1st Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Order agreed to by the Senate and House of Re- presentatives, or does it require an alteration of the Constitution ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’squestions areas follows : -
The Government do not think such a proposal feasible at the present time. They doubt whether it would be possible without an amendment of the Constitution.
Ordered (on motion by Senator Mac-. farlane)-
That there be laid on the table of the Senate a return of all moneys deemed to be due to Tasmania under section 02 of the Constitution Act and the Customs Act collected since the establishment of the Commonwealth, and unpaid or not credited on the 30th April last.
Bill read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Drake) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a third time.
– It would be well to postpone the third reading of this Bill, which runs concurrently with the Sugar Bonus Bill, in which we have made an amendment extending the number of cahe-growers who will be entitled to receive the bonus. It may.be that the principle which is embodied in that amendment will not be accepted by the House of Representatives.’ We have no certainty that it will assent to any amendment extending the area of payment If the . other House were to take up that attitude and the Sugar Rebate Abolition Bill had passed out of our possession we should be in this unfortunate position : that only one stage would be left, and that would be to send the measure to the Governor-General for the Royal assent. The Sugar Rebate Abolition Bill might be assented to, and the other House might be unwilling to accept or make any amendment in the Sugar ‘ Bonus Bill. We should then have cast upon us the responsibility of accepting the measure in its original form, or of saying that, having pissed the other Bill, we should leave the sugar-growers in the position of not being entitled to receive either a bonus or a rebate. The two Bills, whatever shape they may ultimately take, should be. sent together to the Governor-General for the Royal assent, because they are interdependent. There may be a. number of honorable senators who would prefer to have the bonus paid as heretofore, and to accept’ the Bill in its original form. I do not say that it is so, but it might be, and, therefore, I think that we should only be doing what is fair in retaining this Bill until the question of increasing the number of cane-growers who would get the money under the other Bill has been determined. I wish honorable senators to realize that this in nowise affects the question which was raised and debated yesterday as to whether we should amend or make requests for amendments in the Sugar Bonus Bill. That has nothing to- do with the attitude which I am now taking up. I am assuming for the sake of argument that the other House may say - “ We do not care whether you make an amendment or a request ; we shall not extend the area for the payment of the money which’ we have already provided for.” I hope that the Postmaster-General will, realize the importance of the question, and the fairness of the attitude which I ask the Senate to assume. We have done everything we can with the Sugar Bonus Bill ; we have made a certain amendment, and we wish to. know whether the other House will accept it. I hope that the PostmasterGeneral will consent to an adjournment of the debate.
Motion (by Senator Sir John Downer) proposed -
That the debate be now adjourned.
– This looks to me rather like’ a sign of weakness-
– There can. be no debate on such a motion.
– I. can speak to the motion for the third reading.
– Not now. The honorable and learned gentleman moved the third reading of the Bill. It has now been moved that the debate be adjourned, and there can be no discussion on that question. The honorable and learned gentleman can only speak to the question of fixing a date for the resumption of the debate, and then his remarks must be relevant to that question.
Motion agreed to ; debate adjourned.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd July, vide page 1755) :
Clause 3 -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention ap pears - “British subject” means a natural-born
British subject or a naturalized person. upon which Senator Sir Josiah Symon had moved by way of amendment -
That the word “naturalized,” line 4, be omitted.
– I hope that this amendment will not be persevered with, because, by altering the definition of the word “naturalized,” we shall throw the whole Bill out of gear. Apart from the substance of the amendment, this is not a proper place in which to make it.
– Does the honorable and learned member agree with the substance of it ?
– No; I do not, and I shall explain why. But in order to test the question, I think the amendment should be moved in another part of the Bill, not here. This is simply a definition of the term “ British subject,” wherever it appears in the Bill. The amendment, which relates entirely to a matter of substance, should not be inserted so as to affect the general definition of the term “British subject.” The reason why I object to the amendment in substance is this : Having a desire to bring our law as far as we can into conformity with the laws of other countries in a similar position, we do not think it desirable to ignore altogether letters of naturalization which have been granted in the various States. . We do not do that. But we are now creating a Commonwealth system of naturalization, and the Commonwealth should have the right of deciding the terms upon which persons shall be admitted to the rights and privileges of British subjects within the Commonwealth. In many respects the terms upon which persons have been admitted in the States are similar to the terms upon which they will be admitted in the Commonwealth, but still there should always remain with the
Commonwealth Government a controlling power. The amendment was . submitted in the interests of certain classes of persons who had become naturalized in the States, and to whom it was considered very desirable to give facilities for becoming naturalized citizens of the Commonwealth. But when I pointed out that it would also include other classes, some members of the Senate saw at once that it would not be desirable to lay down the rule that every person whatever who had been naturalized in any State should become a citizen of the Common wealth.
– Why not? It is in the Constitution.
– The honorable and learned senator is wrong. In the past each State had its own laws of naturalization, and granted to persons letters of naturalization, which gave them the rights and privileges of British subjects within the territories where the letters were granted, but not outside. We are not interfering with that. A person who has obtained letters of naturalization in Victoria remains a British subject in Victoria. But, if he asks that his naturalization shall be extended beyond the limits of Victoria, we have to consider, first of all, how far it will be just to those States which have up to the present refused to recognise the naturalization laws of other States to force those people upon them as citizens. In order to conserve the rights of the States in this respect, we have to consider whether we should not have regard to the different laws of the States before Federation, and impose a uniform law of such a character as not to force upon any State persons whom that State would not. have received as citizens before Federation A person admitted on certain terms to naturalization in a State before Federation, might not have been admitted on the same grounds to naturalization in another State, A man would not necessarily be received as a British subject in New South Wales, because he had been naturalized - presumably for good reasons - in Victoria. Each State had its own particular system of admitting to naturalization.
– In the same way each State had a different system with regard to voting.
– We introduced a uniform franchise, which was as liberal as the most liberal franchise that existed in any State at the time of Federation. I am afraid that the honorable senator who interjects takes the view that it is a proper thing for us to make our naturalization just as easy of attainment as possible. I am looking at the matter from the other point of view - that our naturalization should be so safeguarded as not to open the door too wide, and that we should be rather careful and somewhat conservative as to the persons whom we admit to the rights and privileges of citizenship within the Commonwealth. That being so, we have a right to consider the views that were held by the States before they entered the Commonwealth and retain the power of admitting to, or refusing naturalization. The amendment would mean that because a person under the comparatively easy laws of naturalization of a State had been admitted to the rights of citizenship he should, therefore, of necessity, be admitted as a citizen of the Commonwealth. The law we propose to make is a very fair and reasonable one for safeguarding the rights of naturalization, and we certainly should reserve to ourselves the power of making due inquiries of every one who seeks to attain to the rights and privileges of a British subject in the Commonwealth.We are not interfering with any of the rights of naturalization which have been previously granted in the States. If a man has been admitted to citizenship in Victoria he continues a citizen of Victoria.
– We cannot take that right away from him.
– We do not attempt to take it away.His voting rights are just the same as they were before. It is when he asks for something which he could not have attained before Federation, that we require certain conditions to be complied with.
– Is the honorable and learned senator arguing with regard to white or coloured people?
– I am arguing with regard to all classes of unnaturalized aliens.
– A person may be a citizen in one State and an alien in another.
– That is the case at the present time. We provide in this Bill a means whereby a man who is a citizen of one State only may be admitted to the citizenship of the whole Commonwealth. But a man who has been admitted under the naturalization law of one State may remain a citizen of that State irrespective of this Bill. We do not take away his citizen rights. But we claim the right to have a general controlling power as to whom we shall accept as citizens of the Commonwealth. We claim that power under this Bill, but in doing so we make no distinction whatever. What I am afraid is required, by some honorable senators at all events, is that we shall divide the people who have become naturalized in the States into classes, and shall say to one class that they may become citizens of the Commonwealth without passing any test whatever or complying with any conditions; whilst with regard to the other we put a positive bar against them. That is different from the policy we propose. Our policy is in conformity with the policy of Great Britain and of other English speaking countries. We retain to ourselves the right of admitting or refusing, but we do not place a positive bar against any class in the community on the ground of race, colour, religion, or anything else.
– It is left to the discretion of the Government.
– It is left to the discretion of the Government to admit or not, but we do not impose any statutory bar and say that one class may be admitted whilst another class may be refused admittance. We certainly do not say, as I think we are being asked to say by this amendment, that one class shall be admitted without any inquiry whatever, and that another class shall not be admitted under any circumstances. That is totally foreign to the idea of the Bill. The policy of the Government is to treat all who have obtained letters of naturalization in any State upon an equality ; but we require of each that he shall prove that he is the person named in the certificate, that he is of good repute, and that he intends to remain in the Commonwealth.
– And then it will be in the discretion of the GovernorGeneral in Council to grant him naturalization?
– It is expressly provided that the Governor-General in Council may refuse or grant letters of naturalization without giving any reason.
– Irrespective of colour?
– We make no distinctions with regard to any class. We have to assume, in the first place, that the States in the past acted as they thought right in the best interests of the people. We recognise that they hare admitted certain people to naturalization. Probably we do not agree with their having done so, and we may not want to extend naturalization in those cases to other States of the Commonwealth. We recognise, on the other hand, that no doubt some States have admitted to naturalization persons whom every one would desire to become citizens of the Common wealth. But there are only two ways of doing that. One way is that proposed by the Government to make no statutory restriction, but to require each man to prove his bona fides, and that he is a person of good repute ; and then to admit or not to admit, as may seem fit to the Governor-General in Council. The other way, that seems to me to lead us into a morass of difficulties, will be to say that certain classes shall be admitted and certain classes shall not be. We have steered clear of that difficulty, and in doing so we have followed the policy which Great Britain and other countries inhabited by people of our own race have adopted j and if we desire to come into line with those countries, and obtain reciprocity with them, we can only act safely upon the lines of the Government Bill. This amendment, with the amendment proposed to follow it, would destroy the scheme of the Bill entirely, and substitute for it a different scheme, which some honorable- senators may consider -superior, but which appears to me to be full of difficulties, and unlikely to work as well as the Government proposal.
– The Postmaster-General fears that if we reject this Bill, we shall get into a morass of difficulty, but really the Bill is the morass. Let us take a very simple argument : What is this Commonwealth but an aggregation of States who have come together through the votes of their electors for certain limited purposes which we are authorized to carry out? Who made the Constitution? Was it not the electors of the States - whether they were black or white, I do not care ? The only test was that they were natural born or naturalized British subjects. Did they in the very act of exercising their suffrage in the creation of the “Commonwealth believe for a moment that they were voting themselves out of the Federation which their votes were bringing into existence?
– Where does the honorable and learned senator find that in this Bill?
– The Constitution was made by the votes of the people of Australia, and the. qualification of the voters was the qualification adopted in each State. The whole of the persons legally qualified under the law of each State to vote, voted for the Federation of Australia. Can it be said that in exercising their right to vote for Federation some of them voted themselves out of the Federation ? Can it be said that they intended to authorize the Government who had to depend upon their votes for their very creation to deny them the right to any further vote ?
– Not at all.
– That is the way in which it strikes me. When we were discussing the Bill the other day I thought we had arrived at a genera] agreement, and, in fact, one of the supporters of the Postmaster-General suggested to the honorable and learned senator that as the view of the Senate was so unanimous he had better accept this amendment and have done with it. If the honorable and learned senator suggests that we cannot deal with the subject in this form, that it is a question of drafting, and that the amendment might be introduced more conveniently at some other stage, I shall be prepared to meet him. But he is against the amendment altogether, and desires to reserve to the Government a power to say that some of the persons who exercised the franchise when the Federation was created shall, at the will of the Government, be deprived of it.
– It is not so stated in the Bill.
– As a matter of fact, in administration the Government have already done that.
– Supposing that every person, who voted for the establishment of the Commonwealth became a citizen of the Commonwealth by the fact of his being authorized to vote, as I con tend he did, the Postmaster-General is seeking to limit that right by giving a power to the Government to prevent certain persons from voting if they choose, or by giving them the right subject to the will of the Government, upon answering certain questions and satisfying the Government about something concerning which the Government are not entitled to be satisfied at all. This is a most dangerous principle. There may be some difference of opinion as to some naturalized coloured persons.
– They are only a handful.
– There is not any substantial number of them. But the Senate to a man is agreed, so far as the white people are concerned, that all who have been naturalized in the States shall be considered citizens of the Commonwealth. I therefore refer only to the others, about whom there may be some doubt in the minds of members of the Committee, and I say that if they were naturalized, and had the right to vote on the question whether the Commonwealth was to be established or not, it follows, logically, that that right should continue, and that they should become citizens of the Commonwealth which, by their suffrages, they have created.
– Can the honorable and learned senator show where the Bill disfranchises anybody ?
– It takes away the franchise from every person who has been naturalized in any State, and who is not a natural-born British subject.
– Not at all.
– If it does not take the franchise away, it is clear that an alien can be a member of the Senate.
– Some of these people we are all agreed should be admitted as citizens of the Commonwealth. But before they can become citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia under this Bill, they must make an application, and that application will have to be granted. Therefore, I say that they are expatriated.
– No, they are not.
– There is no question about it. They can not be taken into the Commonwealth until the Ministry choose to take them in. They are naturalized citizens of the States, but not of the Commonwealth until the Ministry chooses to say they are.
– They retain their voting rights.
– No thanks to theCommonwealth for that. They retain something which the Commonwealth could not take away from them.
– Then what is the use of saying they do not.
– That is one of the absurdities of this legislation. These people retain all their rights as citizens of the States, and those rights include the right to return members to the Senate. The only question is whether, if they remove from South Australia to Victoria, from Victoria to New South Wales, or from New South Wales to Queensland, they should cease to be citizens of the State to which they remove. All their rights in the State in which they have been naturalized are preserved. Whatever the object of this legislation may be, it is unmistakable that, although their rights in the States in which they have been naturalized cannot be taken away, they obtain no right to become citizens of the Commonwealth which they voted to establish, unless at the will of the Government of the day. I say that is a monstrosity.
– I followed the Postmaster-General very closely, because I was anxious to hear what sort of a case the honorable and learned senator would make out for asking persons who have been naturalized in the various States to make’ a fresh application in order to become naturalized citizens of the Commonwealth. I hoped that Senator Drake would be- able to submit some substantial argument in support of the clause, and in opposition to the amendment. But I am bound to confess that I am unable to agree with the argument which the honorable and learned senator did submit. I object very strongly to allowing a number of coloured people, who may have been naturalized in some of the States, to go into the State of Queensland and there claim the right to vote at elections in the same way as white men, and in opposition to our laws. Senator Walker, and other honorable senators who take an opposite view, may think that rather harsh. But it is entirely consistent with the policy pursued in Queensland for’ many years, and with the stand I have taken for many years in that State. However, in Queensland we have a very large number of German, Danish, French, and Swiss settlers, who have been in the State for many years. There are three or four electorates of Queensland which are largely composed of these people. The electorate of Rosewood is almost wholly German, the electorate of Lockyer adjoining is largely German, and the electorates of Beenleigh and Albert are large centres of German population. I can say that there are no finer settlers in Queensland than are those German settlers. Many of them have married and settled down and reared families most respectably. Senator Drake is aware that for a considerable time we had two German representatives in the State Parliament of Queensland, and one of them ultimately became a Minister of the Crown. Is there any reason, sense, logic or justice in asking those persons who have helped to build up the Commonwealth to again apply to become citizens 1
– They have to do so now if they want to be naturalized outside Queensland.
– The present Premier of South Australia is an American, unci a gentleman of distinction who has held office under the British “ Crown for many years. Will this branch of the Commonwealth Legislature calmly accept a measure which provides that naturalized foreigners such as those to whom I have referred shall again ask permission to become citizens of Australia ? Is that the position taken up by the Government? I shall be no party to the adoption of such a policy - I shall be no party to placing such legislation on the statute-books. There is another reason which ought to have some weight in support of the view I am advancing. A number of Germans, Danes, and others have gone to expense, or at all events to considerable trouble, in order to become naturalized. I have travelled a good deal in the districts in which they reside, and have stayed in their homes, and know that, while the younger members of their families may be familiar with our language and the affairs of this country, the original settlers are not so well acquainted as we ourselves are with the language, habits, manners, and institutions of British communities. But if we ask those people who have been citizens in Queensland for- years to again seek naturalization, what feeling shall we raise within them ?
– A feeling of indignation.
– We shall not only cause a feeling of indignation, but a feeling of doubt and surprise when they find that after so many years they are again practically aliens and strangers. . The PostmasterGeneral says that the object of the proposal is to bring our laws into line with those of Great Britain and some other countries of the world. I have a great admiration for my own native country and many of its institutions ; but I have, no great admiration for many of the conservative ideas and institutions which there prevail. I do not want this young Commonwealth, in its early history, when we are endeavouring to mould our laws on modern lines, to follow the worst or most conservative customs or institutions of Great Britain and other countries. As a person who may belong . to a somewhat advanced school of political thought, I desire to follow all that is best in the traditions, customs, and institutions of Great Britain ;. but if the motherland chooses to adopt some stupid or fusty old conservative law, is that any reason why we in Australia should follow the example, merely in order that our laws may be brought into line with theirs? The Postmaster-General says that there may be some persons who have the rights of citizenship in the States, but whom the Commonwealth would have a perfect right to reject.
– It is not a question of reject, but a question of eject.
– Senator Downer reminded the Committee that the citizens of Australia, black, and white, voted to bring the Commonwealth Constitution into existence. That is quite true. And confining our attention for the moment to white people, can it be possible that there are naturalized citizens in their respective States who would” be rejected by the Commonwealth ? Are we not seeking to make provision for a contingency which is impossible or unlikely - a contingency which, at any rate, does not exist to-day ? Here I may say that I draw a very wide distinction between white citizens and coloured citizens. I understand that under the State’s law a considerable number of coloured persons have been naturalized in Victoria.
– About eighteen.
– I understood there is a considerable number of coloured people in some of the States who hold naturalization papers.
– They are not worth troubling about.
– At any rate, in this connexion, I draw a wide distinction between the white and coloured races. In Queensland, except in a few isolated cases, where coloured persons have become proprietors and vote because of their proprietary rights, the State Government have always been very guarded in this respect in denying them citizen voting rights. In any case, it is monstrous to ask naturalized white citizens, some of whom have held postions of distinction in thecountry, to again apply for admission to citizenship in the Commonwealth. I hope and believe that the good sense and good feeling which ought to prevail will see that this extreme and stupid proposal finds no place on the statute-book.
– I am rather surprised at some of the remarks made by Senator Glassey, who spoke of drawing a marked distinction between two classes of the community, simply because of colour. Unless the honorable senator is in a position to show that there is some serious danger to the Constitution, he would be well advised not to insist on such a suggestion.
– There is a serious injustice to some of the States.
– The various States have, under their laws, naturalized certain aliens, and now in this representative body of the Commonwealth, we are attempting to draw adistinction between men whoare naturalized in one State and men who may be naturalized in another. Under the proposal, we are to leave it in the discretion of the Government of the day to say whether these naturalized citizens - the very estimable citizens whom Senator Glassey has in his mind - shall be. citizens of the Commonwealth.
– And also those who are not estimable.
– And also those who are not estimable ; but I have yet to learn that the only persons who are not estimable are those who have been naturalized. There are British-born persons who are certainly not estimable, and whom we should be very glad not to have as fellow citizens. As pointed out by Senator Downer, every naturalized and natural-born person had a right to take part in creating the Commonwealth. I do not say we have not the power, strictly speaking, but at any rate we have not the right to differentiate between those individuals. I doubt very much whether we have power under the Constitution to make such a provision as that proposed by the Government, and I should like to draw the attention of honorable senators to section 117 of the Constitution, which is as follows : -
A subject of the Queen, resident in any State, shall not be subject in any other State to any disability or discrimination which would not be equally applicable to him if he were a subject of the Queen resident in such other State.
That is to say, if an alien becomes a citizen of the State of Victoria, and goes to the State of New South Wales, he is not to be placed under any disability or discrimination which would riot be equally applicable to him if lie had been naturalized in the State of New South Wales. We are going directly in the face of the Constitution in attempting to say that a man who has been naturalized in the State of Victoria shall not be entitled to the same rights in the State of New South Wales that he would have had if he had been made a citizen of the latter State.
– According to the honorable and learned senator the Bill is ultra vires.
– According to my view this particular provision is ultra aires, but not the whole Bill. There are some provisions of theBill which nodoubtare within the power of the Commonwealth ; but in my opinion the Commonwealth under the Constitution has no power to discriminate between men naturalized in the various States and say whether their naturalization shall or shall not extend throughout the whole of the Commonwealth. The whole intention of the Constitution in bringing the various States into one Commonwealth was not to create disabilities, but to create abilities on the part of the population. Before we formed the Commonwealth each State was self-contained, and could afford no rights of citizenship beyond its own borders. Each State was, if I may use the expression, practically a nation in itself ; but under the CommonwealththeStates are all brought together and given aggregate powers. What could be more absurd than that a man should be treated as a British subject in New South Wales, and be regarded as an alien in Victoria? Let me again refer to the Constitution with regard to the disqualification of persons who may be elected to the Commonwealth. ‘ Subsection (1) of section 44 provides that -
Any person who is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen, or is entitled to the rights or privileges of a citizen of a foreign power - is disqualified. A man when he becomes naturalized in one State becomes a British citizen, having practically abjured his birthright. A German, for instance, when he is naturalized in New South Wales is no longer a German subject, but a British subject, and isunder no “allegiance, obedience, or adherence “ to a foreign power, but owes his “allegiance, obedience, or adherence” to the British Crown.
– In New South Wales.
– In New South Wales only, because the New South Wales Government have no powers beyond their borders. If such a man goes back to Germany, he does not become a German citizen simply because he has left Now South Wales, seeing that he has abjured his nationality and taken up another. It was only because of the smallness of the area within which the State could legislate, that the man was made a British subject only within its boundaries. But that man swears that he will be faithful to the King and Crown of Great Britain. And yet, when he comes into the State of Victoria, he finds that he has no status either as a British subject or a German.
– Section 44 applies only to disabilities.
– A man is eligible for election to this Parliament unless he comes under one of the disabilities in that section. A naturalized American or German in Queensland has a perfect right to V* elected as a representative of that State in this Senate, and we are asked to say that he shall not be a citizen of Great Britain in Victoria unless with the permission of the Government of the day. A man who is regarded as an alien so far as the Commonwealth is concerned may take his seat in this Parliament because the State in which he is a citizen has seen fit to elect him. Although he is an alien when he comes in here to make laws for the Commonwealth, yet he is not good enough to be regarded as a citizen of the Commonwealth. Can anything be more ridiculous or absurd in a British community, where half-a-dozen States are banded together, than to differentiate between the rights and privileges of men just according to where they happen to be naturalized if they are not natural-born British subjects? Can anything be more absurd than to say that, although a citizen of Queensland may attain to the highest position there, yet he cannot be regarded as a citizen of the Commonwealth without the consent of the Government ; that although he may be sent to either House of this Parliament by the people of his State to legislate for the Commonwealth, and may, perhaps, obtain the position of Prime Minister, yet he is not a citizen of the Commonwealth. The Government, through Senator Drake, tell us that the clause follows British law. Then in the United Kingdom a man may be made a Welshman, and not a Britisher ; he may be made a Scotchman, and not a Britisher ; he may be made an Irishman, and not a Britisher. The whole idea is an utter absurdity. I cannot conceive how any one can argue on this point in the way in which my honorable and learned friend has done. Senator Glassey says that he does not desire to follow the old conservative notions of Great Britain, but he is certainly advocating, not the conservative notions, but the free notions of Great Britain at the present time. If an alien is naturalized in any part of the United Kingdom, he is a citizen equally in any other part of the United Kingdom. For instance, if he is naturalized in Scotland he is a citizen of the United Kingdom when he goes to London or Dublin. Let me remind honorable senators that our actions will be observed in other countries. We do not desire to hold ourselves up any further to ridicule by our legislation than we have done. It has brought us into ridicule and contempt in other parts of the world.
– What legislation?
.- I refer the Postmaster-General to a very able leader published in the Argus to-day with regard to the propriety of leaving matters to the discretion of this Government. I do not suggest that no other Government would make mistakes and get themselves into similar difficulties and troubles, but it shows very clearly how improper it is to leave these matters entirely to the discretion of the Government. Senator Glassey would go so far as to leave it to the discretion of the Government to say whether a Chinaman should retain his rights or not.
– No; I would exclude Chinamen by a clause in the Bill.
– Then the honorable senator would say that if a German or Italian or Frenchman were naturalized he should be a citizen of the Commonwealth upon satisfying the Government that he had got a certificate.
– I want no certificate at all.
-Col. GOULD. - At any rate the honorable senator would make that man a citizen, but he desires to draw the colour line. Is it worth while to raise the question of colour in regard to naturalization ? In the Commonwealth there are only a handful of men of this character. They have been made British subjects in particular States, and why should we, because of the accident of colour, differentiate between citizens 1 Take a Chinese or an Indian who is a very intelligent man. Although he may be elected by the people of his State to sit in the Senate, yet Senator Glassey would say that he should not be a citizen of the Commonwealth simply because of his colour. Some honorable senators, I know, have a strong feeling that coloured persons should not be naturalized and made citizens of the Commonwealth. I can understand the reason which dictates that feeling as regards the future. We know that the States have always been very careful in granting naturalization to men of colour, and that the number is limited. But as regards the future, it is, of course, for the Government to propose a policy for the country regarding the admission of persons of particular nationalities or colour to full citizenship. Honorable senators may say - “ We shall not allow the Government to naturalize any person of colour.” If that is their view, let it be placed on the statutebook. If that is the policy of the country it is a legitimate thing to do. But it is not a legitimate thing to say that a man who has been naturalized in a State shall not have the rights of Commonwealth citizenship beyond the limits of that State.
– There is a good reason for that.
– There may be a good reason, but I wish honorable senators to realize the constitutional objection to the proposal. Supposing that it is enacted, the High Court may decide that the Parliament had no power to pass such a law. Or, if the Bill is passed, the GovernorGeneral may say “ This Bill interferes with the rights of nationhood, and therefore it must be reserved for the signification of the King’s pleasure,” and the Royal assent may be withheld. As a matter of expediency, it is a mistake to pass the proposal j and, as a matter of policy, it is absolutely wrong. What we require to do, above all things in this young nation, is to show that, no matter how strong, our opinions may ,be, we are actuated by one common motive, and that is to do justice to every man, no matter how meran or contemptible he may be. Honorable senators will not recognise a naturalized subject outside the boundaries of the naturalizing State, but they will allow even a black- - fellow, if he can get the votes of the people of his State, to enter the Parliament and to assist in legislating for the Commonwealth, although he is not a citizen of the Commonwealth.
– In what State is a blackfellow qualified to vote?
-I do not know that any blackfellow is qualified to vote in any State.
– We have coloured subjects in South Australia.
– They voted for the establishment of the Commonwealth, and now we are asked to take away their rights.
– They can still vote for the representatives of their State ; that right cannot be taken away. In the face of the declaration in the Constitution Act that all. men shall retain their rights in whatever State they are, honorable senators are attempting to pass a provision which is ultra vires, and, even if it is not ultra vires, they are attempting to do that which is in the highest degree’ unjust to the people who have been induced to abjure their allegiance to their own nation and to become citizens of States. I hope that honorable senators will not be carried away by their feelings on this question, and allow a gross injustice to be perpetrated on any person in the Commonwealth, however humble he may be. Assuming that the sense of the Committee is in favour of not allowing any coloured person to be naturalized, that question can be dealt with in the form of a proviso to the words proposed to be inserted, and then no injustice will be done to white persons, whatever injustice may be done to coloured persons, whom it is not considered desirable to mix with in the ordinary manner.
– I can scarcely understand the position which is taken up by the PostmasterGeneral. I think he can plainly see that there is an overwhelming majority against him, and that if he wishes to get the Naturalization Bill passed he must to some extent come into conformity with their views. I do not know where any member of the Government could have obtained the materia] for this clause. Senator Drake tells us that it ought to be accepted, because it brings us into conformity with the United Kingdom, or some other country. It is not our duty to legislate in the direction of uniformity with any other country, but to legislate in uniformity with the- opinions of the people who adopted the Constitution and elected us. If Great Britain, Trance, Germany, the United States, or any other country wants to reciprocate with the Commonwealth, why should we at the present time fix our conditions according to theirs with that idea in our mind 1 Why should we not frame our laws as liberally as possible on the ideas of the people of Australia, and then if other countries wish to come into conformity with us, let them do so? We ought not ‘ to be expected, at the commencement of the twentieth century, to come into uniformity with conditions that were adopted half a century ago, and both Senator Drake and his colleagues ought to recognise that position. I would rather see the few coloured aliens who are in Australia admitted to all the privileges of citizenship, than see the vast number of those who have proved themselves eligible citizens in different States deprived of their citizenship. I hope that the Postmaster-General will recognise the position - w which has been clearly pointed out by a number of honorable senators - that section 117 of the Constitution provides that it is not in our power to deprive them of the privileges of citizenship in one State if they are naturalized in another. Although on a previous occasion I brought up this same section of the Constitution, and my view of it was denied by some honorable senators, I arn glad to see that they have adopted my interpretation. I know dozens of respectable citizens of the different States who, when voting . for the Constitution, had the idea that they would be admitted to the citizenship of the Commonwealth, and would be no longer hampered by the mere boundaries of the State in which they resided. They believed that if they went to Victoria, New South Wales, or Queensland, they would still be citizens of the Commonwealth, and entitled to all the privileges of that citizenship. With respect to the colour line that Senator Glassey is so anxious about, it is quite within our province under the Constitution so to legislate, that all coloured aliens who do not possess naturalization in any of the States at present, shall be excluded ; and I dare say that a majority of the Senate will be found in harmony with that opinion. I hope that with a view to securing uniform legislation with regard to naturalization, and- to getting the Bill into working order as quickly as possible, the Postmaster-General will no longer resist amendments that he can plainly see will be supported by the majority “ of the Committee. I know that the honorable and learned senator is very capable of prolonged opposition. In fact, the PostmasterGeneral is a better fighter in a forlorn hope than when there is a possibility of winning. I trust that on this occasion he will no longer be found fighting with a party of one or two, but will give way to the clearly expressed wish of the majority.
– I am very glad indeed that the discussion around this amendment has, to some extent, covered the ground of the debate that would naturally arise upon the amendment of which notice has been given by Senator Higgs .’ with respect to the colour line. At the time the Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated, it was understood that any naturalized British subject exercising citizenship in one State would have that light recognised throughout Australia. It was never contemplated that a right exercised by a citizen would be taken away. As a matter of fact, I think that the Constitution attempted to secure to naturalized persons -their rights of citizenship. But unfortunately it has not clearly said so. When honorable senators say that it is impossible to differentiate between white naturalized aliens and coloured naturalized aliens, they are making a very great mistake. A grave injustice is being done to at least one of the States of the Commonwealth, because the naturalized aliens of one State are in a different position from the naturalized aliens of another State. In Victoria the State law provided that naturalized coloured persons could exercise the franchise on a residential qualification. Senator Playford has informed us that there are eighteen or twenty naturalized coloured persons in that position.
– Perhaps I may be allowed to explain that I said there were eighteen or twenty of such persons, but I now find that the eighteen or twenty acquired their rights during the last ten years. I learn that there are some 2,000 altogether.
– For the purpose I have in view it does not matter whether there are eighteen or 2,000. What I wish to point out is that, owing to the State law of Victoria allowing naturalized coloured aliens to exercise the franchise, the Federal Government, on the advice of the AttorneyGeneral, has, for the purpose of calculating the quota as affecting the representation of the States in the House of Representatives, included the whole of the naturalized coloured citizens of Victoria - about 20,000 in number - in the population of that State. The naturalized coloured persons in Victoria are just sufficient to make the population of that State large enough to return 23 members to the House of Representatives.
– That is to say, no change is made.
– It means that because some naturalized coloured aliens have exercised the franchise in Victoria in the past, the- whole alien population has been included in the count. ‘ This is a very serious matter to the smaller States. In Queensland, the State law provided that, while coloured aliens could be naturalized, the right to exercise the franchise could not be given to them on a residential qualification ; if, however, they acquired a certain amount of property they had a property qualification. There were some 100 odd coloured aliens who acquired the necessary £100 worth of freehold property in Queensland, which entitled them to the freehold vote. But because the Commonwealth law says that there is to be no property qualification, the Queensland naturalized alien voters were not permitted to be counted in the quota. We were not supposed to have any. If they were counted in Queensland as they were in Victoria, Queensland would have ten members in the House of Representatives as against Victoria’s 23. If we are to say that a naturalized subject in one State is to .exercise the rights and privileges of citizenship in any State, it means that a naturalized alien in Victoria can go to Queensland and exercise the rights of citizenship there, whilst a coloured alien in Queensland will have no hope of exercising the rights of citizenship if he goes to Victoria or remains in Queensland. That is a gross injustice to the smaller States. This
Bill is an attempt to make a common citizenship. It does not matter in what portion of the Commonwealth an alien is naturalized, that naturalization would hold good throughout the Commonwealth. That is to say, if a person is naturalized in Victoria, because he has the right to exercise a residential vote in Victoria, he can go to Queensland and exercise a residential vote there ; but on the other hand, a Queensland naturalized alien who has not a residential vote, cannot come to Victoria and exercise the franchise here. This point is alone sufficient to cause honorable senators to consider whether it is not wise on our part to differentiate between white aliens and coloured aliens. I have every sympathy with those honorable senators who are con.tending for the rights of some of the finest class of settlers we have in Australia - the white aliens who have established their homes here, and who have proved themselves to be Australians. This right to be termed Britishers should be recognized all over Australia. But I am not prepared to vote to allow the coloured gentlemen in Victoria to exercise a right in Queensland which the coloured alien in Queensland could not exercise if he came to Victoria.
– Can we do that ?
–I think we can. Honorable senators who are contending for Federal citizenship to be recognised all over Australia place me in a peculiar position. I am prepared to differentiate between the white alien and the coloured alien, but I am not prepared to give the coloured aliens of Victoria opportunities which are not given to the coloured aliens of my own State. I have not brought up this question hurriedly. My attention was directed to the anomaly during the recess, and I went into all the circumstances both with Sir William Lyne and Mr. Deakin. They distinctly told me that their interpretation of the Constitution, and the instructions they had given to the commissioner in dividing electorates for the House of Representatives, were that there were to be 23 representatives in Victoria and 9 in Queensland. They told me that the population of Victoria entitled this State to 23 representatives, because it included the whole of the coloured aliens. They included the coloured aliens, because some of them had been naturalized, and were entitled to the residential qualification. If the coloured population of Queensland was counted in the same way, my State would be entitled to ten representatives, but we are not entitled to that number, because we do not give a residential vote, but only a property vote, to our coloured aliens, whilst the Federal franchise abolishes property votes. Those are the opinions as plainly as I can state them, given to me by Mr. Deakin and Sir William Lyne as the result of many interviews. If we are not going to make any discrimination at all between white and coloured aliens, it will mean Victoria getting a representative and Queensland losing one. To add insult to injury, a Victorian Chinaman can go to Queensland and exercise a right which a Chinaman living in Queensland could not exercise. .
– He cannot get more than the rights which Queensland gives to a Chinaman.
– I am quite prepared to admit the great qualifications of my honorable friend, Senator Fraser, as a lawyer, but at the same time I do not believe that he is the ablest lawyer either in Victoria or in the Federal Parliament. If I have to choose between the honorable senator and the Federal Attorney-General, I shall prefer to take the opinion of the latter, who at all events is the man in possession. As a matter of fact, we know that the instructions to the dividing Commissioners have been- upon these lines, and there are to be 23 representatives for Victoria and 9 for Queensland. If honorable senators will look at the returns of population they will find that without the coloured population Victoria is not entitled to more than 22 representatives.
– If Queensland alters her electoral qualifications, that difficulty may be surmounted.
– The honorable senator is entirely mistaken. No alteration of the qualifications by the Parliament of Queensland would have any effect, because what we have to deal with is the qualification which existed prior to the establishment of Federation. Senator Downer pointed out that people who had a right to vote for the establishment of the Commonwealth should not have their votes taken from them, and that really we have not the power to take away their votes. I direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that coloured freehold voters in Queensland were entitled to vote and did vote for the establishment of Federation, and for the election of members of the first Federal * Parliament, and they have no right to vote now. The election for the Federal Parliament was carried out on the principle of one man one vote, but an elector who,, under the State electoral law, had a right to vote in several electorates, was permitted to select the electorate for which his vote should be recorded, but he could vote only once. Under the Queensland electoral law, there are several qualifications - leasehold, household, freehold and residential - and coloured aliens who possessed a freehold qualification exercised the franchise,, whilst under the Commonwealth Franchise Act they will not be allowed to exercise that franchise.
– Does the honorable senator mean that the aliens to whom he is referring will have no votes under theCommonwealth franchise?
– None whatever,, because the Commonwealth electoral law recognises no property votes.
– He does not need it;, he can vote without it.
– I differ from thehonorable senator. He may not do so until the present Federal Attorney-General alters his mind, or until we get a Federal AttorneyGeneral who will hold a different opinion. According to the present interpretation of the Constitution and theCommonwealth Franchise Act, a naturalized coloured alien who had a freehold, qualification to vote in Queensland has lostthat vote.
– No ; every naturalized person under the Commonwealth law has the right to have his name placed upon an electoral roll.
– That is in order to secure a residential vote under the Commonwealth Franchise Act. But I am dealing with coloured people who held a. freehold qualification to vote under the Queensland electoral law prior to Federation. I claim that the1 interpretation of the law confers a favour upon Victoria to the disadvantage of Queensland, whilst Victoria has already more advantages than she is entitled to.
– Why does: not Queensland alter her law ?
– It is absurd for thehonorable, senator to interject in that way. AVe might alter our law in Queensland irb any way without affecting the matter, because we are dealing with the state of the franchise law prior to Federation.
– Are 48,000 voters in Victoria to be disfranchised to give Queensland some advantage?
– I do not ask that 48,000 Victorian voters should be disfranchised in order to give Queensland an extra representative. I was not aware that there are 4S,000 naturalized aliens on the electoral rolls in Victoria.
– The honorable senator desires to interfere with our quota of members.
– I do ; if Victoria is not entitled to 23 representatives, she should not have them. If Victoria is entitled to that number, as a matter of fair play Queensland is entitled to an extra representative, because if Victoria is to be permitted to count in her alien population, we should in Queensland be allowed to do the same, and the representation should be 10 to 23 instead of 9 to 23. In the Naturalization Bill we cannot deal with that particular issue ; but we should be very careful that these coloured alien rights so closely conserved in Victoria shall not enable aliens who have been naturalized in that State to go to other parts of the Commonwealth and there exercise their rights as naturalized British subjects. If Victoria is to have this kind of naturalization and representation, she must keep her naturalized coloured aliens in her own territory.
– The honorable senator refers only to coloured aliens, not to white aliens who have been naturalized ?
– That is so. I am entirely with those who would give the right of citizenship all over Australia to the white people who have been naturalized in any of the States.
– The honorable senator objects to suffer an injustice under the Constitution. ,
– I do not think it is an injustice which we suffer under the Constitution, but an injustice arising from a particular interpretation of the Constitution. ] should like to know how honorable senators intend to deal with the amendment which has been suggested by Senator Higgs. If the amendments of Senators Symon and Higgs are both carried they will meet the -whole case, but if we adopt only Senator
Symon’s amendment, and reject that suggested by Senator Higgs, the evils which I have endeavoured to point out will arise. It is only fair, therefore, that we should know whether a discrimination is to be made between white and coloured aliens.
– Some . remarks made by Senator Dawson with regard to the state of affairs in Queensland attracted my attention. I find that under section 4 of the Commonwealth Franchise Act, which we passed last ‘session, it is provided that -
No aboriginal native of Australia, Asia, Africa, or the islands of the Pacific, except New Zealand, shall be entitled to have his name placed on an electoral roll unless so entitled under section 41 of the Constitution.
That carries out entirely what Senator Dawson has said! The honorable senator has pointed out that under the peculiar qualifications of the Queensland electoral law these coloured aliens will be debarred from voting at any Federal election. They cannot vote because section 41 of the Constitution sa)’s -
No adult person who has or acquires a right to vote ut elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State shall, while the right continues, be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth.
There the limitation is clear. Coloure’d aliens in Queensland wh’o by the State laws had no right as such to vote in that State cannot possibly have the right under the Commonwealth Franchise Act. We shall be confronted with this extraordinary state of things if we pass the amendment suggested by Senator Symon, though I am in accord with, and intend to support, it. We shall be placed in this anomalous position : we shall be granting to coloured aliens residing in every State of the Commonwealth, except Queensland, the light to vote at Federal elections, while exactly the same class of aliens in Queensland will be debarred.
– And even if they have acquired State naturalization papers.
– That is a lamentable thing, but I see no way out of it under the Commonwealth Franchise Act. Even such a state of things will not prevent my voting for Senator Symon’s amendment. Looking through the amendmnts which have been suggested, I see that thu Committee is very likely to be put into such a position that we shall be asked to grant immediate rights of naturalization to Germans, to Frenchmen, and other white aliens, and that we shall subsequently be asked to debar coloured aliens. Senator Glassey appeared to me to be speaking not so much to the present amendment as to what is likely to happen later on. I say at once that, while I shall be prepared to support the present amendment, because I think we can do nothing else if we have regard for justice, I shall endeavour also to see that justice is clone by the way in which we deal with subsequent clauses. We are now asked to decide upon naturalization rights, not with regard to nationality or place of birth, but with regard to the position of various aliens in the Commonwealth at the present time, and having regard to the previous naturalization laws of the States which we can no longer control.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).There is one point I should like to place before the Committee in support of the amendment. Honorable senators are probably aware that in the defence policy of the Government-
– They have no defence policy.
– I am dealing with the policy given to the world by the Age newspaper. I find from that that any male naturalized subject is liable to be called upon to share in the responsibility of the defence of the Commonwealth. It- seems to me a most anomalous state of affairs that, whilst the Commonwealth may call to its defence a naturalized citizen in a State, the Commonwealth should yet seek to deny him the rights and privileges of citizenship. Responsibility and privileges should go hand in hand. If we compel naturalized citizens in a State to share Commonwealth responsibilities, surely, in common fairness, we ‘ought to extend to them the privileges of citizenship. That is the only point to which I desire to refer in favour of the amendment in its .broader aspect.; but I desire to express my sym patic with the position of Queensland. The matter which Senator Dawson has brought under notice is one which requires attention at the hands of Parliament and the Government. I do not know that anything can be done in this Bill to remedy the present state of affairs, but it seems an absolute injustice that Queensland should be deprived of the proportion of representation to which that
State is fairly entitled, if the principle adopted in calculating the quota in Victoria is to stand good.
– The remedy is a new representative for Queensland.
– Exactly; but before a new representative can be obtained an amendment either of the Commonwealth law or of the Constitution must be obtained.
– We ought to alter the Franchise Act.
– I am not at all sure that we would gain the object in that way ; in my opinion it will require an amendment of the Constitution. I do not desire, however, to so far transgress the standing orders as to enter on a discussion of that question, but merely to mention it incidentally in order to express my sympathy with the State of Queensland, which is deprived of what is undoubtedly its fair share of representation. I shall be only too glad, if opportunity presents itself, to support an amendment of the Constitution, or of our own legislation, in order that this grievance may be removed.
– Senator McGregor expressed the opinion that it is useless to oppose an overwhelming majority. I do not altogether hold with the honorable senator, because the presence of a strong opposing majority makes it all the more necessary to express one’s opinions, especially on an occasion like this, when I can see perfectly clearly, as the debate proceeds, that those who are supporting the amendment are doing so on different grounds and for different reasons. The probability is that as soon as the two parties who have combined in favour of the amendment have achieved their end, they will split and be as much opposed to each other as they possibly can. A number of honorable senators are supporting the amendment in the hope that if it be carried they may be able to carry further amendments. We have notice of an amendment in clause 4 by means of which the question raised by the present amendment could be decided in what is the proper place in the Bill. I am sorry to hear Senator Millen say that he will vote for the amendment, and I ask him whether the interpretation clause is the clause on which the object in view should be carried out. The interpretation of “ British subject “ is not a definition of what a British subject is, but merely of those words eis they appear in the Bill. Senator Higgs has given notice of an amendment on clause 4, excluding aboriginal nations of Asia and Africa, and the Pacific Islands. It must be seen by every honorable member that the interpretation clause is not the proper place in the Bill in which an amendment of this kind ought to be made. Such an amendment should be made in one of the operative clauses which declare what we propose to do.
– “What is a “ naturalized “ person under the Bill ?
– A person who has the Commonwealth naturalization.
– The Bill does not say so.
– When .we come to the clause which decides who shall have Commonwealth naturalization, the question can be raised, and if the Senate is of the same mind as at present, a provision may be inserted giving the Commonwealth naturalization to every person who holds naturalization in a State. An interpretation clause is simply intended to prevent repetition throughout the Bill. I hope honorable senators will consider the point ; and, in the meantime, I wish to say a word about section 117 of the Constitution. Senator McGregor twitted me with having prolonged the debate, and he regarded Senator Gould’s remarks on section 117 as having been accepted by me since they were not denied. I contend that the clause does not conflict with or affect section 11.7 under which the lights of a person at present naturalized in one State remain as at present. Under this Bill if a naturalized person in Victoria goes into Queensland he will have the same rights that he has hitherto enjoyed ; he will be under no disability.
– Supposing that the States were still separate, and that the Riverina were joined on to Victoria - in such a case a naturalized citizen in’ the Riverina would become a naturalized citizen of Victoria.
– Under letters of naturalization in particular States, rights which are mostly of a proprietary character, are acquired, the State fixing what the rights and privileges are ; but that will not be the case under Federal legislation. No fresh letters of naturalization will be issued by the individual States, and this Bill simply provides, that if a person at present naturalized desires to obtain - what he did not have before Federation - the right of carrying his naturalization privileges over the border into another State, he must apply for Commonwealth citizenship. If a person naturalized in Victoria desires to have citizenship in New South Wales - a privilege which he could not obtain before Federation - all he will have to do will be to make an application for Commonwealth citizenship.
– Perhaps he may not be eligible for Commonwealth naturalization.
– Why not?
– Because naturalization requirements are so much easier under the State laws. In some of the States no residence is required.
– I think residence is required - at any rate, six months’ residence. There must be six months’ residence in South Australia. A person who got naturalization papers in a State is a naturalized citizen in that State still. If he wishes to get Commonwealth naturalization he makes application in much the same way, and complies with conditions which do not involve any term of residence. He will then -become a citizen of the Commonwealth. We are treating him, of course, very much better than we treat a man who has not been naturalized, because the latter has to put in a residence of five years in the Commonwealth before he can apply..
– The Goverment in the exercise of their discretion can say - “ The law requires a residence of five years, but you have put in a residence of only six months, and therefore we shall not naturalize you.”
– My honorable and learned friend is very imaginative.
– It is possible. I would not trust the Government.
– We must do either one thing or the other. We must either say that all naturalized aliens - black or- white, undesirable or desirable - must come in as a matter of course, or we must leave a discretionary power to the Government. The latter is wanted by some and not by others, and because there is a combination of two parties to support the amendment of Senator Symon, which is moved in the wrong place, it is supposed that I ought not to debate the matter any further, but should allow the amendment to be carried. I do not think that would be a reasonable course to adopt. Those who desire that we shall have a good Naturalization Act ought to combine to decide this point.
– The honorable and learned senator will have his chance. We can finally vote against the clause as amended if we do not like it.
– I wish to see a good Bill carried ; and it is very necessary and desirable to have some safeguard so as to keep control over the persons who are to be admitted to our citizenship.
– I wish to remove an anxiety which seems to be oppressing Senator Dawson. He said that a large number of Chinese may leave Victoria and do something, I do not know what, in Queensland, and that he does not desire that State to be flooded with Chinese, who may get votes.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– The honorable senator also pointed out that a number of Chinese were counted in Victoria in order to cause that State to get a full share of representation in the other House.
– An undue share.
– If I tell the honorable senator that there were only 121 Chinamen counted in Victoria, will he adhere to that statement ?
– According to the census returns, the Chinamen in Victoria numbered 6,230, of whom 121 were naturalized, either by birth or by taking out papers.
– But in calculating the quota for Victoria all the Chinese were counted, whether they had votes or not.
– If they counted all the Chinese they did not act in accordance with section 25 of the Constitution Act, which says - ‘
For the purposes of the lost section if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of that nice resident in that State shall not be counted.
Under the Victorian law the Chinese had no votes for the Legislative Assembly, unless they had been naturalized by taking; out papers.
– The Queensland Parliament enacted a law that Chinese should hot be entitled to vote, and, therefore, no Chinese could be included in the count.
– No Chinese were included in the count in Victoria unless they were naturalized.
– The Victorian Parliament had not disqualified all persons of the Chinese race ; therefore, they could all be counted in.
– My interpretation of the section is that unless a Chinaman was naturalized he was not counted.
– That is not the Attorney-General’s reading.
– But even if the 6,230 Chinese were included in the count in Victoria, it did not materially alter the position of affairs. It is not a great deal to make such a fuss about.
– It may have given a. few over the quota.
– My contention is that Victoria has no extra member through the counting of those Chinese.
– If they had not been counted Victoria would have had one member less.
– I admire the energy and genius of the Postmaster-General in fighting the amendment. He is an excellent fighter in a forlorn hope. In my opinion, the amendment is moved in the right place, and it will clearly define who shall be considered British subjects within the meaning of the Act. I hope that, after the very long fight we have had, Senator Drake will be content to take a vote, and then, if Senator Higgs should choose to move his amendment to except certain persons, we can debate that question. I believe that almost every honorable senator is anxious that those aliens who have been naturalized under the States Acts - white persons, at any rate - should be made citizens of the Commonwealth.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Walker) agreed to.
That after the word “person,” line 4, the words “ naturalized in a State before or in the Commonwealth after the passing of this Act,” be inserted.
– I move -
That after the word “ Act,” the following words be inserted: - “or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.”
If that amendment is carried, I shall ask the Committee to insert these additional words : - or in the Dominion of Canada or in New Zealand or in any British colony having responsible Government.
– It will be seen now what these amendments are leading us to. They are all being proposed in an interpretation clause. We ought to aim at reciprocity in this matter. We ought not to make these naturalized persons, under whatever laws they may be naturalized, citizens of the Commonwealth.
– This amendment only refers to the United Kingdom.
– Interjections have been too frequent this afternoon. The debate must be carried on in an orderly way.
– Is Senator Drake in order in anticipating a debate that may arise upon an amendment that has not yet been moved ? The amendment before the Chair is simply as to persons naturalized in the United Kingdom, and I submit that the honorable and learned senator cannot refer to Canada, the United States, or any other country. He must confine himself to the United Kingdom.
– It is a most unusual thing to attempt to debar me from replying to the objections of other honorable senators.
– I said that in the meantime I would only move this proposal, applying to the United Kingdom.
-Senator Walker indicated that if this amendment were carried he intended to propose another. Strictly, the amendment before the Chair refers only to the United Kingdom, but it is competent for Senator Drake to urge that if this is carried, such and such an amendment may probably be proposed, inasmuch as this amendment admits a certain principle.
– I am only referring to the matter now in order to give point to my argument against the amendment, because, if this is carried, Senator Walker has told us that he intends to extend it further, and increase the number of countries, whose naturalized citizens we are to accept without any question whatever.
– We have not before us anything but this amendment.
– But if this amendment is carried, others will be proposed. The principal objection to it is that we desire to bring about uniformity and reciprocity between Great Britain and her great possessions. We have a right to stipulate that if we accept their naturalized persons as subjects of the Commonwealth, they shall accept ours.
– Does not Great Britain accept ours ?
– Certainly not.
– I thought the amendment referred to natural-born subjects ?
– No ; it refers to naturalized subjects. Senator Walker’s proposal means that every person of whatever colour, race, or tribe, who has become a naturalized citizen of Great Britain, shall ipso facto become a British subject in the Commonwealth.
– We will oppose that.
– I should think it ought to be opposed.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 4 -
A person resident in the Commonwealth, not being a British subject, who intends to settle in Commonwealth, and who -
has resided in Australia continuously for five years immediately preceding the ap plication ; or
has obtained in the United Kingdom, or in a” State, or in a colony which has become a State, a certificate of naturalization or letters of naturalization ; or
has during infancy become naturalized under section 10 of this Act, and who, if a woman, is not married, may apply to the Governor-General for a certificate of naturalization .
– I do not understand the meaning of the words - “A person resident in the Commonwealth . . who intends to settle in the Commonwealth. “
What is meant by “ settle ?”
– How long?
– The applicant has to declare his intention to live here.
– He has to live here for five years before he can apply.
– I do not understand exactly what is meant by the word.
– The clause contemplates that a person will make a declaration under paragraph (a) of his intention to settle in the Commonwealth - thatis to say, that he is not simply a visitor. It is not desirable to encourage people who are simply tramping about the world to get the rights of citizenship when they do not intend to settle. We do not desire to naturalize birds of passage.
– I move -
That after the word “subject,” line 2, the following words be inserted “and not being an aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific, except New Zealand.”
The clause will then read -
A person resident in the Commonwealth, not being a British subject, and not being an aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific, except New Zealand, who intends to settle in the Commonwealth -
The object of this amendment is to prevent any of the 80,000 coloured aliens who are not naturalized at present, but who may be naturalized, or desire to be naturalized, in the future, from applying for Commonwealth naturalization papers. The amendment will accord with the wishes of Senator Styles.
– Hear, hear.
– This amendment does not refer to those who have been naturalized.
– No ; I propose later on to move an amendment with regard to them. This amendment simply refers to new naturalization.
– I am sorry that the amendment which we have already carried has been made in the Bill, because it has induced the amendment now before us. We have departed from a principle which I consider was a sound one, that we should not put upon our statute-book any discrimination as to colour.
– There is a section in the Franchise Act which discriminates as to colour.
– This Bill does not affect the franchise law, which remains with its restriction affecting coloured persons.
– But the honorable and learned senator says that he does not desire to see any discrimination on the statute-book of the Commonwealth.
– Not in respect of our naturalization law, because we wish to get into line with other countries and establish reciprocity. , We want to have a Commonwealth naturalization law that is wider than that of any other British country. It will be a fatal obstacle to that end, if we make distinctions on account of race or colour. This has nothing to do with our franchise. Naturalization simply deals with certain rights that have hitherto been under the control of the States, but which in future are to be a Commonwealth concern. I am aware that amendments of this character are generally popular at present, and probably most honorable senators will support it. But I think it inadvisable that the principle should be introduced in a naturalization law. It goes dead against the principle that there should be no discrimination on any ground of race or colour, but that every individual case should be left for the exercise of discretion by the Executive, which is a better safeguard than any statutory restriction.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - My amendment has nothing to do with Senator Symon’s, which has been carried. Under clause 3, if persons have naturalization papers they will be naturalized throughout the Commonwealth. I propose to deal further with that question later on. The present amendment deals with the80,000 coloured aliens within the Commonwealth who are not at present naturalized, but who may apply for certificates. I wish to make a distinction between them and immigrants who come from Germany, Italy, and other countries in Europe. As regards Senator Drake’s idea that this Bill should admit persons from all parts of the earth to the same rights and privileges which we possess, I have , not yet reached that stage of magnanimity, and do not feel disposed to leave the question to the Executive. Why should the Executive be permitted to make distinctions? If any natural -born Australian wishes to go and live in China, and the Chinese have a similar law to the one I propose, of course he will not be naturalized in China. Senator Drake seems to have in view the possibility that in the future an Australian might wish to become a naturalized subject of Japan or China, and that if we pass my amendment he would not be permitted to be naturalized, because the Chinese or Japanese will adopt reciprocal measures. I propose to adhere to the amendment.
– I think the Committee will be well advised in adopting the same line of distinction in this matter as we have done in the Franchise Act. We have said there that any coloured person who has obtained the right to vote in any State shall have that right in the Commonwealth. We should say the same with regard to naturalization. We have provided in clause 3 that persons who have been naturalized in a State shall be naturalized in the Commonwealth. If we do not insert this amendment it may be possible for the 80,000 coloured aliens in Australia to obtain naturalization. Another point which I submit is this - that in the definition clause “ British subject “ is defined as any one born on British soil. So that it might come about that any persons coming into Australia in the future from India, Ceylon, or Hong Kong, from the British Malay States, or an Arab or a negro from British possessions in Africa, would, ipso facto, have the right to naturalization in Australia. We must remember that our education test is not a perfect one, and that numbers of coloured people may be able to come into the Commonwealth in spite of it. If they have been born on British soil, which includes a third of the globe, they will on coming here be entitled to the full rights of citizenship. Those rights carry with them great responsibilities to the Australian people, and we should be careful that they are not conferred upon aliens without proper restrictions. I say we should adopt the amendment suggested by Senator Higgs, not only because we ought in this case to make the same distinction as we have already made in the Commonwealth Franchise Act, but in order to provide that people of coloured races born on British soil shall not, for that reason alone, be entitled to the rights of citizenship within the Commonwealth.
– I should like to say, in reply to Senator Higgs, that I was not speaking of reciprocity with China or Japan, but of reciprocity with British countries who may have laws of naturalization which will not contain the restrictions which it is proposed shall be insisted upon here. If we introduce restrictions which do not exist in the Acts in force in other British countries, we shall find them a bar to reciprocity. That is the reason why we should prevent these restrictions being expressed in. the way proposed, and why we should leave the settlement of these matters to the GovernorGeneral in Council. That is. a much safer and wiser plan, because it will prevent any obstacle to our securing reciprocity upon this question with other countries. We should not purposely slavishly follow the legislation of the United Kingdom, but we should look to it as indicating the lines we should follow in any legislation of this character. If we desire reciprocity with Great. Britain and other British countries on this subject, we shall avoid these restrictions.
-We can have reciprocity by legislation as well as by administrative action.
– We might; but if our statutes contain restrictions which do not exist in the laws in force in other countries, we shall have very great difficulty in bringing about reciprocity.
– As I understand the matter under the definition clause any person born on British soil is a natural-born British subject. That being the case we have millions and millions of people who are born British subjects in various parts of the world as. black as we could paint them, and as yellow as they could be made. If we do not agree to Senator Higgs’ amendment, we shall be placed in the position of having to acknowledge those people as British subjects. They will require to go through no form of naturalization whatever. They will not have to go before the Governor-General to answer a single question, or to produce any naturalization papers, but from the mere fact of their having been born British subjects they will be able to come here and claim the rights of full citizenship of the Commonwealth.
– That is not so.
-We have an education test which may keep out a certain number, but it will not keep them all out.
– According to this proposal, a person of the races mentioned may not apply for naturalization even after having resided here for five years.
– Then I have misunderstood the position, and I should like Senator Higgs to say what he is really proposing to do.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - At the present time, according to the estimates of various qualified persons, there are some 80,000 coloured aliens within the Commonwealth. Probably 10,000 of those are naturalized.
– The honorable senator is trying to meet the difficulty of those who are already here?
– Yes. I desire to prevent the naturalization of 70,000 unnaturalized aliens at present within the Commonwealth. That is the first object of the amendment. The next is that suggested by Senator Playford himself. I should like to block those natural-born British subjects who may be natives of India or other countries under British rule, from being able to secure naturalization papers within the Commonwealth.
– I should like to point out further that, if we intend to prevent coloured aliens securing naturalization, it is immaterial whether we prevent them applying for naturalization papers, or say that if they do apply they shall be refused. If we make up our minds to refuse their applications if they do apply, we might just as well say at once that they shall not apply, and that is what the amendment says. I draw the attention of Senator Playford to the fact that, if we allow them to apply at all, it will be at the discretion of the Government to grant them naturalization papers. If there is a majority of Federal members of both Houses against the issue of naturalization papers to these people, we can very well say that the people of Australia are at the present time against their naturalization. Whenever the people of Australia make up their minds to naturalize those people they can alter the law ; but if we leave it to the discretion of the Ministry the law may be altered without consulting the people.
– I should like to make clear what the effect of the amendment will be. Senator Higgs proposes that any person who is a native of Asia, Africa, or the islands of the Pacific, excepting New Zealand, shall not, under any circumstances, be allowed to become a naturalized subject of Australia.
– May not apply.
– He cannot get letters of naturalization without applying. He may be a Nabob or Indian prince who has resided here for five years, and is determined to settle in the country, and he is not to be allowed to make an application for naturalization. That is to say, he will not be allowed, under any circumstances, to be admitted to citizenship in Australia. That is going further than any one of the States has ever gone so far, because it puts an absolute bar to naturalization on the ground of colour. It is not a matter of 80,000 being admitted to citizenship, because no one supposes that vast numbers of those coloured aliens would be so admitted. But the effect of the amendment will be to put it out of the power of the Government, or any one else, to allow any of these people to become naturalized.
– No ; Parliament could do it.
– I know that Parliament could do it, but it takes a long time for Parliament to act. We cannot move Parliament in order to effect the naturalization of a single person, and this amendment would prevent any authority in the Com- monwealth from allowing a person born in Asia to be naturalized under any circumstances. He may be a man with a skin as white as our own, he may have lived a blameless life for twenty years in Australia, but he is, under no circumstances, to be admitted to citizenship. Citizenship does not necessarily mean the right to vote, because we have provided already in our Commonwealth Franchise Act that certain persons, being natives of one of these countries, shall not be allowed to vote or to become a Member of Parliament. The rights we are dealing with here are rights to hold property, to own ships, to serve on juries, and so on. One great distinction between an alien and a British subject is that a British subject can hold land anywhere, and in some places an alien cannot. These are the. privileges enjoyed by a person who has British citizenship as against one who has not. What the amendment says is that any person born in any of the places referred to cannot, under any circumstances, no matter how white his skin, no matter how long he may have lived in the Commonwealth, or what work he may have done here, and no matter if he desires to settle here, and become in perpetuity a British citizen and leave British children after him, become a citizen of the Commonwealth. There should certainly be some very grave reason to induce us to insert a provision of that sort in our naturalization law.
– I see nothing extraordinary, absurd, or even dangerous in adopting a provision of this sort. Begging the pardon of Senator Clemons for referring to the model State, I may inform the Committee that in the past when gentlemen of the description referred to by the Postmaster-General desired to become citizens of South Australia, action was taken in the Parliament of that State, and they became citizens of South Australia through the action of Parliament. When the Postmaster-General is referring to the amendment, I - should like him to refer to these people as aboriginal natives of the countries mentioned, because that is the term used in the amendment. It is not fair for the honorable and learned senator to speak of any one born in India, Hong Kong, or any other British possession, because the amendment does not mean anything of the kind. It refers to aboriginal natives of the places mentioned. Under the law existing now, I know of several persons who, against that provision in South Australia, have been naturalized by the action of Parliament. I am sure that in the future, if the Sultan of Johore, or some Indian rajah or other desires to become a worthy citizen of the Commonwealth, and here raises a large family and accumulates wealth, the Commonwealth Parliament- may, in its wisdom, grant him naturalization apart even from any provision in the Bill. All these pictured calamities about inability to afford letters of naturalization are so much humbug, and only afford another instance of the fighting capacity of the Postmaster-General when there is really nothing to fight.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia). - If we pass this amendment, . it will not be possible to grant letters of naturalization to any of the persons to whom it applies without passing a special Act of Parliament. In South Australia, for very many years the Government absolutely declined to -naturalize any Chinamen, Asiatics, or coloured persons. That course was adopted by myself when at the head of the Government, and by other Premiers who followed me, although there was nothing in the law to prevent our granting naturalization. But there were a few Syrians who had lived in South Australia a considerable time, and who, as employers of labour, were recognised as good citizens. They were quite as white as many of us are, and, as I may remind honorable senators, they were of the same race as the great founder of Christianity. These Syrians were in every way desirable citizens ; but, in pursuance of the persistent policy of the State, they were refused naturalization, until, in view of the exceptional circumstances, a resolution was passed by Parliament authorizing the Governor in Council to admit them to citizenship. But if the amendment before us be adopted, we shall put ourselves in the very difficult position of having to pass a special Act if similar cases arise in the Commonwealth ; and, under the circumstances, I ‘ am not certain that the Minister’s idea is not the better one. No doubt eases of the kind, though they may be few, will occur. It may be that men, born in Asia and as white and as good as ourselves, would be desirable citizens ; and it would be better to leave the granting of naturalization to the GovernorGeneral, or, in other words, to the Ministry. If we have a Government, we must trust them ; at any rate, we may be sure that if they run counter to the opinion of the majority pf the people, they will have to answer for it. Parliament will, in this connexion, carefully watch the Government, and no doubt call for returns as to the number of Asiatics and coloured persons who have received letters of naturalization. Under the circumstances, we may be sure that the Ministry will hot err in the direction of permitting too many naturalizations. It would be a mistake to make a hard and fast rule which could only be overcome by passing a special Act of Parliament - a step which always means time and trouble, and which would possibly place obstacles in the way of the naturalization of highly desirable citizens. The Government of South Australia no doubt went to extremes, and the Syrians of whom I have spoken found the Parliament much more lenient. The population of South Australia was only some 300,000, while that’ of the Commonwealth is 3,500,000, so that it is probable a number of similar cases will have to be dealt with by the Federal Government, to whose discretion it would be better to trust than to pass the amendment of Senator Higgs. At the same time, I admit that the position taken up by the honorable senator is, as a rule the right one when dealing with the matter of naturalizing aliens. Aliens ought not to be naturalized, except under very peculiar circumstances, such as I have indicated ; but I think we may fairly trust to the discretion of the Ministry.
Senator STYLES (Victoria). - I wonder whether Senator Playford would also leave to the discretion of the Ministry the granting of the franchise to naturalized aliens. If discretion be allowed in the one case, why not in the other ? Are we to naturalize men, and then give them only half the rights of citizenship? The proposal of the Government seems absolutely inconsistent with the provisions of the Franchise Act. While the present Government are in power such discretion would work very well, because they are in sympathy with the policy of a white Australia. But a Government may arise who have no sympathy with that policy, and who, in the exercise of the powers conferred by the Bill, may admit large numbers of coloured people to Commonwealth citizenship. The Senate could not call such a Government to account, though the other House might do so, and possibly change the administration. There have been instances in Australia, however, of Governments so powerful, for some reason or other - even Governments which were not very good - that they could almost defy the people for the time being. I do not see why the section of the Franchise Act dealing with this question should not be bodily adopted in the Bill before us. That section contains the following : -
No aboriginal native of Australia., Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific, except New Zealand, shall be entitled to have his name placed on an electoral roll-
– Is that the whole of the sub-section ?
– The words follow- - unless so entitled under section 41 of the Constitution.
But, as Parliament cannot interfere with the Constitution, I think these latter words are unnecessary. It goes without saying that we could not deprive any one of rights given by the Constitution.
SenatorHiggs. - My amendment is an exact copy of the section just read, with the exception of the reference to the aboriginal natives of Australia.
– That provision of the Franchise Act was regarded by a majority not only in this House, but in the House of Representatives, as a perfectly fair and proper way of dealing with the matter. If some of the rajahs of whom Senator McGregor spoke, came to Australia with a retinue of servants and with a burning desire to spend unlimited money,I have no doubt Parliament would go out of its way in order to encourage them to spread their millions broadcast over the whole of Australia.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - In legislating for the Commonwealth, we are inclined to give too much power to the Executive. Senator Playford has, of course, unfailing trust in the present Government - a trust which he is to a great extent justified in reposing, especially so far as concerns legislation relating to coloured labour. But it must be remembered that this Ministry may not last for ever. A Government may arise who have no very great sympathy with legislation of the kind, and it would be within the whim of a Ministry to grant naturalization to about 80,000 coloured people in Australia. Have we the right to give such a power to any Ministry, who may, perhaps, be in existence for no more than a fortnight or a month ? We are dealing with this question of coloured people in a liberal manner - in exactly the same manner as it is dealt with in the Franchise Act. We provide that a person who is naturalized in a State, and has attained the right to vote, shall have that right extended to the Commonwealth, but that coloured people born in British territory, who enter this country in spite of the education test, shall not have the rights of citizenship conferred on them. That is a position we are quite justified in taking up. We ought not, as 1 said, to leave it to the whim of, it may be, a Ministry of a fortnight, who may not be in sympathy with the people or the Parliaments of Australia, to naturalize all the coloured persons in the Commonwealth.
– A Government could not do that in the time.
– A Government might make arrangements for this wholesale naturalization while Parliament is in recess. As a general principle, we should not give those large powers to the Executive, but retain them for Parliament. I cannot see any objection to a provision to which no effective objection was taken in the case of the Franchise Act.
– I hope we shall not be too restrictive in our legislation. We have put a fence right round Australia, and have said that certain races shall not come in unless they comply with certain conditions. If people, with the exceptions already provided, are able to pass the education test, and intend to settle in our midst, and by their industry acquire wealth - in the form of land, if they choose - why should they not have the right of citizenship, which the Bill proposes to give them ?
– Greater privileges are given to such people here than are given in America.
– The American law is, in some respects, too restrictive, and I do not think we should be continually legislating as though we were afraid of people coming into the country. AVe have already said, rightly or wrongly, that certain persons shall not be entitled to the franchise, and now we are asked to say that as citizens they shall not even have the right to hold property. I earnestly hope that in our legislation we shall not show such a bitter racial hatred, and a fear of contact with the people of any race. As regards the SO, 000 aliens in the Commonwealth, many of whom perhaps have acquired property, if they apply for citizenship, why should it not be granted ? i see no reason why it should not. It will be a very great injustice to deprive them of a right to which they have established a moral claim by living in our midst as worthy British subjects, obeying our laws, and helping us to build up this great Commonwealth. AVe ought not to refuse to these persons that protection which the Commonwealth gives in the possession of property which has been acquired.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland).- There is nothing in this proposal to prevent a State in its land laws from allowing any person who comes into the Commonwealth, or who is here, from holding property in the State. Senator Charleston attacks us for making this proposition. And yet when we proposed in the Immigration Restriction Bill certain restrictions which he thought were too severe, he was indignant and his eye, “in a fine frenzy rolling,” he challenged us, because we would not make the colour line the test of admission. He wished to exclude all these people from the Commonwealth - the education test in his idea was too mild - but now he condemns us because we wish to prevent such persons from coming in. AVe allow those aliens to come in who can pass the education test; but the honorable senator says that we are wrong because we will not allow them to have the full rights of citizenship. I think that his influence in the Senate has been depreciated 50 per cent, by the speech which he made this afternoon. I ask any honorable senator who objects to this proposal how he would feel regarding his own country if he were naturalized in some other country ? I do not know, but I have an impression that if I were naturalized in another country and trouble arose between Australia and that country, I should take the side of Australia. Although we may naturalize certain aboriginal natives of Asia, still when the time of trouble comes they will be found to be against us. Some years ago, when I was travelling by train from Sydney to Brisbane, I met a Japanese who had lately come from his country, and we got talking about the Japanese-Chinese war. He said that every Japanese must go home in time of war, and that if he does not go then he is subject to ten years’ imprisonment when he does return. “Supposing,” I asked, “ that a man does not know that a war is on?” “Oh,” he said, “we take the newspapers, we are bound to know!” “Well,” I asked, “supposing that you cannot read?” He said “every Japanese has to go to school.” Probably Wolseley was right when he said the Armageddon of the future would be between the East and the West - between the Chinese, with possibly the Japanese as allies, and western civilization. Any one who has read the books published about the natives of China must recognise how astute they are. In some matters they can by and “ sell “ Britishers and Australians. I do not think that there is any great disadvantage in this amendment to any one who comes from Asia.
– The term “Asia” includes Syrians and others, who are as white as we are.
– The honorable senator’s experience of Syrians has not been that of residents of Queensland. In isolated parts of that State some women have been almost frightened outof their existence; Syrian hawkers assumed such a threatening and menacing attitude that the women were compelled to buy goods. They are not desirable citizens, and I think that their country is big enough and fertile enough to support them. AVe want to preserve Australia for the white races. If our successors should see fit, owing to the advance of civilization and a higher standard of living in eastern countries, to make a fresh arrangement they can alter the terms of the law. But so far as we can see at the present time it is evidently desirable, in the interests of the Commonwealth, to pass this provision.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I would urge the Committee to accept the amendment. I am surprised at the attitude of Senator Playford, because he practically used the same arguments as Senator Higgs did in his first speech up to a certain point, when he said, “this does not affect the dealing with the application ; it is only debarring them from applying,” and seemed to think that that was a reason for a change of attitude.
– No ; I say that the principle is right, but that there are exceptions which had better be left to the Ministry to deal with.
– In the United States there is a law to the effect that no vessel can trade on the coast unless it is owned by an American citizen, and is manned by a certain proportion of American citizens. If the statute-book of that country is consulted, it will be found that the Congress has passed innumerable Acts, allowing a certain vessel which was built and owned outside to be placed on the American register. Generally, these Acts are allowed to pass with scarcely any discussion. It is assumed that the Executive has made inquiry, and that it is a case to which the general Act should not apply.
– It is a very bad thing to encourage a multiplicity of private Bills.
– That is a matter of opinion. The Postmaster- General practically says it is a bacl thing for the Parliament, but a good thing for the Ministry, to have the power.
– No ; I say that it is a bacl thing to have a number of private Bills coming before Parliament.
– In the United States I think they emanate from the Executive Government. Now, for what reason shall we have the Asiatics applying for letters of naturalization? Will the applications .be made from patriotic motives ? What is the experience of Australia in the attempted conversion of .the Chinese to Christianity? A class is started to teach the Chinese first the letters of the alphabet, then to
G a 2 write English, and next to work sums in arithmetic, under the guise of teaching them Christianity. They roll up in great number and attend the class, and the churches point with glee to the fact that numbers of Chinese are going over to Christianity. But as soon” as they learn a smattering of English, they return to Confucius. Not one Chinese out of every 100 who attends a class becomes a Christian. As they use Christianity for business purposes, so they will use this boon of naturalization if it is conferred upon them. If ever the Armageddon arrives, the call they will respond to will be that which comes from China, and not from Australia. In Western Australia the Assyrian hawkers have been nothing short of a nuisance. They terrorise the women in the country districts. They never do any honest labour, but merely hawk a quantity of goods in a pack. In a big town will be found an Assyrian who practically owns the hawkers, and he becomes a man of affluence. Senator Playford would give the Ministry the chance of making that man, because he happens to possess wealth, a citizen of the Commonwealth. To me it would be an additional incentive to bar him from getting naturalization papers, because he is merely a parasite on the community. Assyrians never engage in productive labour. They enter into unfair competition with local traders. They will be found dealing not with European firms,, but with an Assyrian firm which has its head quarters in the capital city. I hope that Senator Playford will reconsider his attitude on this matter. This is a power which should only be exercised by Parliament. It has been urged that we should trust the Ministry. I shall scan the division list eagerly to see who are the senators who are prepared to trust the Ministry. The present Government has been denounced because it cannot be trusted in anything.
– We do not go quite so far as that.
– Some of the opponents of the Government go even farther. They would not trust the Ministry with such an amount of discretion as they had to exercise in regard to the six hatters’ question. We shall see whether those honorable senators are prepared to trust the Ministry in regard to this Bill. Senator Playford urges that we should .trust the Ministry. If there is one species of politician about which the honorable senator has his “doots,” it is the free-traders, and I am certain that he would not trust a free-trade Ministry to exercise this power. He would have serious doubts as to such a Ministry exercising it in a way of which he could not approve. What guarantee has he that if the power under this Bill is intrusted to a Government it will not be exercised improperly ?
– We have trusted a good many Ministries in South Australia, and it has turned out all right.
– I have read about a South Australian Ministry which squared the finances by lopping off a month’s expenditure, and I think the honorable senator led the Opposition which put them out of office. Did he trust that Ministry ? If the honorable senator and those who think with him are of opinion that certain classes of persons should not have naturalization pipers issued to them, where is the harm of saying so on the face of this measure1? Senator Charleston, who wished us to run our head into a noose in connexion with the Immigration Restriction Act, and belaboured us in such a wordy manner because we would not, will, I hope, support Senator Higgs’ amendment, and not trust the Ministry to exercise this power. Let us put in the Bill what the Senate requires. We have a pretty good guarantee that in this matter we are only carrying out a principle that was thoroughly approved at the last election.
– The principle is all right.
– Then why not put it in the Bill ? If, hereafter, the people of Australia desire to depart from this principle, they can adopt the same method that we are adopting, and amend the Act. But I object to the Ministry having a discretion. Another reason for objecting is that we never know how a Government are exercising a power such as this. How can this Parliament go through thousands of naturalization papers, and see whether they have been issued correctly ? It would only be by means of a chance paragraph in a newspaper that we should find out that anything wrong had been done.
– There will not be thousands ; there will only be a dozen or so.
– There will be thousands of papers issued to Europeans, and the papers issued to Asiatics will be sandwiched amongst them. It will be impossible for us to wade through them all, in order to see if the Government are exercising the power properly.
– We can ask for a return to show the number of Asiatics to whom naturalization papers have been issued.
– I trust that the honorable senator, and those who think with him, will vote so as to put their opinions upon the face of the Bill.
– I had hoped that the discussion upon this Bill would be finished by this time, but it seems that we are in for another night’s debate. For once I find myself supporting the Postmaster-General. I believe I was on the same side in regard to the Immigration Restriction Bill. I always endeavour to vote for what I believe to be in the best interests of the country. I do not know whether honorable senators have had the pleasure of reading a little book which I have seen lately, called Colourphobia.
– Is it written by Mr. Bruce Smith ?
– No, it is not.
– Is it written by Senator Walker himself?
– No. It is not written by any member of Parliament here or elsewhere.. I wish I had the ability t’o write a book like that. Even if I were a believer in the principle of what is called a white Australia, I should feel it necessary to be careful about the provisions of a Bill of this kind. I would remind the Committee that Asia is an enormous territory. Even amongst the aboriginals of Asia are included Russian Siberians, who are just as white as any one in Australia. Indeed, for the matter of that, the forefathers of the whole of our race came from the centre of Asia. I have heard remarks made to the detriment of the Chinese. Let me say that I lived for 25 years of my life in Queensland as a representative of a financial institution which did a larger business with the Chinese than all the other banks in Queensland ; and I give my testimony to the fact that they were as honorable men ‘in business as any Europeans I ever met with. In the course of 25 years we did not, I believe, lose £100 in our transactions with Chinamen. They were straightforward in their, dealings. They did not huckster. If you told them what your charges were they said no more about the subject but paid. Let me relate to the Committee a little story which I heard some time ago, and which illustrates the intelligence of the Chinese. An American missionary went to China and tried to show the Chinese the superiority of Christianity over Confucianism and Buddhism. A Chinaman to whom he was talking said to him - “Suppose I become a Christian, would you admit . me into your Heaven? “ The missionary said “Certainly.” “What,” said the Chinaman, “ Would you admit the Chinese into Heaven?” “Certainly,” replied the missionary. “ Then,” said the Chinaman, “ why will you not admit them into your country ? “ “ Well,” replied the missionary, “There is no labour party in Heaven.” Where were they? They were not in Heaven. They must have been somewhere else.
– Heaven is not a desirable place if there is no labour party there.
– Amongst the Chinese in Queensland, at the time to which I have referred, there were several firms who had established plantations. There was one near Cairns, called the Hop Wall Co’s. plantation. It was owned by six Chinamen, one of whom was naturalized.
-Was the one called One Lung ?
– I do not know. I should not be faithful to my experience of the Chinese if I did not testify as to their character as I found them. I am an out-and-out free-trader, and I could not conscientiously vote for restricting the power of any man to go to any part of God’s earth. I shall not recant from that position, no matter if I lose my seat. With regard to the suggestion as to naturalization by private Bill, I would say that if a private Bill before the Commonwealth Parliament costs as much as a private Bill before the Parliament of New South Wales, it would probably mean an expenditure of £30. It could not be expected that many aliens could afford to pay so much for naturalization.
– One Bill need not be for the naturalization of one individual only.
– Perhaps not; but I could not conscientiously vote for Senator Higgs’ amendment, and therefore I shall support the Government.
– I observe that the honorable senator who has just sat down is very enthusiastic in support of the coloured races. He is a strong stickler for coloured men being placed on the same footing politically in the Commonwealth with whites. He is particularly strong in favour of his brother, John Chinaman. I do not agree with my honorable friend. I am a protectionist. I prefer to keep out the goods of these people, and also to keep out the coloured people themselves. I make no distinction. I am not anxious to be brought into competition with them in one way or the other. At the same time, those who are here should be treated kindly and humanely, though I am not prepared to treat them on terms of equality with whites as regards voting at elections. I cannot be accused of blowing hot and cold on this question. I took the side of my honorable friend, Senator Charleston, in regard to the Immigration Restriction Act with respect to colour, but as to the question of trusting the Ministry in matters of naturalization, I desire to say that, though I have great confidence in the members of the present Government, and admire every one of them, yet a matter of this kind is not one as to which it is fair to ask a Government to exercise discretionary power. Moreover, it would lie absolutely unworkable. Senator Playford, with his experience as a Minister, must agree with me in that.
– We worked it all right in South Australia for years.
– But the honorable senator was dealing with South Australia alone, not with a continent having an area of 3,000,000 square miles. It would be difficult enough to administer an Act of this kind in one State, but it would be impossible to administer it for the whole continent from one centre. Take, for instance, a case that might arise in Queensland, in Camooweal, or in Cairns, or in Cooktown, or Laura, or Thursday Island. In that event, the case would have to be referred to local officials. It is just possible that the local officials might have a strong prejudice with regard to any particular case, and the Ministry might be easily misled. No matter how desirous these officials may be of carrying out the law it will be impossible for them to do it. Senator Playford says that this will only affect a few. But it may affect a great many. The day may come when we will have a Federal Ministry very strongly in favour of the equality which Senator Walker so often preaches. If, for instance, a man like the late Sir Thomas Mcllwraith became Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, he would surround himself with colleagues holding his views on the subject. They would be entirely in favour of the equality doctrine in so far as it allowed the introduction of cheap labourers, and had such a Ministry the discretionary power asked for, these coloured people would be given free scope to go over the length and breadth of Australia. It is better that we should embody in the law the principle to which we desire to give effect. We should not leave such a discretionary power as is here proposed in the hands of any Ministry.
Senator CHARLESTON (South Australia). - I am greatly surprised that Senator Higgs should have referred to a matter which the labour party should be entirely ashamed of. The question of a white Australia was raised at the Commonwealth elections ; and, amongst others, I said that I favoured the supremacy of the white race. When I came here I found that the Bill introduced by the Government did not give complete effect to that idea. The members of the labour party knew that it did not, and they moved an amendment to provide a pure colour test. But what did they do then ? As soon as they discovered how the voting would go they discarded that entirely, and agreed to an education test.
– No ; they were defeated in a division by one vote.
– Honorable senators know that what I am saying is correct. The members of the labour party then agreed to an education test, and the Parliament of the Commonwealth having agreed to that test, we should accept it fairly, and we should not say to people who can pass it, and who are able by their industry and by their obedience to our laws to show themselves worthy of citizenship - “ You shall not have the right of citizenship and the protection which the Commonwealth can give you over the wealth and property you may accumulate here.” I have stated my reasons for opposing the amendment.
– I think it lies with our honorable friends who are in favour of this amendment to show that we shall not be placed in the humiliating position in which we were placed by the administration of the Immigration
Restriction Act iu connexion with thesix hatters case.
– Which means that wemust not trust the Ministry.
– It is not a question of trusting the Ministry. The Bill before us proposes that we should trust the Ministry, because it gives them a discretionary power to receive the application of every person, and to decline every application without assigning any reason. The amendmentabsolutely takes away that discretion. Whether we have one of our own British subjects from India coming here to run his racehorses at Flemington, or a Prince from some outlandish place, who might bea desirable immigrant, Senator Higgs is. proposing that there shall be no discretion given to the Government, and that under - no possible circumstances shall such persons-, receive naturalization papers. Is that in accordance with the legislation of the past, . or in accordance with the principles upon which we desire to legislate ? Is it in accordance with the principles of Imperialism?’ Senator McGregor groans, but I do notthink the honorable senator’s groaning will affect the Empire. But legislation of this . kind will affect the Empire. When wehave aliens and subjects of the Empire of black and yellow colour, it seems tome a monstrous thing to place in our Act, without the slightest occasion for it, a restrictive provision which may makeus look ridiculous, which may make us false to the principles of Imperialism, and which under no conceivable ‘circumstancescan do any good. Why cannot honorable senators in the labour corner, who have said so much about trusting Ministers, accept this Bill as proposed, giving the Government discretion in this matter? I haveheard no answer ‘to that question. I would point out that the Bill as proposed is on thelines of the Immigration Restriction Act, in giving Ministers a discretion which they certainly ought to have. I have al waysposed, and I hope I shall live and die, as an Imperialist, and I trust honorable senators will not commit the fatal blunder of imagining that we can keep our Empire intact and yet absolutely disown British subjects. We must be consistent and logical, and we must have some continuity of policy. I cannot lend myself” to the passing of legislation which may makeus absolutely ridiculous in the eyes of the< civilized world.
– Some remarks have been made by Senator Higgs with regard to cases of double allegiance. I understand the honorable senator’s argument to be that we should accept this amendment, because persons coming here from Japan will still retain their allegiance to their own country, and, should trouble arise, we might possibly find them in arms against the Commonwealth. That might be so, but it is a very strange thing that, apparently, that argument was not thought of when honorable senators were speaking of extending the rights of citizenship to the peoples of European countries. The argument is manifestly applicable to them. People coming from Germany,France, Russia, and other European countries do not renounce their allegiance to their native country. In fact, their native country will not allow them to give up their allegiance, and they are liable to be called upon to serve their native country at any time. So that if this were an argument in favour of accepting the amendment, it would be equally strong as an argument in favour of refusing letters of naturalization to people coming from Germany, France, and other European countries. I point out again that it is not proposed to make things equal all round, as some one has suggested. We are proposing to grant certain rights to British subjects which have nothing whatever. to do with voting. We are told that we should not admit certain people to naturalization because we do not allow them to participate in our elections. That, to my mind, is no argument at all. The very fact that we have carefully safeguarded the franchise in this Bill, by saying that it shall be entirely subject to our electoral law, is a strong reason why we should not hesitate to make a liberal provision in this respect. By accepting this amendment we shall be tying our hands, and we shall achieve no good purpose. In the Immigration Restriction Act we have adopted a certain means of excluding undesirable immigrants. Under that.Act a power is left in the hands of the Government, and it has been admitted that the Government have exercised a wise discretion in the administration of the Act. Why should not the same power be reposed in the Ministry for the administration of this Bill, and let each case be decided upon its own merits ? It must be admitted by every honorable senator that it is possible to imagine cases in which it would be extremely undesirable not to have the power to give letters of naturalization to persons who have settled in Australia. Why should not the Governor-General in Council be allowed to exercise that power of discretion in connexion with this Bill, instead of putting in a hard-and-fast provision which will absolutely prevent the naturalization of persons who may have settled here definitely, and who may in every respect be desirable citizens of the Commonwealth ? The principal purpose for which citizenship would be desired by these people would be that they might be enabled to hold land. It has been pointed out that in some of the States aliens are permitted to hold land, and in others they are not, though they may be naturalized British subjects. Why should we, in making a general law for the whole of Australia, discriminate between one class of aliens and another? I protest against this distinction being introduced in the Bill. It can effect no good purpose, and it will only make a discrimination with regard to colour and race, which is not desirable.
– I am afraid that the Government have been too liberal altogether. Why does not Senator Higgs go a little further, and say that the aliens who are already here shall be hunted by bloodhounds from one side of the country to the other ? We might make a sort of no man’s land for them, or, perhaps, it would be as well to destroy them. Surely we shall not say that they must not hold a little land, or cultivate a garden, from which they can supply us with vegetables now and again?. As they are here I say we should treat them as a Christian people ought to treat them. I am compelled to vote with the Government on this question.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator WALKER (New South Wales). - I move -
That after the word “has,” in paragraph (a), the words “at any time” be inserted.
I also intend to move the substitution of the words “for an aggregate period of” for the words “continuously for,” and the omission of the word “immediately.” It is possible that naturalized citizens and others who have resided in Australia for long periods -ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years - may, owing to the illness of a parent in Europe or elsewhere, wish to take a short trip and return. It would be a pity that a man who went Home for a few months under these circumstances should be required afterwards to reside in Australia five years continuously before he could be naturalized. We all know persons who at long intervals take a trip to Europe. I think that an aggregate period of five years - say, four years at one time and a year at another time - ought to be equivalent to a period of five years.
SenatorWalker. - It says - “for five years immediately preceding the application.”
Amendment (by Senator Walker) negatived -
That the words “ continuously for,” in paragraph (a), be omitted, with a view to insert inlieu thereof the words ‘ ‘ for an aggregate period of.”
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I think it will strike a happy medium if we reduce the term of residence from five years to two years. Therefore, I move -
That the word “five,” in paragraph (a), be omitted.
It is my intention to move afterwards the insertion of the word “ two.” I am in favour of a shorter terra than two years, but -we have to reconcile conflicting opinions on this point, and I consider that a term of two years will be a fair compromise between a term of five years and a term of six months. It has to be remembered that a residence of six months in Australia qualifies a person for admission to the suffrage, and to become a candidate for the Senate. Five years is an extravagantly long term to ask a European to remain in Australia before he can apply for letters of naturalization. It has been said that the amendment conflicts with the law of nations, that because other nationalities provide that their citizens cannot be expatriated until after a ‘ term of five years, therefore we should not admit those persons to citizenship. I do not consider that the rule is binding on us. A foreigner who is naturalized here will have to take the risk of “being punished when he returns to his native country. There may be aliens who come from a country which is not the country of their origin, but in- which they have resided for ten or fifteen years. Why should we ask such persons to reside in Australia for five years immediately preceding the application for letters of naturalization ? We are not exposing the Commonwealth to any danger by shortening the term of residence.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - We ought to be careful in this matter. The conferring of citizenship upon people is very important, and we should make some reasonable stipulations with regard to the intentions of naturalized persons to reside in Australia. What does naturalization confer upon people ? In the first place, it confers upon them the- protection of the British flag. In whatever part of the world they go, we are bound to protect our citizens. If they are put into prison in Turkey or Russia, or any other country, we are bound to protect them. That duty confers a great responsibility on us. Our citizens also have a right to sue in British consular courts abroad, and have various other rights such as that. We should lay it down as a principle that we will not naturalize any people unless we are tolerably certain of their throwing in their lot with us and remaining in Australia. Naturalization does not confer upon people political rights so much as political status. We admit naturalized persons to a political equality with ourselves in every respect. If we make the term of residence too short, as Senator Drake has pertinently pointed out, we shall destroy all possibility of a reciprocity within the Empire.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - It is not fair for the Postmaster-General and Senator Smith to conjure up such difficulties’ as they have done. A Frenchman, a German, or an Austrian who comes “to Australia and stays for six months, does not necessarily become a British subject. Honorable senators have been arguing as though if we carried the amendment we should be compelling these poor unfortunate -foreigners to become naturalized after six months’ residence. “We do nothing of the kind. If they are patriotically inclined towards their own country, and if the laws of their own country prevent them from becoming naturalized in any other country, there is nothing to compel them to be naturalized here. All these imaginings to the effect that if foreigners here become naturalized and they go away again, we are going to follow them, are wide of the mark. Senator Smith tells us that we shall have to protect them if they go abroad. What does the honorable senator mean when he says that “ we “ shall have to protect them ? Australia has no fleet of her own yet, and it is not likely that she will follow up naturalized foreigners who leave these shores. There will be no necessity to protect them.
The whole tendency of Senator McGregor’s remarks is in the direction of lowering the status of Australian citizenship. There is no civilized power that does not accept the responsibility of looking after its subjects in all parts of the world. No difficulty may have arisen in South Australia.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). - I think a term of six months too short, and I can give a good reason why it should not be accepted. Perhaps we donot at present see the danger, but the time may come when danger will arise. We have before us the experience of European emigration to the United States. When the Italians emigrated to the United States in great numbers they settled down in a particular part of a city and formed what was practically an Italian colony, in which they followed the manners, habits, and customs of their own country. We know that keen political agents made use of the situation to the advantage of what was known as the Tammany Hall system. The power of Tammany Hall in New York was secured by utilizing the vote of these foreigners, who did not understand American politics. That was done even where a five years’ term of residence was required for naturalization. I think, therefore, that a residence of two years would be quite short enough.
– I am not too keen on this proposal to admit foreigners to the rights of Australian citizenship so soon after they have come into the Commonwealth. The six months’ term suggested by Senator McGregor is out of all reason, in view of the laws existing in the different States at the present time. Although I was inclined to favour Senator Pearce’s suggestion that the term should be two years, I think that the PostmasterGeneral has met the Committee fairly in offering to reduce the term proposed in the Bill from five years to three years. Senator Pearce has used an argument which has appealed to me, and no doubt to other honorable senators. It is necessary that aliens should have some knowledge of the politics of the country in which they live. I think three years is not too long a term to enable them to acquire that knowledge, and I am therefore prepared to accept the compromise suggested by Senator Drake.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland). - It is just as well that we should fairly understand where we are, and what we have to fear. Looking over the Queensland census I find that there are in that State some 21,098 persons who were born in various countries of Europe, the great majority of them in Germany. There are also about 1,000 who were born in the United States. In the small population of the State we have some 22,000 Europeans, and about 23,000 coloured people. Has Queensland suffered in any way by admitting white people of European and American birth? I know that she has not, and yet the term of residence required for naturalization in that State is only six months, and after naturalization the naturalized subject can secure a vote in another six months. In other words, a German, a Dane, or a native of the United States, provided he is a white man, may in one year become a fullfledged citizen of Queensland. I do not know what the percentage of these foreign residents is in South Australia.
– The percentage is very large.
– No section of our community is more law-abiding, or more devoted and attached to the institutions of the country than those persons whom we are now discussing ; there are none more loyal or zealous in the discharge of their citizenship duties. What has the Commonwealth to fear from their presence ? Two of the States have with consummate success opened their doors to these foreigners ; and it is hard to see what Victoria and New South Wales have gained by making the probationary period in those States so long. I venture to say that if Australia were attacked to-morrow by any foreign power - I am speaking more particularly in reference to the State of Queensland - no more patriotic and devoted defenders would be found than those colonists, many of whom I know personally. It reflects very much on us, in the early history of this young Commonwealth, that we should seek to erect barriers against people whom we have admitted to our shores, and who, up to the present time, have proved themselves citizens so well worthy of the country in which they live that an increase in their numbers is to be desired.
– Most of these people are properly naturalized now.
– That is quite true. But if the proposal of the PostmasterGeneral be adopted, and some of these colonists bring out equally desirable friends or relatives to Australia, the older residents amongst them will very, naturally wonder what is the reason for the change. The only argument that can be used in favour of the longer probationary period is the argument of fear.
– The only argument is the old conservative idea that something wonderful or desperate will happen if such people are admitted, and that therefore something must be done to guard against an impending calamity.
– The argument can be advanced of a uniform franchise. Is a term of three’ years not a fair compromise between the terms now observed in the various States ?
– The Committee ought to banish the idea of fear and open its arms to the white races from any part of the world, providing, as Senator McGregor said, that they are not brought here for a special purpose, and, it may be, under false pretences, to inflict injury on struggling people, or to weigh down the scales in the case of an industrial dispute. Under ordinary circumstances we shall be making a mistake if we do not adopt the shorter term and say to men from Denmark, Sweden, the United States, and similar countries, that as soon as they have resided here for a period of six months - though that may not be very long - we are confident that they will make citizens equally as desirable as their fellowcountrymen already here.
Senator FRASER (Victoria).- If Senator Glassey is right, I do not see that even a probationary period of six months is necessary.
– I should not care if the period were a month.
– Why not make it six weeks, or six days ? Or, better still, why not admit them at once to full citizenship ? It is true that they may leave the country by the next ship, but that, apparently, does not matter. ( The fact is that the ideas of Senator Glassey, and others who think with him, are absurd.. Surely it is not too much to ask a foreigner to reside here for three years before he is given the full rights of citizenship. He can suffer no harm during that time, because he will be pursuing his business ; and, perhaps, if foreigners had the franchise they would prove too industrious to lose time in voting. I dreamed a dream that this country was going to be a huge paradise, such as man never saw before, created by Senators McGregor, Higgs, and Co. - I am not including Senators Pearce, O’Keefe, or Barrett - and that there was going to be what we know as a “ rush,” and the Commonwealth was to be crowded with those foreigners. But let me warn Senator McGregor that these men are very industrious, and will have nothing to do with labour leaders. Senator McGregor had better be on his guard and retrace his steps.
– That was a nightmare, not a dream.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I do not think that in this matter we ought to pay any attention to the naturalization laws in other countries.
– But be a law unto ourselves 1
– We ought to be a law unto ourselves as far as possible. In all probability if the State Legislatures had been elected on a proper franchise, such as that on which this Senate is chosen, the naturalization laws would have been altered long ago. It is because in the Legislative Councils of the States there are men like Senator Fraser that these laws remain as they are. Can Senator Fraser see any objection whatever to Canadians coming here and being naturalized at once 1
– Canadians are not aliens.
– I shall support the amendment of Senator McGregor, because I do not see any reason to apprehend the danger of which Senator Pearce spoke as having arisen in America. Unfortunately we are too far away from Europe to ever expect a large influx of Italians, Frenchmen, or Germans ; and I only wish that we were nearer to Europe, because I am prepared to go even further than Senator McGregor. If Germany, France, the United States, or Italy would enter into a treaty with Australia, to settle, by an appeal to the Hague tribunal, all international disputes that might arise between such countries and the Commonwealth, I should say that men of those nationalities should be naturalized immediately on arrival. If we accept Senator McGregor’s amendment we shall undoubtedly lead to a better understanding with those countries, and when the reform party in the Parliaments of the world are discussing questions of this kind they will be able to point to Australia as a Commonwealth which has followed the excellent example so often set by South Australia. I have had no dream ; but I hope to have Senator Walker’s support, because that gentleman knows that people of any race may join the Christian Church on merely saying that they believe they are saved.
– But the Christian Church does not ask what is the colour of any applicant.
– In the language of the lawyers, I will come to that later on ; I admit that I am a little nonplussed for the moment. If we cannot secure the six months’ limitation, we hope to be able to get the period fixed at twelve months, and if not the latter, at two years. I ask honorable senators to consider the experience of South Australia and Queensland, in which States these foreign immigrants are estimable settlers.
– They are splendid colonists.
– We ought to place no obstacle in the way of their becoming British subjects. If they are satisfied to come to the Commonwealth authorities and announce their intention of permanently residing in Australia, they ought to be admitted to citizenship when they have been here six months.
Senator CHARLESTON (South Australia). - I am not in sympathy with the amendment to be submitted by Senator McGregor. It is true that the qualification in South Australia is six months’ residence, but we are a Commonwealth within the Empire, and we must have some regard to the responsibilities that an amendment of the kind would throw on the British Government. Senator McGregor very cavalierly said that if these men do not desire to remain here they can leave the country ; but it must be remembered that if such men have naturalization papers they can claim British protection as British subjects in any part of the world.
– Inquiry would be made as to the validity of the papers.
– The British Empire is in honour bound to protect people who hold naturalization certificates. Before granting the franchise to foreigners who come amongst us, we ought to know that they have resided here long enough to appreciate our laws, manners, and customs, . and to establish a claim to citizenship. We must not be too ready to confer this great distinction on’ all and sundry, many of whom may have no intention of making a permanent residence in the country. I quite indorse the remarks of Senator Staniforth Smith.
– It appears to me that there are two important considerations, which those who are inclined to support Senator McGregor are entirely ignoring. The first is that this is not a matter of a purely domestic character concerning Australia alone. We are not giving to the naturalized alien something which is purely Australian, but something which is British, and something, the possession of which is secured to him by a power outside Australia.
– He would not oe accepted in Britain as a naturalized subject.
– I am not talking about his acceptance in Great ‘Britain. But outside the boundaries of Australia Great Britain will recognise them as British subjects. ‘We are conferring upon them something which is secured to them not by our own power. The second important consideration, which honorable senators are ignoring, is that in conferring naturalization upon an alien the mere fact of his taking the oath of allegiance to the new power does not of itself divest him of his nationality, and his responsibility to his mother country. Senator McGregor seems to think that it is so.
– He is not compelled to take it.
– No ; but if he does take it, and we provide any number of facilities for him to get naturalized, his naturalization as a British subject will not always entail the divesting him of his original nationality. That has been the subject of a great deal of controversy between different countries. For many years the position of a naturalized Prussian in the United States was the subject of a considerable amount of controversy between the two countries, and it was not until 1868 that a treaty was entered into - after a controversy extending over about 40 years - by which German citizens going to the United States without having obtained a certificate exempting them from conscription and getting naturalized there were not liable to conscription on their return. According to German law, a man who goes away without a certificate of exemption, even if he becomes naturalized in a foreign country, is subject to the conscription law on his return. On that point I shall quote a passage from Hall’s International Law, page 211 -
The laws of Prussia regard the State as possessing the right of imposing conditions upon expatriation, and consequently of refusing it unless these conditions are satisfied. By the regulations in force no person lying under an)’ liability to military service can leave the kingdom without permission, and any one doing so is punished on his return with fine or imprisonment. Persons naturalized in the United. States are excepted from the operation of these regulations b)’ the treaty of 1868 between that country and the North German Confederation, which provides that a naturalized person can only be tried on returning to his country of origin for acts done before emigration, and thus excludes punishment for the act of emigration without consent of the State, or in avoidance of its regulations. There we have the condition of divided allegiance, which was referred to by Senator Smithy and which Senator McGregor attempted to pooh-pooh.
– He has no necessity to go back.
– No ; but does not the honorable senator see that he has not divested himself of his nationality ? If a person comes out here and stays five years, tha inference is that he is much more likely to become an Australian citizen than a person who comes out and remains only six months. A man may come out here to avoid obligations due to his own country, and simply because of the facilities for naturalization here expect to get the benefits of British citizenship even when he returns to his original State. That occurred again in the case of Germany after Frankfort was annexed. A number of young men who felt that they would be subject to the laws of conscription which came into force on account of the acquisition of that territory went to Switzerland. Why 1 Because Switzerland of all countries in Europe offered the greatest facilities for getting naturalized. They became naturalized Swiss subjects and when they returned afterwards to their original home they were expelled by Prussia and became practically the subjects of nobody.
– That would not hurt Switzerland.
– No ; but it shows that there is a comity between nations which must be observed and that all these different nations which confer the rights of free nationality on those who come from abroad, lay down some period of residence within their territory as a condition indicating the bona fides of the intention of the applicant to become a member of that nation. If they do not impose a condition of residence as long as the term proposed in this Bill they impose other conditions. For instance they provide that marriage with a subject of the country will avail the applicant to shorten the period which should be necessary for his residence before applying for letters of naturalization. I think that Senator McGregor ought to bear in mind that it is not a matter of these aliens coming into Australia and getting from us something which is there and then done with. By conferring naturalization upon these persons we involve other people in obligations - obligations which must be respected inside Australia, and which must be respected outside Australia under certain circumstances. AVe also give them all the benefits of citizenship with regard to succession to property, the holding of property, the laws of domicile, the laws of marriage, and various other advantages. These men do not necessarily, hy the mere fact of acquiring a new nationality, deprive themselves of their original one. I shall quote the opinion of an eminent jurist, who lias gone into the conditions of naturalization in practically every country in the world. After considering them all carefully, and drawing conclusions from them, he says, at page 215 -
In the meantime, and until an agreement is come to upon the question of principle, it may be said that though a State has, in strictness, full right to admit foreigners to membership, and to protect them as members, it is scarcely consistent with the comit)’ which ought to exist between nations to render so easy the acquisition of a national character, which may be used against the mother State, as to make the State admitting the foreigner a sort of accomplice in an avoidance by him of obligations due to his original country. When naturalization laws are so lax as to lend themselves to an avoidance of reasonable obligations, the State possessing them can have no right to complain if exceptional measures, such as expulsion from the mother country, are resorted to at the expense of its adopted subjects.
Senators McGregor and Playford have said - “Oh, that does nob matter. It would not hurt us,” referring to the illustration I gave of the Swiss naturalized subjects. But if they were expatriated, and the source of their wealth was drawn from their own country, it might be that the measures of reprisal taken by that country would be of such a character that the flow from the source of that wealth coming into Australia might be stopped. All manner of reprisals might be adopted by the country of origin, which might re-act very unfavorably upon us, simply for the reason that we had adopted a low standard as a qualification for naturalization. I commend to the earnest consideration of honorable senators these comments which were written for a text - book on international law, apart altogether from anything in the nature of a controversy, and which are merely the conclusions deduced from the principles contained in the preceding pages in which are set out the history of naturalization laws, and their present position in practically every civilized country on the globe.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That after the word. “ for,” in paragraph (a), the words “ six months” be inserted.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). -I move -
That after the word “for,” in paragraph (a), the word “ one “ be inserted.
Senator Keating has attempted to prove from a text book that my pooh-poohing of Senator Smith’s statements was based upon an erroneous view of the question. But Australia is in a different position from any European State. A Swede, a Norwegian, or a German who comes out to Australia must have a good round sum to pay for his passage, whereas he can walk from Germany into Switzerland.
Senator Dawson says, aliens can only apply after six months. Then it will be some time before they get their letters of naturalization ; and six months more will elapse before they can be electors.
– When Senator Keating wasaddressing himself to this subject a few minutes ago, he referred to the dangers of dual nationality, and argued that if we were to allow our laws to become too lax this danger would exist to a very great extent. I find that, as far as duration of time is concerned, it has very little weight in an argument of this kind ; because reference to a book by Sir Alexander Cockburn, the late Lord Chief Justice of England, on Nationality, in the various countries of Europe, shows that no matter how long a native is out of his country, he loses his nationality the moment he becomes naturalized in another country. In France, a Frenchman loses his nationality -
– Does the honorable senator know that thatrefers to the benefits of nationality, and not to its responsibilities?
– It must refer to both. If a man loses his nationality in one way, I do not see how he can retain it in another.
– It is so.
– I should have to have further proof of that before I could believe it. I find that Italians lose nationality by -
Renunciation by declaration before the proper civil authority of the province wherein the person resides and subsequent emigration to a foreign State, and consequently by nationalization in that foreign country.
It does not matter whether a man is six days or six years in a foreign country, if he becomes naturalized he loses his Italian nationality. In Spain, according to the Spanish Constitution of 1845 -
The quality of a Spaniard is lost by naturalization in a foreign country.
– The honorable senator is right about Spain.
– I am also right as regards Portugal, because I find that there a similar law prevails -
In Portugal the quality of a natural subject is lost - (1) By naturalization in a foreign country.
By accepting, without permission of the King,an allowance or a declaration from a foreign Government.
– In other countries citizens are held bound to the responsibilities, but they have the benefits withdrawn from them.
– The moment a subject of one of these foreign countries becomes naturalized in another country, it does not matter whether after five years or six months, he loses his nationality. Therefore, the argument as to dual nationality referred to by Senater Keating has no force. Again, we must remember in arguing questions of this kind, that the conditions on the continent of Europe are different altogether from ours. The countries of Europe lie close to each other. There are strong national antipathies, and the fear of invasion is strong. It is not fair to argue, that because they find it necessary to adopt certain laws we should look at the matter from their stand-point. Every one of the arguments adduced from that point of view is foreign to the subject which we are reviewing. Another thing which should be remembered in dealing with this matter is, that President Kruger, before the late South African war broke but, offered to reduce the term of residence which conferred nationality in the Transvaal from ten years to seven. Later on he proposed to lower the term to five, but the British Government would not accept that offer. Yet we are proposing to insist on a five years’ residence.
– I have offered to make it three years.
– That fact goes to show that the term of five years is not approved of by the British Government, and I dare say that if they were legislating on the subject now they would shorten the term.
Question - That the word “one” proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That after the word “for,” in paragraph (a) the word “ two” be inserted.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Walker) proposed -
That the word “ immediately,” in paragraph (a), be omitted.
Amendment (by Senator Higgs) agreed to-
That the words “or in a State or in a colony which has become a State,” in paragraph (b), be omitted.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia.). - I move -
That paragraph (c) be omitted.
I had intended to propose this amendment when we came to clause 10, but I find that if I were successful in carrying an amendment to omit sub-clause 2 of clause 10, the Bill would require to be recommitted for the purpose of omitting this paragraph of clause 4. I think, therefore, it is advisable to test the opinion of the Committee at this stage. The paragraph deals with a person who “ has during infancy become naturalized under section 10 of this Act,” and section 10 provides that -
An infant not being a natural-born British subject
whose father or whose mother (being a willow or divorced) has obtained a certi ficate of naturalization, or
whose mother is married to a natura - born British subject, or to a person who has obtained a certificate of naturalization, shall during infancy be naturalized ; and then in sub-clause 2 it is provided -
The infant shall, on reaching the age of 21 years, cease to be naturalized by virtue of this section.
I desire to strike out paragraph (c) of clause 4 and sub-clause 2 of clause 10, and by that means provide that an infant, the son or daughter of naturalized British parents, shall be and remain naturalized British subjects, and that it shall not be necessary for them on reaching the age of 21 years to apply to be naturalized.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia). - I move -
That the words “ and who if a woman is not married,” line 13, be omitted.
My object in the amendment I have proposed is to place a woman under this Naturalization Bill on exactly the same footing as a man. It is laid down in the Constitution and in our Franchise Act that the rights of women are recognised by the Commonwealth as being equal to the rights of men. We have given them absolute political equality, and, so far as our legislation has gone, we have also given them social equality. We have in our Public Service Act recognised that the rights of women are equal to those of men.
Senator Drake. - No.
– From a political point of view she is an outcast. I do not intend to take up much time, because I feel sure that the good sense of the Committee will take care that such an anomaly in Federal legislation is not permitted. /
– The clause is on outcome of the general principle of the law - that the status of a married woman is that of her husband. It must be borne in mind that under the Bill a woman who is an alien and marries a British subject becomes a naturalized subject- a provision carefully made to carry out the principle that the nationality of a woman is that of her husband. A woman who is not married is treated as being exactly on the same level as a man, and she has to make application for naturalization. It will thus be seen that .these provisions cut both ways. To allow a married woman to apply would be against the principle of law to which I have already referred ; and the only effect of the amendment will be to enable a woman who is married to an alien to attain naturalization “ on her own,” as it were, on application, her husband remaining an alien. We have not yet arrived at the point of declaring that the fact of a woman, who is a British subject, marrying an alien, naturalizes her husband. I should have thought from some of the remarks made that there would be an objection to a woman married to an alien being able to attain the status of a British subject, but I can see the feeling of the Committee, and I shall not contest the point.
– I am extremely pleased that the Postmaster-General has seen his way to accept the suggestion. I know that Senator Smith feels very strongly on the subject of which he has made a special study. With his admiration for the ladies, he has, in his good-natured way, always shown a- high regard for their interest in the matter of the franchise and naturalization.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I regret that the Postmaster-General is in a mood so amiable as to show such a lamentable eagerness to yield to a little apparent opposition. There are certain principles very good in themselves, but which it is possible to run to such extreme length as to jeopardize the respect in which they are held ; and the principle under discussion is one- of these. No one believes more strongly than I in the right of women to participate in the law-making of the country ; but we have arrived at a point when one may reasonably ask whether it is necessary to adopt this amendment in order to insure political equality. The effect of the amendment will be not to widen the privileges of women,. but to narrow them.
– That is not correct.
– It is a wonder the honorable gentleman did not think of that before he introduced the Bill.
– The Bill was all right, and I told the reasons why it was introduced in its present form.
– Under the Bill, if a woman marries a British subject, she becomes naturalized, without need of making application, or waiting for the decision of the Governor-General in Council.
– That privilege is not taken away by the Bill.
– Undoubtedly, it is taken away by the amendment of Senator Smith.
– Look at clause .8.
– We have not yet come to clause 8, and I understand that attacks are to be mode on subsequent clauses.’ I om content to follow the parliamentary rule of dealing with the clause under discussion. The proposition in the Bill is that a woman who is not married may apply ; but if we strike out the words as suggested by the amendment, what happens ‘!
– She may make application. whether she be married or not.
– That is exactly what I am saying. As the BUI stands, the mere fact of her marriage to a British subject secures her naturalization ; but if the words be struck out, as proposed, she can only become naturalized by making application.
– That is so ; we should not give a woman a privilege which is not given to a man.
– The author of the amendment admits I am right, while the Postmaster-General is quite certain I am wrong. The effect of the amendment is that a woman, whether married or not, will have exactly the same’ obligation as is thrown on a man, to make application for naturalization.
– No ; I have already explained that.
– I am sorry for ‘the explanation, Senator Smith ought to know the purpose of his own amendment.
– The political equality of women is the purpose generally of the amendments of which I have given notice. /
– Surely it is .beyond controversy that the object of the amendment is to put women in exactly the same position as men, so that a woman cannot be naturalized by the act of marriage.
– That is dealt with in clause 8.
– The PostmasterGeneral cannot say that clause 8 will be accepted. He has, in this instance, shown such a readiness to yield that I am prepared to, see him throw over that provision.
– I shall adhere to clause 8.
– The PostmasterGeneral ought to have marginal notes indicating to which clauses he intends to adhere. A woman, whether married or not, and irrespective of the nationality of her husband, will under the amendment have to make application.
– If a woman marries an alien does that alien become naturalized?
– That is . a point on which I want to see whether Senator Smith is going to bo consistent and logical.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
– As we are well forward with our work, and some honorable senators cannot be here to-morrow, I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until Wednesday next.
– This is very unfair to those of us who have come from distant States. We ought to have been told of it early in the morning.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.47 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 July 1903, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1903/19030709_senate_1_14/>.