of an offence, and provision is made whereby, if any body of persons has been declared by the High Court or the Supreme Court - I emphasize that qualification - to be an unlawful association, the members of the executive or committee of that body may be disfranchized.
– Not the members?
– No. It would be dangerous to disfranchize all the members of an association, many of whom might be quite ignorant of the illegal acts of the executive. The officers and committee of an organization may be assumed to know its aims and activities, and may fairly be held responsible for any act in contravention of the law.
Under this bill any person, not born in Australia, who is proved to be a member of any unlawful association, may be deported on the order of the AttorneyGeneral. The existing power of deportation applies to three classes of persons, namely, those (1) advocating or inciting to crime; (2) inciting, aiding or encouraging a lockout or strike, and (3) any person who, having been deported, returns to the Commonwealth. To these classes the bill proposes to add persons not born in Australia who are members of an association which has been declared by the court to be unlawful. Again I stress the preliminary declaration by the court. Any person engaged in activities against the law of the land is an undesirable citizen, and the community should be relieved of the menace of his presence.
In these restless times when subversive doctrines are being preached, and the loyalty of the community and the stability of our institutions are being undermined, the widest power to deal with unlawful associations is essential in the interests of society. I commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Blakeley) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 12.50 to 2.15 p.m.
Motion (by Mr. Gullett) proposed -
That Order of the Day No. 1 be further postponed until a later hour this day.
.- No definite reason has been given for the postponement of the consideration of the tariff. Does the Government propose to drop the debate? The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), in answer to my question this morning, replied that the five new bills on the notice-paper would be proceeded with before the House rose. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) then pointed out that one of those bills - the Bankruptcy Bill - consisted of 69 clauses. Conflicting statements have been made in this House respecting the business which the Government intends to proceed with. Last night, the Prime Minister stated that the House would rise at 6 p.m. to-day, and meet on Monday next. Is it proposed to deal with the tariff next week ? Surely honorable members should know over the week-end the exact proposals of the Government, and I ask the Prime Minister to take us into his confidence and make the position quite clear.
– I assure the honorable member that I have already taken his leader into my confidence. I discussed the matter with him just before lunch, and pointed out that we had several bills to proceed with, and that when we met in the early part of next week, I would make a statement that would enable the House to decide whether the tariff schedule should be proceeded with at that stage. Evidently the right honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) has not had an opportunity to let the members of his party know the exact position. We propose to meet on Monday at 2.30 p.m., and also on Tuesday, and honorable members will then be given an opportunity to decide whether the tariff debate shall be adjourned.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from page 1139.
.- I welcome this bill. It is an earnest of the Government’s promise to deal with the extreme element in the community. We pride ourselves that we are British stock, that 98 per cent, of our people are of British blood. We are proud of our ancestry, and also of the statesmen who had vision enough to place upon our statute-books the policy of White Australia, and thereby save this country from the tragic conditions of such countries as Hawaii and Java - where East meets West. But it must be borne in mind that this is a mere statute, and unless it can be backed by man-power, unless we are prepared to defend it, it may be violated by other countries. The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) amazed me when he stated that Australia has an adequate population. Surely we are unworthy of our heritage if we do not’ realize that Australia should support many more millions, particularly when the United States of America, whose area is somewhat similar to that of this country, is supporting a population of 120,000,000. Although, during the present economic stress, we have, unfortunately, a great number of workless, that is rather a reproach upon past government for not having managed their affairs in such a way as to keep our people in employment. I hope that, by close co-operation with Great Britain, we shall have a steady flow of British migrants to Australia. We are fortunate to possess sp great a country as Australia. We hold it only by the might of the British Navy, but at some future date we hope to have sufficient man power to enable us to hold this country against the world. The White Australia policy is as dear to us as the Munroe doctrine is to the people of the United States of America. It is only by keeping the White Australia policy inviolate that we shall preserve the honesty and loyalty of our people and the integrity of our political institutions. We must preserve the honesty and loyalty of our people by excluding from our midst men of a criminal type. That, to a certain extent, has been provided for under our existing migration law, but even that does not function as it should. The honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) made an earnest plea on behalf of criminals who had reformed. He said that they should be given another chance.
– Only if they had reformed.
– I appreciate the honorable members plea. It is a certainly humane one. We have to consider the difficulties under which we labour, particularly in this time of financial stress. In the press to-day we read of an Australian with a criminal record who has been deported from New Zealand back to Australia. We have sufficient undesirables who are native-horn to warrant the exclusion of foreign undesirables. I admit that it is hard on men who may have criminal records, and have since reformed. to be kept out of Australia. The deletion of the five-year section will at least be for the general good of the people.
We. will preserve the loyalty of the people of Australia by preventing an influx of foreigners. Many foreigners who come here are undesirables, who find this country a happy hunting ground for their activities.
– That is not a fair criticism of foreigners.
– I am speaking of certain foreigners, and not of foreigners as a class. I am speaking of the aliens with Russian sympathies who come here to cause unrest among our working people. They trade upon grievances, and exploit the ignorance of the working class - men who, when employed, enjoy the best industrial conditions in the world. I admit that many of the foreigners resident here have given us a fine example of application to work. If we believe in British standards, if we are proud of our ancestry,, we must keep our population as British as possible. The proportion of persons of other nationalities, whether Italians, or of any other race, should at least be controlled under the quota system.
We preserve the health of the community by keeping from this country those who are diseased and otherwise unfitted - it may be by physical disability - to become worthy citizens of Australia. That is already provided for under our legislation, but I submit that a closer examination should be made of elderly migrants.- It is obvious that there is a good deal of evasion in regard to the medical examination of even British migrants who come to Australia.
But the principal danger that we must guard against is the overthrow of our political institutions by imported agitators who, by their insidious teachings, are undermining the working men of Australia. The attack is against not only the workmen, but also the trade unions. They are red-anting the trade union movement by becoming its leaders. Today that movement, which was originally founded for industrial purposes, has become a political weapon in the hands of men whose standards are distinctly UllBritish. It is obvious that there are many undesirables of that type in this country. Such movements as the Friends of the Soviet Union, the United Front against Fascism, the League against Imperialism and others, should not he allowed to flourish in Australia. When we hear the seditious and revolutionary utterances of agitators on the Yarra bank, and in the Domain, and even of some members of State Parliaments, particularly of the Parliament of New South Wales, we realize that this legislation is timely. It may prevent a good deal of trouble in the future, not only by keeping undesirables from this country, but also by dealing with some of those in our midst. The honorable member for Darling, who was formerly the Minister for Home Affairs, took pride in telling us how he had stopped the flow of migration to our shores. When he was speaking I interjected that he had allowed a certain undesirable person to enter Australia. During last Parliament I asked that honorable member in his capacity as Minister the following questions : -
The replies were as follow: -
The honorable member for Darling, who, with the support of a powerful union, became a member of Parliament, and later a Minister of the Crown, is interested in stopping British migration to these shores on the ground that it would create unemployment, yet he permitted an undesirable of this type, who had previously been deported, to enter Australia.
– It was a political deportation after all.
– During the war, when we were a nation in arms, we had power to deal with any menace from without, but in these days of peace, undesirables who are the advance agents of Russia in the economic war which that nation is waging on the rest of the world, and whose only aim is to create more and more unemployment, have been allowed to enter Australia. In that matter the ex-Minister for Home Affairs was not acting in the best interests of the people of Australia. Therefore, I welcome the bill. Lest the ex-Minister, when speaking to this debate, should endeavour to excuse his action in allowing immigrants of this type to return to Australia, I shall quote all the questions which I asked him on the 14th July of last year. Another question was -
Has any timber recently arrived in Australia from Russia consigned to the Russian Oil Products Limited, or any Soviet agency or its employees?
To that question his answer was - “Yes.” At about that time the Labour Government was so busily engaged with other matters that it denied any knowledge of the ultimate destination of that Russian timber, and professed to believe that its- admission would not mean more unemployment among- our timber-workers. It should be noted that this man Barker was re-admitted to Australia in November, 1930, soon after the Labour Government came into power. I also asked the ex-Minister for Home Affairs - <
Are the present whereabouts of Thomas Barker known?
The reply was in the negative. Of course tha ex-Minister and his Labour colleagues could not be expected to know that
Thomas Barker was all the time haunting the Sydney Domain ! Later he left Australia on a visit to New Zealand, where he continued his nefarious work. Upon his deportation from Australia in 1918, Barker was dropped somewhere on the coast of Chile, and, I believe, he was pushed over the border of one American country after another until, finally, he became friendly with Soviet agents, and later went to Russia. There he found himself among people of the same kidney as himself and after a time he received a commission to introduce American engineers into Russia to help the Soviet Government to carry out its five-year plan. Then the Soviet, realizing that he was a useful person for its purposes, allows him to come to Australia, ostensibly as a representative of the Russian Oil Products Limited, and, as we know, he was readily allowed re-admission by the Australian Labour Government which, for an unfortunate two years, was in control of the Commonwealth.
– Although this Government has been in office for four months, Barker is still carrying on his business.
– Yes. Possibly that is one reason for the introduction of this bill, which the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Blakeley) has declared he will oppose. So he is, at all events, consistent in his friendship for this sort of person.
– Why does not this Government deport him, if it believes him to be undesirable?
– If I had anything to do with the administration, I would see that Barker was a passenger in one of the first ships leaving Australian shores. He was actively engaged in communistic propaganda in New Zealand, and if one may judge from recent happenings in the sister dominion, he was not altogether unsuccessful there. Another question about Barker which I asked the ex-Minister for Home Affairs was -
Should he have recently left Australia, will he be refused re-admission to Australia if he again applies?
The answer was no. From the exMinister’s general attitude we are entitled to assume that, in his opinion, Barker is the right type of immigrant. f4l]
The ex-Minister would have us believe that the menace of communism is a bogy. Apparently he does not believe there is reason to fear harm from men who affirm, that “ There is no God but Marx, and Lenin is his prophet,” notwithstanding that did we want further evidence of their destructive activities in this country, we have it in the Red Leader printed in Sydney, under the imprint of the Sickle and Hammer, as well as in the militancy of the Australian section of the Red International of Labour. No one with any knowledge of the facts will deny that these anti-religious organizations would, if they had their way, break down family life, which is the basis of our social system, would communise the world, and would destroy all that we consider good and desirable in our free, British institutions. Although this menace is real, the exMinister for Home Affairs and his Labour friends never used their influence in this Parliament to oppose it.
– Don’t say that !
– I have never heard the honorable member- for Hunter (Mr. James) say anything against Communists in this House.
– No, but I do in the right place, and that is in the organizations.
– Possibly the honorable member has had some differences with this “ red “ element in the La’bour organizations, but only a very few hours ago, in this House, he declared that he would oppose this bill. Therefore, the least that we can say about him is that he is inconsistent.
The ex-Minister for Home Affairs takes credit for the Government of which he was a member on the score that it did something to make entrance into Australia easier for Turkish immigrants. In fact, he dealt in much more detail with the arrangements for their admission to this country than for that of British migrants. Possibly, as one honorable member has suggested, that was because Turkish migrants would probably join the Labour party. From a somewhat close association with the Turks, I am ready to believe that they would join up with any organization that might serve their purpose. The ex-Minister, when in office, appeared to be unduly solicitous about migrants from a country which, during the war, practically exterminated a Christian nation - the Armenians, and barbarously treated prisoners of war. He was willing to do as much, if not more, for them than for British migrants.
This bill will, as the present Minister has said, do something to uphold all that is best in our British institutions. It will also relieve industry of this “ old man of the sea,” which has an objective entirely anti-British, and, apparently, cannot be displaced from the shoulders of Labour, upon which it has settled.
– This measure is one of three which deal with inter-related subjects, the others being a bill to amend the Crimes Act, and a bill to amend the Arbitration Act. For this reason if is difficult to discuss one without also mentioning proposals contained in the other two. I disagree with much that was said by the honorable member who has just resumed his seat’ (Mr. White). He appears to be under the impression that the measure is intended to assist migration, whereas its purpose is to tighten up the provisions of the existing law, so that’ the Government may more effectively deal with persons who are regarded as undesirable immigrants. That, I think, is a fair summary of its contents. No sane person will approve the introduction of migrants whose chief purpose in life seems to be to break down existing social institutions, and to interfere with the home life of our people. But whilst no honorable member on this side would oppose the measure on those grounds, we should be careful not to place in the hands of any government unlimited power to do any of those things which a majority of the people would disapprove. I agree that certain provisions of the act might well be tightened up, but I believe that the existing law gives the Government sufficient power to do all that may be necessary. I strongly urge honorable members not to place unrestricted power in the hands of this, or any other, Government to deport nativeborn citizens. A few years ago, we regarded Russia, prior to the revolution, as a reproach among the nations of the world. We have always regarded Russia as an objectionable country, because its laws have encroached upon the liberty of its citizens. Possibly, there is not even now as much liberty in Russia as there ought to be; but we should remember, before condemning Russia, that many of our citizens, whom we delight to hear lecture, hold favorable views of that country. In any case, we have enough local troubles to occupy all our attention for the time being. We should concentrate our efforts upon making this country ^ as happy and law-abiding as possible. I believe in both individual and mass liberty. I do not think that any individual who really understands the meaning of liberty would willingly encroach upon the liberty of other people. Liberty, I realize, is very hard to define. The definitions of it given by the best writers of the world differ greatly. The narrowest definition, strangely enough, is given by the politicians. I have a great regard for Emerson’s works; but I do not think that many honorable members of this House would accept, without question, Emerson’s definitions . of liberty, character, patriotism, and so on. Our duty is surely to encourage our citizens to recognize that unless the law is obeyed, chaos and disorder must overtake the country. I do not think that there is any need to clothe a Minister of the Crown or any other authority with power to deport a native-born Australian.
– There is nothing in this bill to provide for the deportation of Australian-born people.
– I have been given to understand that there is a doubt on that point. I shall be glad if the position is as the Minister has said. I am also opposed to the deportation of Australian citizens who have had their citizenship conferred upon them .because of residential and other qualifications. People who come here, and, with the approval of the Government, adopt Australia as their country, are entitled to the protection of its laws, and I do not think that even though they may subsequently do things which are offensive, they should be punished by deportation. Their punishment should be similar to that which may be inflicted upon other Australian citizens.
Like the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James), I think also that if a man is deported the Government should give hia wife and family the opportunity to go away with him.
– That is provided for, in effect.
– I have been in close contact with many cases in which the liberty of the subject has been involved, and I have known tragic instances of the wives and families of deported men being left stranded in Australia. If the Government deports a person, it should arrange for his family to go with him. If the Minister will examine the files in his office, he will obtain information about many cases of the kind to which I am referring. I have in mind the case of a young man, a native of South Melbourne, who went to Russia with his father, an expert locomotive engineer who is now engaged in a big locomotive engineering works in Russia. This young man has got tired of Russian life and wants to return to Australia, his native land. Our immigration officers are taking a broad and sympathetic view of this case. But I know of a number of cases of wives who have been separated from their husbands through the operation of our deportation laws. It is regrettable that a man and his wife should be separated in such circumstances.
– Is not such separation always due to financial causes?
– Even so, we should not allow a family to be separated because they lack the money necessary to pay their fares to the country to which the husband and father is. being deported.
– Sometimes the wives do not wish to go with their husbands.
– That is true. I have been reading the two bills which are in a way associated with this measure, in order to discover, if possible, the full effect of these new provisions. The object of this series of hills is undoubtedly to strengthen our legislation dealing with organizations of employees, and, of course, certain organizations that are carrying on educational work or political work which is objectionable to the Government. But it should be remembered that most of these organizations have been formed .to allow men and women to engage in collective bargaining with their employers, and that they have been of immense assistance to employers and to the Government. I suppose that 75 per cent, or 80 per cent, of our citizens are associated in some way with these bodies. It would be most unfortunate if the rank and file of members of these organizations were held guilty of things done by those in official positions. It appears to me that the Government is trying to penalize, and even disfranchize, members of organizations who may be quite innocent of any illegal act or intention. We should very carefully discriminate between the ordinary members and the officers of these bodies.
– That is provided for in the Crimes Bill.
– I am not so sure of that. So far as I can understand the meaning of these provisions, there appears to be a danger of ordinary members of associations being punished because of something their officials may have done.
– Provision has certainly been made to punish the members of the executive committees of these bodies.
– Executive members may be just as innocent as private members. I should also like to see some alteration in the penal provisions of this bill. It is our custom to provide in our legislation for a maximum penalty for offences, so that the authority whose duty it is to impose the penalty may exercise a discretionary power. It will be clear to honorable members that, although two . men may commit a similar offence, there may be a great difference in degree of seriousness between offences. I think, therefore, that the word “maximum “ should be used in this bill in relation to penalties for offences. These are all matters which will require close attention during the committee stage of the bill.
Honorable members on this side -of the chamber are not anxious to have the ideals of foreign countries and foreign organizations which may be detrimental to Australia foisted upon our people; but a good deal of elasticity must necessarily be allowed in determining whether the ideals of certain organizations are beneficial or otherwise. We know very well that a patriot may have a deep love for his country, and yet bate bad government with all his heart. History proves this statement. People who live in certain parts of the British isles love their country passionately, but hate oppressive government with all their strength. We should not provoke law-abiding citizens to disorder, but should encourage regard for the law. I consider myself to be a law-abiding citizen; but I have been prosecuted for certain so-called acts of lawlessness. We are likely to provoke lawlessness by passing punitive and coercive law. We shall do well to remember, also, that a person who has adopted Australia as his country may be just as patriotic as a native-born Australian. We should doour utmost to resist the passage of laws of a punitive and coercive character.
– Like those passed by the Lang Government.
– I am afraid that the ideals of the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) are very narrow. We should deal with this measure calmly and dispassionately. Otherwise, we may make some serious errors. I hope that in the committee stage of the bill the Minister will agree to the withdrawal of certain provisions which, are unnecessary and severe.
.- This bill will meet a long-felt want. Unfortunately, a large number of undesirable foreigners have been coming to these shores merely to create trouble. I compliment the Government on the fact that it is taking power under this measure to prohibit the entry into Australia of convicted criminals, no matter what period may have elapsed since the date of their offence. It is not necessary for us to take a vindictive attitude, but no obligation rests on this Parliament to make it easy for convicted foreigners to come into Australia when they probably desire a change of scene for their country’s good. If a penalty of imprisonment for one year or more has been imposed upon them in their own country, Australia can well do with out them for all time. When a convicted criminal leaves his own country, his actions are not closely watched by the authorities there, and that makes it easy for him to repeat his offence in the country to which he migrates. This bill should go a long way towards preventing an influx into Australia of undesirable aliens. A foreigner has less restraint upon his actions in Australia than he had in his own country. He has less respect for Australia and its people than he would have to show in his own country towards his own people, and this fact makes it necessary to do everything possible to exclude undesirables from foreign lands. The Government should have the power necessary to deport undesirable aliens, even if they have resided in Australia for a few years.
We should not shut our eyes to the fact that organizations and criminal institutions in other parts of the world lay carefully prepared plans to get their agents located in various countries. I support some of the observations offered in that regard by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White). Certain classes of crime are committed with the aid of these organizations, but it is necessary for them to have efficient agencies and representatives in various parts of the world. Going through the criminal records of other countries, we find that the headquarters of some of these very dangerous criminal organizations are located in countries where they commit no crimes, the whole of their criminal activities being confined to other countries. Probably, Australia has more to fear than most countries from an influx of undesirable aliens, because our laws are particularly lenient towards them. In some countries, these foreigners would receive no quarter for an offence which, if committed in Australia, would result in the imposition of only a light penalty. In several details, it will be necessary to consider the bill carefully, particularly the clause referring to the position of the wife and family of a person who has been deported; but I am sure that the Government will see that no serious injustice is inflicted on any person.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Casey) adjourned.
Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by Mr. Lyons) read a first time.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That the House at its rising adjourn until Monday next at 2.30 p.m.
– by leave. - It is with great regret that I ‘announce to the House the death of Senator Newlands, who passed away in Adelaide early this morning. The health of the honorable senator was, during the past few years, indifferent, and on this account he decided not to contest the Senate election in December last.’ He would, therefore, have retired from the Senate- on the 30th June next.
The late senator had a parliamentary career extending over a period of 26 years - first in the Parliament of South Australia, and since 1913 as a representative of South Australia in the Senate. He occupied the important position of President of the Senate for the three years from 1926 to 1929, and held that office when the building in which we now meet was opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of York.
Other positions held by him whilst in the Commonwealth Parliament included the Chairmanship of Committees of the Senate, and membership of the’ Standing Committee on Public ‘Works, and during the war he did valuable work as Chairman of the South Australian State Recruiting Committee.
The services of the deceased senator to Australia were recognized on two occasions by His Majesty the King. In 1920, the order of Commander of the British Empire was conferred on him, and in 1927 he was created . a Knight Commander of Saint Michael and Saint George.
During the last few years, it was difficult for him to take full . part in the sittings of the Senate,’ but he insisted on doing his share, until it became physically impossible for him to continue. His death removes a prominent personality from this Parliament,’ and a man whose friendship was highly valued by his colleagues. To his widow and family, we tender the sincere sympathy of this House. I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator Sir . John Newlands, K.C.M.G., C.B.E., a former President of the Senate, places on record its appreciation of his distinguished service to Australia, and tenders its sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
– I support the motion, and join with honorable members in expressing sincere regret at the death of Sir John Newlands. The honorable senator had a long and distinguished career in the public life of this country, with which he was associated for over a quarter of a century, in his own State and as a member of the Commonwealth Parliament. During that period he served his country with all his energy, and, until recent years, he was noted for his vigorous personality. Notwithstanding considerable physical disability, he then struggled bravely, carrying out his public duties almost to the last. As President of the Senate, he earned the respect of all the members of that chamber for his impartiality and . capacity, and as a member of this Parliament he won the friendship of us all. Genial by nature, he was a gentleman always, and carried out his duties in a fair and honorable way.
.- I, too, join in this expression of sincere regret at the passing of Sir John Newlands. Every one who had the privilege of knowing him, as I had during fourteen or fifteen years, must remember his geniality, sincerity, and frank good nature. He served’ his country faithfully, so well, in fact, that his later years were marred by sickness; and he carried out his duties in a gallant and courageous manner to the end.
– I desire to say -a few. words in supporting this motion, and I do so with a very deep feeling of regret for the cause of it. As Speaker, I was closely associated with our late friend, while he presided in the Senate, particularly in connexion with the work of transferring the Parliament from Melbourne to Canberra, and during the trying times when the Parliament was settling down in its permanent home in the national -capital. I then found Sir John Newlands in every way a man of high character, “great integrity and deep sympathy. He -was always anxious to do what was right and just, and he showed particular regard for. all those who were associated with the Parliament, and over whom he particularly presided. He had a high conception of bis duty, and a very deep national spirit. He sought to associate himself with the activities of this national centre, and wherever he could, he showed sympathy with the aims and aspirations of the residents of this federal city.
Our hearts go out to-day to his beloved wife, who stood loyally by him through his hours of trial and suffering. To-day, by this motion, we are sending to her and to ‘the members of the family, not only our expressions of appreciation of the great work of Sir John Newlands, and our recognition of all he meant for us, but also our heartfelt sympathy with them in their affliction. lt will, we hope, be of some consolation to Lady Newlands and to her family to know that the memory of her late husband is highly esteemed by all who were closely associated with him in the discharge of high national duties.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing ‘ in their places.
Motion (by Mr. Lyons) agreed to -
That Mr. Speaker be requested to transmit to Lady Newlands the foregoing resolution, together with a copy of the speeches delivered thereon
– As a mark of respect to the memory of the late honorable senator, I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.16 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 May 1932, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1932/19320520_reps_13_134/>.