3rd Parliament · 4th Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Arising, out of a statement in the press that during next week the Treasurer expects to be able to introduce the Budget in another place, I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he has yet given any consideration to a suggestion that some method should be devised by which the Senate might have an. opportunity to discuss the proposals in the Budget contemporaneously with the discussion thereon elsewhere? No doubt he will remember that he promised to consider the matter when it was raised by me some time ago.
– This matter has been and is still under consideration. At present I can only .say that steps will be taken to afford to the Senate every reasonable opportunity to.’ discuss the matters involved in the Budget.
– At the same time as the other House?
– The honorable senator does not seem to have quite answered the point I put. I know that in the ordinary course we shall have an opportunity of discussing the Budget, but my question to the honorable senator was, whether the proposition which- has been voiced by himself should be adopted, and that is that some means should be provided by which the Senate would have an opportunity of discussing the various questions involved in the Budget contemporaneously with the discussion of them elsewhere?
– No doubt my honorable friend is aware that some difficulties are presented both by the Constitution and by our Standing Orders. I would ask him to rest contented for the present with my assurance that the matter is under consideration with a view to devising the best means of providing an opportunity for the Senate to discuss the Budget and all connected with it.
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether the Budget papers will include an account of the moneys distributed under the Bounties Act, and, if not, will he furnish a return of them?
– I shall tear in mind my honorable friend’s request when dealing with the matter in the manner suggested by my colleague.
SenatorMILLEN. - It is intended to ask the Senate to adjourn from Friday next until the following Wednesday week.
– Does the honorable senator desire to ask a question about the Order of the Day ? I cannot listen to any debate.
– I am raising not exactly a question of privilege, but a question of precedure regarding the business of the Senate, and if that is out of order, I ask why, in view of the fact that the consideration of the reports of Sessional Committees are almost invariably treated in other Legislatures as “business of the House,” frequently taking precedence, the consideration of the report of the Standing Orders Committee in this case appears on the notice-paper as Government business when it is not business with’ which the Government, as such, have charge ?
– It is quite true that the consideration of this report is not strictly Government business, but it has been the practice here to place such an Order of the Day on the notice-paper as Government business. I think my honorable friend will concede that some urgent Government business has hitherto taken precedence, and necessarily will take precedence; but when any reasonable opportunity can be afforded, ha.ving due regard to Government business, no doubt facilities will then be granted for dealing with this Order of the Day.
– Arising out of the reply, may I ask why the consideration of the report of the Standing Orders Committee is treated as business in charge of the Government when the consideration of the report of the Printing Committee is treated differently?
– It has been the invariable custom to deal with the report of the Standing Orders Committee in this manner. It is perfectly true that the consideration of such a report is not strictly Government business, except in this sense - that they take charge of the Order of the Day in consequence of the Chairman of the Committee being the President, and therefore unable to take a position on the floor of the Chamber. It will be essentially necessary for the Senate to consider this report during the current session, as it deals with certain matters which have arisen out of legislation which was passed some time ago, and under which one-half of the members of the Senate will remain in office until the 30th June, 1910, instead of until the 31st December, 1909.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, if he has taken any steps with respect to the distribution, amongst honorable senators, of the Government Resident’s report on the Northern Territory, and if not, whether he will do so in the nearfutureifpossible ?
– When a similar question was asked some days ago, the reply given was that the Government of South Australia would be communicated with. I understand that an application for the necessary copies of the report was transmitted, and that we are now only awaiting a reply to enable us to comply with my honorable friend’s wish.
– I desire to call the attention of the Leader of the Senate to the following paragraph in to-day’s Age; under the heading of “About People” : -
Advices have been received in Melbourne that Mr. Lovett Fraser, of the Times, London, and Mr. Nicol, of the Daily Chronicle staff, are about to visit Australia in connexion with the forthcoming Congress of Chambers of Commerce of the Empire. It is expected that the Daily Mail and the Morning Post will also send representatives. Intimation is also conveyed that a special representative will journey to Australia on behalf of a group of Canadian newspapers.
I want to know whether, in the event of any or all of these gentlemen coming to Australia, the whole or any portion of their expenses will be borne by the citizens of the Commonwealth ?
– I suggest to my honorable friend that he should give notice of the question, and at the same time intimate that the Government are not in a position to say whether the citizens of the Commonwealth will or will not bear any portion of the expenses of these gentlemen.
– What I desire to know is whether the Government intend to pay a portion, or the whole of their expenses?
– I ask my honorable friend to give notice of the question.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
– I begto move -
That the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering clauses 11 and 13A.
In this measure a very distinct departure has been made from the White Australia policy which has been laid down by the people of the “Commonwealth. In the principal Act the proper stand was taken that Asiatics born in Australia should be entitled to an old-age pension, but under this Bill, whether born in Australia or not, if they have become naturalized and lived here for the prescribed time they will be equally entitled as white people to a pension. By engaging to pay naturalized Asiatics an oldage pension we shall bold out to them the strongest possible inducement to remain in the country. My experience is that, after naturalized Chinamen have lived in Australia for a certain period, they go back to China, but if they know that by remaining here they will be paid a pension of 10s. per week in their declining years, there will be very little likelihood of them leaving Australia. By creating a condition of this kind and holding out an inducement to these people to stay here we are taking a departure which is in distinct opposition to the public policy of Australia with regard! to such persons. Honorable members in another place talked about the humanity nnd the justice of the. thing.
– The honorable senator will not be in order in alluding to any debate in another place.
– The humanity and the justice of the proposal and all the familiar platitudes were trotted out in this connexion.
– By the honorable senator’s own party.
– I very much regret to say that a member of the party with which I am associated was the leading spirit in securing the adoption of this amendment, which constitutes a distinct blot on the Bill and an invasion of the White Australia policy. The one thing that we desire in respect of coloured aliens is to get rid of them. If we cannot deport them, we certainly ought to offer them no inducement to remain here. I have often heard honorable senators opposite inquire, “Why do the working men patronize Chinamen and Asiatics?” and I must confess that I have frequently felt that there was a good deal of force in their contention. There is only one effective method by which we can get rid of these undesirables, namely, by discouraging their existence here in every shape and form, and by placing as many obstacles as possible in the way of them earning a livelihood. Do we not know that the furniture trade and that of market gardening are completely demoralized by the presence of Chinamen and other Asiatic aliens in Australia?
– I suppose that the honorable senator advocates that the Chinese, should extend similar treatment to English residents in China.
– I am not talking about English people who are resident in China. If my remarks would be in order, I might say a little about them. I have very pronounced opinions in regard to English people who leave their own country to become the subjects of another power; but it would not be proper for me to state them here and now. I venture to say that we should not lift so much as a finger in the way of encouraging Asiatic aliens to remain in Australia. Yet under this Bill we are doing the utmost that we can to induce hem to remain here, because there is notting that appeals so strongly to them as does the promise of a substantial payment in cash. If they are given that inducement to remain here, they will never leave us.
– And to them a pension of 10s. a week will mean affluence.
– Exactly. Only a few days ago I read in one of the newspapers a statement to the effect that to a Chinaman the possession of ,£100 in China was equivalent to riches. Yet we propose to grant them £26 per annum by way of a pension, which, if capitalised, is equivalent to £500. We are to offer them that inducement to remain here. I have no desire to see Chinamen starve; but there is a mighty difference between relieving their poverty and placing them in a position to demand from the community a pension of 10s. per week during the remainder 6f their lives, after they have resided here for a certain period. Then we are faced with another danger. There are Asiatics who are subjects of the King. Last night I was told that these persons cannot get to Australia. But nobody believes- that statement. Whether or not they can come here depends very largely on r,he Government which is in power at the time. . It is true that every one of these aliens can be subjected to the language test; but, with the present Government in power, how do we know to what kind of test they will be subjected? I have known dozens of Indians who can speak very fair English.
– A Customs officer told me that his instructions were to subject coloured aliens to an impossible test.
– /That was when the Labour party were in power. But now that we have a piebald party in office, goodness only knows to what sort of test they will be subjected.
– More authorized coloured persons were admitted to the Commonwealth under the administration of the late Government than were admitted under that of any previous Government.
– And more unauthorized coloured persons were excluded. The danger will exist, no matter what Government may be in power. We all know the cunning methods which are adopted by these undesirable coloured aliens to gain admission into a country, which, compared with their own, is a veritable Paradise. In spite of all the difficulties that are placed in their way, they continue to come here. If this Bill becomes law in its present form, an added inducement will be offered to those who are here to remain with us. It has been said that in granting old-age pensions, we should have no regard to race or colour. But I can never forget the coloured question in this or any other connexion. If there is one thing that we ought to endeavour to do, it is to make Australia white and afterwards to keep it white. We ought not to allow any consideration whatever to interfere with the carrying out of our legislation in that regard. The amendment which has been inserted in this Bill is a distinct attack upon that policy. It constitutes a departure from, and an invasion of, it. It ought not to be tolerated by this Parliament. I am sure that it will be resented by tens of thousands of worthy white residents of Australia, who have been refused pensions bv the very persons who now propose to grant them to Asiatics. We cannot find the money with which to grant pensions to our own women at sixty years of age, and yet we can open the doors of the Treasury to Chinamen, to Japanese, and to other coloured aliens who have come here and taken out letters of naturalization. Such a position is disgraceful, and ought not to be tolerated by a Parliament which is committed to the policy of a White Australia.
– I am certainly indisposed to quarrel with Senator Stewart for having submitted this motion, but I take some exception to the language in which he couched his remarks upon it. There is not the slightest justification for his endeavour to impart to his proposal, or to the debate which preceded it, the slightest party complexion. The division list will show that both parties in this Chamber were divided upon the clause in question. As a matter of fact, the initial act’ in reference to that clause was taken in another place by a member of his own party.
– I am very sorry for that.
– That circumstance, and the fact that the amendment was supported in this Chamber by Senators McGregor and Pearce, are sufficient evidence that the matter has absolutely no party complexion. Personally, I am not going to resist the proposal to recommit the clauses in question. It seems to me to be one upon which it is desirable further opportunity for discussion should be afforded. Senator Stewart has presented one very strong argument which quite escaped my attention last night, namely, that the clause offers a further inducement to Asiatics - -who might otherwise be disposed to leave Australia - to remain here. I confess that that argument has made an impression upon my mind, and I suppose that it has also impressed other honorable senators. I think, however, that Senator Stewart is unnecessarily alarmed upon the question of the influx of Asiatics into the Commonwealth. Without the slightest hesitancy, it may be affirmed that there is no legitimate entry of these persons into Australia worth speaking of.
– But there is a very large illegitimate entry.
– That is quite another matter. Senator Stewart has suggested that the language test to which coloured Asiatics are subject was being made so easy that they experienced no difficulty in passing it. Honorable senators have in their possession information regarding the number of coloured aliens who successfully passed that test, and they must recognise that there is no legitimate entry of these persons into Australia which is worth a moment’s consideration. Regarding the number of illegitimate entries, we can only hazard a conjecture”. ‘ We all know that the number of those who are admitted with the sanction of the Government is not sufficient to justify the language which has been employed by Senator Stewart. We are also aware that only a few months ago an Act was placed upon the statute-book which was designed to - and which, I think, did - effectively close at least one of the illegitimate channels through which coloured Asiatics were gaining admission to the Commonwealth. That that Act is a very beneficial one was shown by the action which was taken under it shortly after it became law. It would ill-become the present Government - if they thought that there were other illegitimate channels which might be effectively closed against these undesirables - to hesitate to introduce legislation having that object in view. I have no objection to the recommittal of the two clauses indicated by Senator Stewart.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [ii.o].- I desire to submit a very brief proposition for the consideration of Senator Stewart. Seeing that, as a civilized community, we cannot allow aliens to die upon our hands, it is obvious that we must provide for them in some way. To my mind, there are two ways of dealing with this matter open to us. The first is to grant coloured Asiatics in Australia old-age pensions, which will permit them to live apart from indigent whites, and the second way out of the difficulty is to provide them with homes in our charitable institutionsIt becomes a question for consideration - which is the more desirable way of dealing, with them ? Should we place these coloured aliens in our benevolent asylums or should’ we provide, as far as possible, for their maintenance outside institutions which are principally filled by people of British birth? In the interests of our White Australia policy, it is desirable to consider whether it is not preferable to give them a means of support outside rather than mix them up indiscriminately with white people in our asylums, as is now done.
– They will mix withthe white population if they live outside.
– But not soclosely as if they live in our benevolent asylums, where at present we find members of coloured races occupying the samerooms, feeding with, and living cheek by jowl with, members of the white race.
– They travel together in: railway carriages.
– That is a. temporary matter, and not to be compared, with permanent residence. Although, in. the first instance, I was against the amendment made in the Bill yesterday, the consideration that I have mentioned rather prompts me to support the opinion of thosewho favour the granting of pensions to coloured people.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council was quite right in saying that we can discuss this question apart from party considerations, although the honorable senator, as a strong party man, could not resist the invitation to throw in an interjection to the effect that more coloured immigration was authorized during the term of the late Government than under any previous Administration. At the first glance the amendments that have been made in this measure seem to be very reasonable.
– The honorable senator must confine himself to the discussion of the recommittal of clauses n and
– We wish to alter the Bill as it now stands with respect to the amendments that have .been made in it. At the first glance it seems reasonable to say that as we have only a small number of Chinese or other Asiatics naturalized in Australia the expenditure entailed would not be very much. But Senator Stewart has raised the point of view that we should not offer an inducement to these people to remain, but should make them inclined to go back to the country whence they came.
– That is what I interjected yesterday.
– Yes ; and the honorable senator very properly voted against the amendment on that ‘ground. I trust that it is now the fixed policy of all classes of the community to keep Australia white. But we are not only dealing with naturalized Chinamen, as we thought yesterday, but with a very large number of Asiatics who, under the Bill as it stands, will be able to claim, not only ihe old-age, but the invalid pension. I refer especially to natives of India. A few years ago it became difficult to induce the kanaka to come to Australia to work in the sugar industry. He was getting shy, and was not easily caught. Thereupon those interested in the industry turned their attention to natives of India. Attempts were made, which fortunately were unsuccessful, to induce large numbers of coolies to come to Australia to be employed in tropical agriculture. I suppose that there are now about 7,000 or 8,000 in Australia. They are British subjects, just as we are. Only a day ‘or two ago we were informed by the newspapers of an agitation on one of the northern .rivers of New South Wales because an Indian had been successful in obtaining in the land ballot the best selection offered in the district. Thereupon there was a hue and cry by the very people who were to some extent responsible for bringing Indians to this country. The trouble on the northern rivers shows that as soon as any section of this community feels the competition of the Asiatic races, they are convinced that these people should not be allowed to come in. These Indians are born traders. You find them hawking in various parts of Australia. You see a man going along dressed in a long nightshirt, with a turban on his head, riding one horse and leading another laden from the ears to the tail with bundles of goods. He sells commodities, not to his own countrymen, but to Europeans. I am sorry to say that, in many case’s Europeans are willing purchasers from them, and thus offer them1 an inducement to re’main in the country. They also enter into competition with the labourer. They are liked by those who employ them, who prefer them to any other class of coloured labour. Why ? Because they do not work for wages. They always take contract work, and there is no responsibility with them. They have not to be looked after as the kanaka has. When any Asiatic is injured or becomes sick he has as much right under this Bill as any other person in Australia to claim an invalid pension. The fact that their ordinary standard of civilization is low, in itself offers an inducement for them to remain here. It is affluence to a coolie to get 10s. per week. They can live for considerably less. By giving them this pension we shall offer a considerable inducement to them to remain here. Many would otherwise, perhaps, go away to their own country.
– After they are sixty-five years of age?
– Some go away after that age, if they have accumulated sufficient money. But age does not regulate the invalid pension. There is nothing that these men desire so much as to be able to go home with a hundred dr a couple of hundred pounds. They realize that the best thing they can do, having accumulated a little money, is to return to their own land, where their savings will go a long way. It costs them a great deal more to live here. Not only do they wish to go back, but we have actually had instances of cemeteries being dug up and the bones of Chinese extracted from the ground to be taken back to China. If Asiatics are able to get pensions from the Government it will be equivalent to putting a barrier round Australia to prevent them getting out.
. -While I have not the slightest objection to the recommittal of the Bill, I see no reason for reversing the vote I gave yesterday. I fail to see how our White Australia policy is affected by the amendment carried. Rightly or wrongly, Asiatics have in years gone by been permitted to come to Australia. Rightly or wrongly, they have been permitted to acquire rights of citizenship. The naturalized Chinaman has the same political power as a white citizen has. Once we recognise them as citizens we expect them to conform to our laws in respect to wages and so forth. In the furniture trade in Victoria there is to-da.y a wages board which insists that the same wage shall be paid to a Chinaman as to a white man.
– The law is evaded.
– If so, that is due, not to the Act, but to the supervision exercised under it. Chinamen have to work the same number of hours as white men. When they become invalided or old they are treated just as is any other citizen. The doors of our hospitals are open to them. No one says, because they are Asiatics, that they shall *not receive the same skilled attention as any other citizen. It would be inhuman to act otherwise. When they become incapable of performing any more work, the various benevolent institutions are open to them. In the mining centres in Victoria there are plenty of Chinese in the charitable institutions. They are treated just as kindly as are white men. I hope the same is the case in all parts of Australia.
– It is not so.
– They can live on the smell of an oil rag.
– Well, there are plenty of Europeans who can live on the smell of an oil rag. My experience is that as soon as a Chinaman gets On his feet he likes to have a few luxuries. He likes his pig, his fowl, and his drop of gin. We are told that the payment of a pension of I OS. per week wilt be an inducement to Chinamen to remain in Australia. As one who has visited China, I question that statement. First of all, it must be understood that the Chinese who come to Australia in contravention of our legislation are not old, but young and vigorous men. Why ? Because., being young, they are worth some thing to those who are able to bring them here. I have been given to understand that those who are successful in smuggling young Chinese into this country get £100 per head for them. We are not likely to have any influx of old or invalid Chinese as a result of the new clause adopted yesterday. There is another aspect of the matter which should be considered. Rich or poor, the great desire of a Chinese is that his remains shall be buried in China. Any one who cares to visit one of the boats trading to the East .will find a number of old Chinese on board them.
– And sometimes dead Chinese.
– Can the honorable senator tell the age of a Chinaman ?
– Not exactly; but a Chinaman when he is old becomes decrepit, and white hairs show on his face as well as on his head, as they do on aged white men. I saw seventy Chinese leaving by one of the boats trading to the East, and fifty of them were old men, whose passages to China were being paid by Chinese benevolent institutions in Victoria in order that their desire to spend their last days and be buried in the land of their birth should be gratified.
– Does the honorable senator not know that many of them are christianized here, and that one of the most eloquent men we have in Victoria is a Chinaman ?
– Yes, and I heard the honorable senator say that he hoped the proposal would not be carried, although that would mean that the eloquent Christian, to whom he has referred, would be treated as if he were not a human being at all. It is true, as Senator Trenwith has reminded me, that dead Chinese arc carried back to China from Australia. Let me inform honorable senators that if a Chinese dies on board a vessel trading to China, his remains are never thrown overboard. The captain of one of these boats told me that the reason for that was that if it were known that a captain threw the remains of a dead Chinese overboard no Chinese would ever again travel by his boat. I repeat that I see no reason to alter the vote I gave yesterday. Since the Asiatics who are now in the Commonwealth arrived in Australia, we have passed legislation which, I hope, will prevent the admission of other aliens, and I do not share Senator Stewart’s alarm that by paying pensions to invalid and aged Chinese we shall have an invasion of Asiatics, which will threaten the interests of the white people of Australia.
– The maintenance of the White Australia principle is, in my opinion, the most important consideration in dealing with this matter. That principle should be jealously guarded ora every occasion. The new clause, to which objection is taken, represents a step to defeat our White Australia legislation. It is all very well for Senator Findley to dilate on the charitable aspect of the question, but those who are opposed to the new clause, which has been inserted in this Bill, do not suggest that Chinese or any other coloured people should be turned out of our charitable institutions. There is no reason why they should not continue to be relieved in them as at present. It is not the object of this measure to extend charity to any one. I thought that Senator Findley, in common with other honorable senators on this side, protested against the term charity being associated with the payment of old-age pensions. We shall extend charity to Chinese in the future as in the past, and that is as much as can reasonably be expected of us. We are dealing here with a very different question, and the new clause which has been carried offers a substantial inducement to Chinese to come to this country.
– Of what use will it be for them to come when they cannot be naturalized ?
– Senator McGregor is aware of the difficulty of administering the Immigration Restriction Act. We cannot distinguish Chinese who” have a right to come to this country from those who have no such right. We know that our legislation is evaded in quite a number of ways, and, so far, we have been unable to prevent its evasion. On a pension of ios. a week a Chinaman in Australia would be able to save money. He could live on 5s. a week, and save the balance to enable him to live comfortably at the close of his life in China.
– Dying Chinese will not be induced to come to Australia in the hope that they will get 10s. a week.
– I do not say that dying ‘Chinese will be induced to come here. But those who wish to save money will come here, anc! will go back to China to die. The clause which has been adopted may lead to a greater influx of undesirable immigrants than we have had in the past. For the reasons I have given I hope that honorable senators will consent to the recommittal of the Bill, in order that we ma T strike out this objectionable provision.
Senator GIVENS (Queensland) Cn.24]. - After the eloquent panegyric we have had from Senator Findley on the virtues and claims of the Chinaman, it might be considered that those who take an opposite view of the new clause which has been agreed to are callous-hearted.
– There is no occasion for the honorable senator’s sarcasm. I did not sound the praises of the Chinaman.
– I have no desire to be considered gallous-hearted, but I contend that we. should do all we can to minimize the inducements offered to these people to come to Australia. My attitude towards the provision objected to has been that if these privileges are conferred on the coloured natives of one country they should be conferred on coloured people from every country. If they are to be given to Chinese, they should be given to Red Indians of North America, Kaffirs of South Africa, and Patagonians, if they choose ‘to come here. Personally I am utterly opposed to offering inducements to any of these people to immigrate.
– Yet the honorable senator voted for the clause last night.
– The honorable senator is mistaken ; I voted against it. But I also voted against differentiating between the coloured natives of one country and! of another. In times past those who favoured the introduction of coloured labour used to say that it could do no harm, because the coloured labourers came here without their women, and did not settle down and reproduce their kind. It was said that, after being a few years here, they would be anxious to return to their own country to get married and live a family life there. But if we are to hold out such inducements to the immigration of coloured people as are now proposed, we shall have to face n. considerable in lux of them, in spite of all our restrictive legislation. Senator Findley is as fully convinced as is any other member of the Senate that, in spite of all our restrictive legislation, these coloured people somehow contrive to get here. If we let it be known that if they come here they will be able, not only to make a good living, but to obtain pensions when they are invalided, or have become too old to work, the inducement to them to come to Australia will be very much greater than it is at present.
– How will it, when they cannot get pensions unless they are naturalized ?
– That is quite beside the question. They can obtain an invalid pension without being naturalized, and onethird of the Asiatics who come to Australia are British subjects, who do not require to be naturalized. We have 7,000 or 8,000 Hindoos here who are natural born British subjects. Great Britain controls large areas of country in the Straits Settlements and other Asiatic territories, and coloured people coming to Australia from those places could prove that they were natural born British subjects, and entitled to these pensions. If these coloured people are given pensions, instead of following the natural desire to return to their own country, they will be induced to settle down in Australia. We know that 10s. a. week would represent a handsome income to some of these people. It is unnecessary to labour the great national question involved. We have only to remember the serious problem confronting the people of the United ‘.States, as the result of tampering with the question in that country. They are faced with the greatest problem that any nation could be faced with.
– They are having difficulties in Canada with the Japanese.
– In Canada and in other, countries similar conditions are gradually being brought about as the result of the admission of people of coloured races. I have no hatred of Chinese or Japanese. I. should like to see them doing well under the best conditions in their own country ; but I believe it would be bad for themselves, and especially bad for Australia, to allow them to come here.
– I support the motion for the recommital of the Bill, chiefly because I consider that if we are unable to provide for out own aged people and invalids we should not go out of our way to make special provision for coloured people. We find that it will be impossible to bring into operation a reduction of the age qualification for women for at least two years, and in the circumstances I see no reason why we should go out of our way to confer benefits upon the people of other races. There is another reason for my objection, and that is the proposal for a treaty of reciprocity. In his zeal to make all mankind stand on the same plane, Senator Pulsford is seeking to place the Japanese on precisely the same level as the old pioneer who has opened up the country for Japanese to come here and settle. Can he point to a single instance where a path in Australia has been made smooth, where a virgin wilderness has been made, so to speak, to yield its treasures to the race which is now enjoying it, where resources have ever been opened up by the hand of the alien whom he wants to place on the same level as the pioneer?
– Yes, very easily.
– By whom were our gold-fields discovered ; by whom were our pastoral resources discovered and pioneered ? It was not by the race whom the honorable senator wishes to place on a level with white people, but by the ancestors of the very men to whom we propose to give ai slight advantage in the matter of an old-age pension.
– Order. 1 point out to the honorable senator that Senator Pulsford is not to be regarded as being responsible for the clauses which it is desired to recommit. The Committee of the Senate is responsible for the form of the clauses, and therefore it is irregular for the honorable senator to allude specially to Senator Pulsford.
– Very well, sir; but seeing that his name has been so prominently associated with this altruistic idea, I thought that I might be permitted to make the reference I did.
– On this motion the honorable senator is not entitled to allude to the ideas of another honorable senator. It is out of order for him to talk about an honorable senator being a follower of a particular cult. The only question at issue is whether two clauses of the Bill shall be recommitted, and the honorable senator can only state the reasons which actuate him in voting for or against that question.
– In discussing the question of recommitting the clauses, sir, I must necessarily refer to the character of the amendments that are to be proposed.
– I have afforded to honorable senators an opportunity to state their reasons very fully, and do not desire to prevent the honorable senator from doing the same thing. I only restrained him when he began to stray from the question and allude to another honorable senator’s ideas.
– The two matters are so much interwoven, sir, that I felt impelled to make a reference to Senator Pulsford, but I quite understand the position which you take up. When the time comes to deal with the amendments we should bear in mind how the members of our own race are treated in the countries of those persons whom it is now sought to place on the same level as our own citizens. Take, for example, Japan. We know that the aim of that nation is to displace as much as possible the European in every business or calling. It is impossible tor Europeans to hold land in that country, and they are suffering under many disabilities which are not imposed upon Japanese in Australia. We are to be asked to place the subjects of the Mikado on precisely the same level as our own people, although he, through his Government, will not remove the disabilities which are at present imposed upon British subjects in his country. We can commit the error of being too liberal. I draw the attention of honorable senators to the necessity of looking after the interests of our own people, of providing as soon as possible for the women who must at present reach the age of sixty -five years before they can get a pension, and of encouraging, if possible, thrifty persons who have acquired a home worth more than ^100, and whom the Ministry say it is impossible to provide for at present. If, by saving a little in early life, a person has acquired a home worth £200, he is debarred from receiving the full amount of the old-age pension.
-The honorable senator is now getting away from the question before the Senate, and that is the recommittal of two clauses. I cannot allow any debate on the question of exemptions to take place.
– I shall conclude my remarks, sir, by stating that, in my opinion, our first duty is to look after our own people before we extend charity to those who are not charitable to British subjects in their own countries.
– I hope that when the question of recommitting these clauses has been fully debated and all phases of the proposed amendments have been discussed here, we shall speedily go to divisions and come to decisions. I deplore the tendency on the part of some honorable senators, probably unintentionally, to misrepresent the whole position. As I said yesterday, the question of a White Australia is not involved. It is merely a question of doing justice to coloured aliens who have resided in Australia for twenty years and are naturalized subjects of the King. It is beside the question for Senator Lynch or any one else to talk about the state of our pioneers. In this Bill no benefit is proposed to be given, or is likely to be given, to coloured persons who may come to Australia hereafter, or who have come here during the last fifteen years. Honorable senators ought to recognise that fact.
– There is a benefit to be given to those who have come here during the last fifteen years.
– Yes, to any such persons who have been naturalized.
– Or who are British subjects.
– I was just coming to the question of the few thousand coloured persons who are supposed to be British subjects. In making that remark Senator Turley is endeavouring, or is likely to create the impression, that all of these 8,000 persons are over the age of sixty or sixty-five years, that they are all naturalized, or natural-born, and will be accepted as British, or that they have all come into Australia by a door which was open to them at the time. I think every one ought to disabuse his mind of such sophistry as that and consider the plain facts. I admit that in the future one or two aliens may be able to evade the vigilance of the officers administering the Old-age Pensions Act, but the same number of white persons will do exactly the same thing. An argument of that description should not be introduced by a fair-minded representative.
– According to the honorable senator these people are going to look twenty-five years in advance.
– According to my honorable friend, people in China, Japan, and India are going to flock in because it is proposed in this Bill to grant a privilege to certain coloured persons. I contend that those who are already naturalized according to the laws of our country are entitled to exactly the same privileges as persons of any other colour in Australia. I do not wish to be sentimental. I have already related an incident in my life which would compel me to- extend to Asiatics who are lawful British subjects, and who are now in Australia, the same privileges as I would be prepared to take for myself or any of my friends. Being in trouble on one occasion a Chinaman came to my assistance when there were plenty of opportunities for white persons to assist me, and when I offered to him a reward he said, ‘‘If ever you see a countryman of mine in the same position, you do exactly the same to him.” I have worked side by side, not with Asiatics,- but with Africans - who belonged to the same union as myself, who were prepared to pay the same contribution, and who, to my mind, were just as white as anybody else in Australia.
– Were they African aboriginals ?
– Yes. Do honorable senators think that I could ever look a man of that description in the face if I did not recognise here that a naturalized subject is entitled to the same rights and privileges as are other citizens? I do not intend to support any proposal which would withhold from such persons the right to an old-age pension. We have heard a good deal to-day about the introduction of Asiatic British subjects. Honorable senators know very well that in the future such persons cannot legally enter the Commonwealth, and that if any persons should get in surreptitiously, and apply afterwards for an old-age pension, their offence would be discovered, and they would be punished and deported. Because it is probable that one or two coloured aliens may evade the vigilance of our officers, I shall not deny justice to those who are entitled to it equally with myself. I desire to refer now to the specious argument of Senator Stewart, that if we offer to a Chinaman, or a Japanese, or a Hindoo, a pension of IOS. a week - and, mind, it is not offered to such persons unless they are qualified by law to” get a pension - it will induce them to remain in Australia. We are also told that it is in conflict with the White Australia policy, because, if a Chinaman or ether Asiatic has the prospect of getting I 05. a week ahead of him, he will not return to his own country, whereas otherwise he might depart. I do not think there is a great rush of aged Chinamen or ether persons to their native country, unless they have made a competency.
– Rich or poor, Chinamen want to get back.
– I know that they all want to get back ; but they do not all get back, unless under very peculiar circumstances. Those who would be eligible for an old-age pension would die in Australia in any circumstances. Whether their remains are sent back to China by Chinese philanthropic associations or not is beside the question. Ail I ask for is justice to those who are now entitled to the same privileges as we are, and honorable senators ought not to withhold that boon simply because there is a possibility of the law being evaded by a few persons.
– I merely wish to draw attention to* the fact that if we retain in this Bill the provision which has been inserted in it, it is possible that Asiatics - whether they be British subjects or not - entering the Commonwealth in violation of the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act, may become entitled to pensions. I think that that contention is well founded. I am further of opinion that any Asiatic who enters the Commonwealth in violation of its laws ought not to be entitled to an old-age pension.
– I do not desire to say more than a few words in connexion with this matter. I intend to support the recommittal of the Bill, and I am beginning to doubt whether any real reason ever existed for the enactment of legislation providing for the exclusion of coloured aliens from our shores.
– The whole of the arguments advanced have been opposed to that legislation.
– I am positive that Senator McGregor has adduced an excellent argument why we should turn round and sweep the whole of that legislation from our statute-book. He has shown that the same white heart beats within the breast of each coloured man that beats within that of a white Australian. If that be so, I should like to know what part of the coloured man represents the inferiority of his race.
– His habits and customs, and the diseases which he brings with him.
– I am absolutely astonished at the position taken up bv the honorable senator. I have always argued in favour of a White Australia, because I believe that there are inferiorities cf race.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that he must not discuss that question.
– If the Bill be recommitted, I intend to do all that I can to prevent coloured aliens from enjoying the same right as an Australian to an old-age pension.
– They cannot get a pension if they are aliens.
– The honorable senator’s interpretation of the term “ alien “ and my own apparently differ. He is welcome to his opinion on the matter, and I am content to retain mine.
– There are involved in this matter questions of high statesmanship, and I think we shall be well advised if we take a broad and careful view of it. Those gentlemen who are the most consistent advocates of the policy of a White Australia ought to be most careful to justly safeguard it in all directions, so that they cannot be accused of being prepared to inflict injustice upon coloured persons who chance to be within our borders. A few minutes ago I was asked by Senator Lynch whether I could cite any instance in which Chinamen had rendered service to Australia. I am sure that honorable senators must recognise that Chinamen have rendered very great assistance to mining ventures. By engaging in the trade of market gardening probably they have been instrumental in saving scores of Australian lives. I do ask honorable senators to take a broad Imperial view of this matter, and noi a provincial” one. We should view it from the Empire stand-point. We have already enacted legislation which has caused the Empire a certain amount of trouble, and we should not further embarrass the Imperial authorities bv doing a pure act of injustice. Senator McGregor hit the nail upon the head when he based his appeal on behalf of these coloured aliens upon the principle of justice. We must all agree with Carlyle’s declaration that “ Injustice pays itself with compound interest.”
– Have the Chinese or Japanese authorities ever granted oldage pensions to Europeans who are resident in those countries?
– I presume not. But I would point out that the number of coloured Asiatics in Australia who would gain relief under this Bill is an entirely negligible quantity, and that we cannot exclude them from the provisions of the measure without offering them an open insult.
– Like Senator McGregor, I resent the insinuation on the part of those honorable senators who take a different view of this matter from ourselves that we are less sincere upon the question of maintaining a White Australia than they are. Some of those who have made that statement appear to lose sight of the fact that we who voted in favour of the amendment to which they so strongly object actually took a share in passing the White Australia legislation before they occupied seats in this Parliament.
– The honorable senator merely did that because it was the policy of the party to which he belonged.
– Is that so? Does not the honorable senator think that it was because I believed in it?
– I am sorry if that is the honorable senator’s opinion of me. Does he say that 1 voted for that legislation only because it was part ot the policy of the Labour party, and not because I believed in it?’
– Because it was the honorable senator’s policy, and that of the party to which he belongs.
– And it is still my policy. The honorable senator, perhaps unintentionally, has repeated a slander which is often hurled at Labour members, and which he bitterly resents on other occasions, namely, that we advocate certain things merely because they are part of the policy of our party. He certainly ought to give those of us who differ from him on these questions credit for equal sincerity with himself. I resent the attempt which has been made most deliberately to construe our votes in such a way as to convex the impression that we are not equally sincere with them on the White Australia policy. I say that this question is not in any way connected with that policy.
– The question of the honorable senator’s sincerity has never been raised.
– It was raised in the most deliberate fashion by Senators Turley, Givens, and Henderson. If the honorable senator will read the Hansard proofs tomorrow, he will see that those most unjust accusations have been made against us. Senator Henderson stated that we were prepared to grant old-age pensions to aliens. Surely he can never have read the provisions of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, because one of the disqualifications. which it imposes has reference to any person who is an alien.
– Senator Henderson was referring to persons who are of alien race.
- Senator Lynch fell into practically the same error by declaring that we are willing to grant to the subjects of the Mikado what the Mikado will not grant to British subjects. That is not a fact. A subject of the Mikado is an alien, and, under the Bill, is disqualified from receiving a pension.
– The honorable senator is referring to the ‘technical difference between a person who was a subject of the Mikado and one who is so still.
– The honorable senator did not speak of a person who had been a subject of the Mikado, His statement has gone into Hansard that we propose to grant to the subjects of the Mikado what the Mikado will not grant to British subjects.
– But the subjects of the Mikado who come here will avail themselves of the right to claim an old-age pension.
– They cannot do so.
– -The Naturalization Act is a bar to them.
– As long as they are subjects of the Mikado, it .is obvious that they cannot be British subjects, and, consequently, cannot apply for a pension under this Bill.
– Will not this measure apply to persons who are subjects of the Mikado, but who afterwards become British subjects?
– No; if they are subjects of the Mikado now, they can never become British subjects, because the Naturalization Act prevents them from doing so.
– That is a very fine distinction to draw.
– I am merely stating facts. I shall oppose the recommittal of the Bill. The statement has also been made that the reasons advocated by Senator
McGregor and others why this act of simple justice should be done to an Asiatic, or an African, or a Maori within the Commonwealth are reasons why our White Australia legislation should be repealed. If that be the view of Senator Henderson and Senator McColl, I have only to say that they do not understand the first principles of our White Australia legislation. They have adopted unconsciously, as their own opinion, the attack that has been frequently made by the Conservative press against those who advocate a White Australia policy - that it is a policy of vengeance and vindictiveness. I utterly repudiate that idea.
– Surely selfpreservation is a wise policy ?
– Yes, but ours was never a policy of vengeance and vindictiveness. While we may be quite convinced of the absolute necessity of keeping Asiatics out of Australia, yet, at the same time, in justice to those who are here, we should treat them in the same way as we treat other citizens. We have done so hitherto, and I hope that we always shall. This Bill, as it stands, proposes to do no more. The statement has been made that a number of Indians may be induced to come in. In the first place, of those Indians who are in Australia now only a very small proportion could be eligible for the pension. As for those who will come in, they will meet with an obstacle which, in m’v opinion, will be insuperable. They have to answer certain questions, and there is a penalty against wrongful replies. Their answers have also to be backed up by other evidence. Amongst the questions to be put is one as to the date of arrival in the Commonwealth, and another as to the ship by .which they came. The answers to those questions ‘it is within the power of the authorities to verify or disprove. For instance, if an Indian says that he came to Australia by the Marmora. the fact can be proved or disproved by turning up the list of arrivals by the Marmora on the date mentioned. If it be found that the Indian in question was a stowaway, the very fact of his applying for an old-age pension, and affording means of proof of his manner of arrival, would render him liable to prosecution under the Immigration Restriction Act, and would lead to his deportation. He could get neither the invalid nor the old-age pension until he showed that he came here legitimately. It is true that he may have come to Australia before Federation. But even then there were State Acts in operation which were very much on the lines of the Federal Act. If an Indian furnished proof that he came here illegitimately at any time within the last thirty years, he would be liable to prosecution.
– There was nothing in the State Acts to prevent those people from coming in.
– There was in Western Australia and in Victoria, and, I think, there was in other States also.
– A Chinaman could not engage in business on the gold-fields of Western Australia up to a certain time.
– That is so. Therefore, to say that Indians will remain in Australia in consequence of this Bill is to talk absolute nonsense; because they would have tobreak the law to get in, and, having broken the law, they could not claim the pension.
– Dees the honorable senator think that the authorities could disprove an applicant’s statement after twenty-five years ?
– I am dealing with the statement that Asiatics are now coming in, and that this Bill will offer further inducements to them to do so. The authorities would have an opportunity of checking an Asiatic’s statement even after twenty-five years, because the records are kept.
– The honorable senator has not addressed himself to Senator Stewart’s argument that this Bill, as amended, may tend to keep Asiatics in Australia who would otherwise go to their own country.
– I am_ very doubtful about that statement. From conversations with Asiatics on this subject, and from reading, I am convinced that no financial consideration has so much weight with them as the sentimental inducement to return to their own country.
– They lose the sentimental view after twenty-five years.
– We know that Chinamen do not lose it. A Chinaman of means will even make provision in his will that his dead body shall be taken to China for burial. Does not that prove the strength of the sentimental desire to return to their own country ?
– It is ancestor worship that promotes that desire.
– Ancestor” worship is a religious sentiment. The argument that this Bill will induce Asiatics to remain in Australia is disproved by the fact that they do return to their own country for purely sentimental reasons.
.- This debate has been very interesting and instructive. Senator Stewart is to be congratulated on giving us an opportunity of ventilating the subject. He submitted, with considerable force, that the amendment made in the Bill really amounted to an attack upon the White Australia policy. He argued that to give a Chinaman a pension of ios. per week might induce him to stay in Australia instead of going back to China to see his father. To that extent I believe Senator Stewart’s argument to be correct. But the crux of the whole matter appears to lie in the case which Senator McGregor brought so clearly before us. We have to deal with this matter as one of justice. . Had there been time, I could have turned up some strong remarks by English Judges on the question of dealing justly with aliens entering Great Britain and being admitted to citizenship there. We are now dealing with men who come to Australia, as aliens, and afterwards become naturalized subjects of the King. I consider that we are bound to extend to them the same justice that we extend to other subjects of the King. Being naturalized, they are British subjects, and to discriminate between British subjects would, in my opinion, be a mistake. I agree with Senator Pulsford that we should be creating an injustice. If we are to consider matters Imperially, it would be a step in the wrong direction to follow Senator Stewart. Throughout the world a reputation has been created for British justice, and if we were to discriminate in this matter we should place upon our statute-book a blot which we should afterwards regret. I quite agree however, that a Chinaman, a Japanese, or an Indian can live much more cheaply than an Englishman or an Australian, and therefore if we give to an Australian a pension of ios. per week, 5s. would be sufficient to give to an Asiatic. But to make an amendment in that direction would he discriminating, and if we are to do justice let it be done all round.
Question - That the Bill be re-committed for the re-consideration of clauses n and 13A - resolved in the affirmative.
Clause ii’ -
Section sixteen of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words in sub-section (i) “Asiatics (except those born in Australia) or” and inserting at the end of sub-section (i) the following proviso : - “ Provided that a person who is or becomes a naturalized subject of the King on or before the thirtieth day of June One thousand nine hundred and ten shall not be disqualified from receiving an otcl-age pension by reason only of the fact that he has not been naturalized for the period of three years next preceding the date of his pension claim.”
– I move -
That the words “ omitting the words in subsection (1) 1 Asiatics (except those born in Australia) or’ and,” be left out.
The effect of this amendment would be to leave the clause as it stood before it was amended. I need say nothing more in sup, port of my amendment. The whole question has been thoroughly discussed.
.- Itake it that the Committee thoroughly understand Senator Stewart’s amendment, but it may make the matter a little clearer if I remind them that the original Act read in this way -
The following persons shall not be qualified to receive an old-age pension namely (a) aliens (4) naturalized subjects (c) Asiatics except those born in Australia.
Then follows an enumeration of other classes. The amending clause which we passed yesterday struck out the words “ Asiatics, except those born in Australia.” Senator Stewart proposes to strike out of the amending Bill that portion of the clause which struck out of the main Act the words “ Asiatics, except those born in Australia.” The result would be that the parent Act would remain unaffected. As to the proposal itself, I say at once that the argument addressed to us by Senator Stewart, that the effect of the amendment made in the Bill would be to cause Asiatics to remain in Australia, has had a great influence on my mind. I have listened carefully to the debate this morning. It has been most interesting and instructive. Despite Senator Pearce’s remark that Asiatics in Australia are affected by sentiment, and not by cash, it seems to me that there is always a point where cash will balance sentiment. We all know something of the characteristics of Chinamen when money is concerned, and I am rather inclined to think that many of them who at present are spurred by sentiment, might, if the Bill were passed in its present form, be swayed the other way, and refrain from returning to their own country.
– The honorable senator talks as if there were millions of them here.
– I have not said a word which would suggest that there are even a hundred of them here. Just how many there are here I do not know. But I believe the number to be very small.
– Are not naturalized Chinese generally men who are well to do?
– All these are matterson whichwe may form general ideas, but on which it is not possible to’ express one’s self definitely. The amendment to which we agreed yesterday does seem’ to me open to the objection that people whom we all desire to see return to their own country as soon as possible, may be induced as the result of payments out of the public Treasury, to continue here longer than they otherwise would. That is the view which has prevailed with me.
– What a graceful backing down.
– I understand that there are some people who, when they have discovered that they have made a mistake are incapable of owning it. I can see nothing disgraceful in admitting that after hearing further argument on this question I am prepared to say that it has prevailed with me.
– What will the honorable senator say next week on the same subject?
– When my honorable friends, Senators Pearce and McGregor, have had to submit to the criticism to which they have been subjected when they have ventured to differ from honorable senators on the other side, we on this side certainly have no cause to complain when the same course of action is adopted towards us. I have stated the course I. propose to adopt in dealing with the matter before the Com-, mittee.
-I was very much surprised to find this provision in the Bill, as it came to us from another place. But I was still more surprised to discover the source from which it emanated. I opposed the proposal yesterday for three reasons; first of all because, as Senator Lynch has said, it would be unjust to some of our own people, since it might defer assistance to them. We are told that we should do justice, and I say that we should do justice to our own people before we consider the people of other races. I also opposed the proposal because I was afraid that it would help to load this legislation too much. If we are not extremely careful it will break down by its Own weight. We must use common sense in considering even humane legislation, and I am afraid that if we overload this measure the people who have to find the money may begin to think that it will be too expensive and may call for some revision of it. I am opposed to the proposal also because despite what some honorable senators opposite say I believe it to be a violation of the White Australia policy. We should do nothing that would lead the world at large to think that we a] e weakening on that principle. Senator Pearce said that I did not seem to understand the reasons for the adoption of the White Australia policy, and that I took the conservative view that it is a policy of vengeance. I hope the honorable senator does noi really think so meanly of me. I have always supported the White Australia policy, because my travels throughout the world have led me to believe that it is absolutely necessary for the safety of this country. If there is one thing which, more than another, brings the Commonwealth closely into touch with Americans, and on which they support the action of the Commonwealth, it is the White Australia policy we have adopted. Wherever I went in America, people said to me, “ You are sound on that point; stick to it.” One has only to visit America to note the disastrous results which have arisen from the fact that such a policy was not adopted there. On the Pacific coast 90 per cent, of the salmon fishing is in the hands of Japanese. On the Northern Pacific and other great railroads, two-thirds of the porters are Japanese or Chinese, and these people are cutting out American workmen every day. If one who did not believe in the White Australia policy visited America, he would come back here a confirmed believer in it. It is a weakening of that policy to give these coloured people the same privileges as our own. I am in favour of treating people of these races who are here with justice; but there is no reason why we should give them every privilege which we confer upon our own people.
– The provision affects only those who are already on “the same level, and entitled to the same privileges as our own people..
– The honorable senator must know that they are not on the same level. If a white man and a coloured man came to him for employment, he would not treat them as on the same level; he would give the white man employment, and would turn the black man from his door. Senator Pulsford said we should take the Empire view ; but it is too late to do that. We have already decided, for just and proper reasons, and in the interests of our own safety, to adopt the White Australia policy. We recognise that if we are to have a prosperous community in Australia it must be composed of people who will stand on something like the same social and industrial level. If we weaken on that policy and offer inducements for the immigration of alien races, we shall sooner or later work mischief. I support Senator Stewart’s proposal and protest as strongly as I can against these provisions having been included in the Bill.
– When we considered this matter yesterday we were without information which has been given to-day. As I looked at the proposal when it was first submitted, it occured to me that there are very few Chinese naturalized in Australia, and that for the most part they are men in business and possessed of property. The ordinary Chinaman who competes with white workers in the labour market is not naturalized. I believe that the number to whom the provision would apply would be very small, and in ten years’ time there would be none of them left, since under the law no more Chinese can be naturalized in Australia. The matter at the time seemed hardly worth talking about, but the argument submitted by Senator Stewart and others this morning shows that there is danger that Asiatics who are British subjects will come here.
– They cannot come here.
– They can and do come here. On the northern coast at Geraldton and Cairns there are thousands of them.
– And also in the Northern Territory.
– That is so. There is more danger that these people will enter Queensland and the Northern Territory than that they will enter the southern States. It is impossible for us to efficiently patrol the Gulf, and vessels employed in the pearling industry would be able to land these people between Normanton and Burketown, and in the Northern Territory, at places where there would be no police and no authority- to interfere with them. Senator Givens and I voted in the same way in the first division taken on this provision yesterday, and I should not have voted as I did in the second division had I known what I know to-day. As it is possible that danger from the introduction of these people will arise if we leave this provision in the Bill, I shall have much pleasure in supporting Senator Stewart’s amendment.
Senator Sir ALBERT GOULD (NewSouth Wales) [12.25]. - I desire to say only a very few words on the amendment. I had not an opportunity of hearing the debate which took place in Committee yesterday, when the new clause which has been objected to was submitted, but I have listened to the debate to-day. It appears to me that the only question which we- need consider at present is whether we shall permit the words ‘ 1 Asiatics (except those born in Australia) “ to remain in section 16 of the principal Act, which sets forth the persons who are to be disqualified from receiving pensions. We are faced with the question whether we should permit Asiatics who have become naturalized to participate in the benefits of our old-age pension legislation. In the first part of section 16 ofthe Act. aliens are strictly prohibited from receiving pensions, and, therefore, the only members of the Chinese race, which has been so much referred to, who would be entitled to pensions would be those who had become naturalized subjects of the King. It is true that provision has been made that naturalization may take place within twelve months, and so some persons who might be considered undesirable might become naturalized. I wish to impress upon honorable senators the fact that if we naturalize an alien, as a matter of abstract justice we have no right whatever to deny him any of the privileges which we have promised to give him in virtue of this naturalization. We have no right to say to him, “ You have abandoned whatever rights you had as a subject of your own country, and we shall give you’ only a portion of the rights we give to our own people.” The broad ground on which this matter should be dealt with is that there should be no distinction between naturalized and natural-bom subjects.- A naturalized subject is entitled to every privilege and right which a natural-born subject can claim. If that be the case, is it fair to discriminate in respect of these coloured people ? I contend that once we have admitted one who was the subject of another nation into our own nation, and made him a member of the national family, he should be under no disability as compared with natural-born subjects of the King. I fully sympathize with the strong desire expressed that we should do nothing which would weaken the White Australia policy; but I remind honorable senators that what is here proposed would not have that effect. Under our laws we have permitted the naturalization of aliens, and those who have been naturalized should be treated just the same as are natural-born British subjects. It has been pointed out that our legislation has been framed to prevent the influx of coloured races. That legislation remains in force, and we need be under no apprehension that any undue number of these coloured people will be a burden on the fund to the detriment of people of our own race. I ask honorable senators even now to pause and consider whether the carrying of the amendment would not be rather an act of injustice than an act of justice to the policy of the country as it exists to-day.
– If we adopt the proposal of Senator Stewart we shall not be doing anything which this Parliament has not frequently done, and which it has been and can be shown there were excellent reasons for doing. As the last speaker has pointed out, when these people are naturalized they ought to get every privilege which a British subject can or does get. But Parliament in its wisdom thought that it was not wise to give to coloured people who were naturalized in all cases the same privileges as white people. Let us take the “Sugar Bounty Act. Naturalized Asiatics, or even a natural born British subject, if he is a coloured native of India, cannot obtain a bounty under that law. Even though he owns the land on which the cane was grown, and employs no one else but white men in working it, he cannot get a bounty. Parliament, I contend, was amply justified in adopting that attitude, for this reason, that if we were prepared to give a bounty to coloured people on the condition that they should be naturalized, or even that they should own the land, we should have had such an influx of those people into the sugar industry that all white men would have been excluded.
– In Queensland there must be a number of naturalized Asiatics.
– In Australia there are, I believe, 6,000 or 7,000 coloured persons who do not need to be naturalized, because they are natural-born subjects of the King. In order that there may be no dispute, and to show that 1 am stating an actual fact, I ask honorable senators to listen while I quote a provision from the Sugar Bounty Act of 1905. Section 2 reads -
In this Act, unless the contrary appears : “Coloured labour” includes all forms of coloured labour whether half-caste or of full blood. “White-grown cane or beet” means sugarcane or beet produced on a white plantation and in the production of which white labour only has been employed -
after the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and seven, or
for a period of twelve months immediately preceding the delivery thereof for manufacture, or
in the case of cane cut in the year One thousand nine hundred and six, after the expiration of one month from the commencement of this Act.
Section 3 says that it is only on white grown cane or beet that the bounty is to be payable. Section 4 provides -
The occupier, and the lessee of ‘any plantation on which any sugar-cane or beet is produced shall be deemed to have been employed in the production of all sugar-cane or beet produced thereon.
It will be seen that a coloured man, although a naturalized subject of the King, who owns and occupies land, even if he employs none but white labour in the production of the cane, cannotget a bounty. Parliament enacted that provision because it wanted to make sure that the great sugar industry should be a white industry, and the provision was regarded as the only means by which that object could be achieved.
– And because Chinamen were employing white men.
– And because Chinese and Hindoos were employing white men. Prior to the passing of that Act some of these persons did get a bounty, but Parliament in its wisdom placed a restriction upon them. When he was speaking a little while ago Senator Lynch pointed out that all men of our race and country are subject to most violent treatment in Japan or China or other countries, and that some white men, after having been naturalized and devoted a life time to service and work on behalf of Japanese and Chinese, have been treated with the utmost indignity. Honorable senators have only to go into the Library to find works by men who had lived a lifetime in Japan which bear out my assertion.
– We are not advocating a White Australia from vindictiviness, I hope?
– I have no vindictive feeling towards the Japanese or the Chinese. What I want is to see them in their own country living under the best conditions, and enjoying the fullest measure of liberty and well-being. It would be bad for China, and it would be especially bad for us, if we allowed them to come in, or if, being here, we held out any inducement to them to stay here. A little while ago, Senator Pearce accused me of having said that the opponents of this amendment are insincere. I never said anything of the kind, and I shall offer to him my uncorrected Hansard, proof to-morrow to show that I did not cast the slightest slur upon any one’s sincerity. I think that if we do not adopt this amendment, we shall make a mistake. But because persons are liable to make a mistake that is no reason why I should accuse them of insincerity, and I should be very sorry to do so. I am trying to point out that, in my opinion, it would be a mistake to pass the Bill as it is. Senator Millen very cogently said that the argument which has chief weight with him is that by offering a pension to these persons we probably should induce them to remain longer in this country than otherwise they would be likely to do. Senator Pearce has pointed out, and very rightly too, that sentiment is very often stronger than financial motive. But, as Senator Millen very justly observed, a point can be reached when the financial consideration balances the sentimental one. In my opinion, a point can easily be reached when the financial consideration will outweigh the sentimental one. A pension of 10s. per week would be positive wealth to these Asiatics. And being assured of a life of ease here, even if they finally intended to go back, they would stop here until the last minute, drawing that sum per week, out of which they could save a good deal, according to their method of calculation, for the benefit of relatives in China. Why should we subsidize them for that purpose? I am sure that every honorable senator on this side, and I hope that most of the honorable senators on the other side, want to get these people out of the country as soon as possible. I intend to support trie amendment, so that we can at least assure ourselves of the fact that no undue inducement will be held out to these people to remain here longer than they otherwise would do..
– I do not think that I should have risen, but for the statement of Senator Pearce, I presume in justification of the remarks of himself and Senator McGregor, on the motion to recommit the Bill. I do not doubt for a moment that either of those honorable senators is a good White Australian, but when Senator Pearce says that he has dealt with, and been a strong advocate of this class of legislation before some of us were ever seen in this chamber, I retort, very truthfully and indisputably,’ that myself and several others were very strong advocates of such legislation long before he was heard of.
– I do not dispute that at all, but I intend to object every time to the honorable senator endeavouring to put me in a false position.
– I made no effort to place anybody in a false position. J simply made the very broad statement that the arguments of Senator McGregor appeared to me to furnish strong reasons why the policy of excluding alien races should be abolished. His remarks conveyed that impression to my mind, but probably mv dullness of comprehension may be to blame for not enabling me to perceive his purpose in addressing them to the Senate.
– Any one is to blame who tries to score off a “pal.”
– We ought to guard very jealously the law which we enacted to protect ourselves from an incursion bv coloured aliens. In rn- opinion we have only endeavoured to do a fair thing by ourselves. The ‘ provision in the Sugar Bounties Act proves clearly that the aim of the Parliament was to prevent such persons enjoying equal rights with white people. If it is a good principle to embody in a measure dealing with the use of land and so forth, there is no reason why it should not be embodied in every measure relating to coloured persons. I trust sincerely that the Committee in its wisdom will adopt the amendment.
– I rise to remind those who are in favour of this amendment that the main charge against White Australians in connexion with our White Australia policy is that it is inhuman, lt is continually hurled against us that we are not fraternal, that we are cruel and brutal in our determination to keep our coloured brethren from this splendid continent. We have urged, I think with justice, that there are strong economical grounds, for our legislation, and that we have no feeling of antipathy to the Chinese or the Japanese, or any other coloured men. We would be glad to see them happy and comfortable, but we hope that it will be in their own country. We have made provision for some of these people who we think now should not come to this country, although they certainly came here under the encouragement of our laws. If we feel no personal antipathy to them, but are influenced simply by economic considerations, we ought to treat justly those who are here, and who were encouraged to come by our laws, and to whom we have extended the rights of citizenship - we should say that these, at any rate, so long as they live shall receive such kindly treatment as we extend to our own citizens.
– It is not proposed to take away any privileges which they now possess, but to give them something more.
– I understand that clearly. The proposal in the Bill is to grant an old-age pension to those whom we consider aliens, but whom we permitted to come here and become citizens as well as to natural-born citizens. In any case the provision can only operate for a very few years. We should remove the reproach that we are brutal and cruel to these coloured people.
– We are. not proposing to close upon them the doors of benevolent asylums.
– No. Last night it was urged very strongly that we should extend the provisions of the Bill even to the inmates of benevolent asylums hut we did not find it expedient to do so. We mav have been wrong in coming to that decision, but, at any rate, we should see that doors outside such institutions are not closed on these fellow - citizens of ours. These persons, if they have honestly observed our laws have co-operated with us in building up this country, and we ought to treat them just as kindly and considerately as we do our own people. We ought to lay down in our legislation the principle of which we so often prate, that we would not even allow a dog to die in agony.
– What has a dog dying in agony to do with this question ?
– Not much, except by way of illustration. But seeing that we would not allow even a dog to die in agony, we ought certainly not to permit a man, simply because he happens to be a member of a race with which we do not fraternize, to die in agony. In order that we may be strong in preaching the maintenance of a White Australia, and that we may be able to show that that policy is not prompted by racial antipathy, but by sound economic principles, I think that the proposal of Senator Stewart should be resisted.
– I do not know whether Senator Trenwith understands that the principle which is contended for by Senator Stewart has been accepted by the Government.
– I rise to a point of order. The honorable senator has stated that the Government have acccepted the principle which is contended for by Senator Stewart. I claim that they have not done so.
– That is not a point of order.
– I’ suppose that the Vice-President of the Executive Council represents the Government in this chamber?
– And he distinctly stated that he did not accept that principle on behalf of the Government.
- Senator Trenwith 9 chief objection to the proposal of Senator Stewart is based upon the ground of humanity. Since we have granted coloured Asiatics within the Commonwealth certain rights he contends that we should confer upon them full citizenship rights. Senator Givens has just quoted an Act which was passed at the instance of a previous Deakin Government - which Senator Trenwith sup-» ported - and which provides that irrespective of whether coloured persons are naturalbom subjects of the King or naturalized subjects, there are certain rights which they cannot claim. For instance, the sugar bounty cannot be claimed bv these people. It was pointed out to the Administration in question that a Chinaman was leasing land and employing white labour on his plantation’ in order that he might be able to claim the sugar bounty.
– It was not whitegrown sugar.
– It was. The Chinaman was simply the lessee of the property. The Deakin Government declined to grant to these aliens all the rights of citizenship. Senator Trenwith has argued that we ought not to allow coloured Asiatics to die in agony. We do not propose to do that. Such persons are usually provided for in our benevolent asylums. What we believe is that we ought not to hold out any inducement to them to remain here, when otherwise they might return to their- native land. At the present time there is a strong agitation in progress on one of the northern rivers of New ‘South Wales, because a Hindoo has succeeded in securing by ballot the best selection which was available, in opposition to all the white applicants. As soon as the people there recognised that Hindoos were just as likely as themselves to succeed in acquiring the best areas available, they thought it was time that their “black brother,” to whom reference has been made, was excluded.
– I did not speak of coloured Asiatics as my “black brethren.”
– I do not regard them as brothers at all. In the course of his remarks, Senator Pearce declared that I had charged him with being opposed to the White Australia policy. I did nothing of the sort. While he was speaking I interjected that that policy was the policy of the party with which he is associated. I suppose that he supported that policy before he was elected to the Senate. It must have been the policy in which he believes, or he would not have signed the pledge which is exacted from candidates by the Labour party. After having signed that pledge, he fulfilled upon the floor of this chamber the promise which he had given to the electors of Western Australia and to the Labour party. That is the position. I was fighting for a White Australia Jong before Senator Pearce took any part in the battle. That is no credit to me. It is simply due to the fact that I am an older man.
– Nobody would object to that statement. What I resented was the insinuation that we were insincere in our advocacy of a White Australia.
– I made no such insinuation.
– The honorable senator’s words certainly conveyed the meaning which Senator Pearce attaches to them.
– They did nothing of the sort, and when they appear in print I am satisfied that they will be found not to do so. Senator Pulsford stated that we owe a great deal to the Chinamen, and in this connexion he instanced the services which they have rendered to the mining industry.
– To miners.
– I should like to know what they have done for miners?
– Supplied them with vegetables.
– In spite o’f the law which operates in Queensland, the Government of that State has had to resort to a subterfuge to keep the Chinese off certain gold-fields. Hitherto the practice has been to proclaim a gold-field for a certain period, at the end of which Chinamen were entitled to enter and work upon it. The method which has been devised to get rid of them is to keep on issuing a new proclamation immediately upon the expiry of the old one. That is what is being done there to-day. The same practice has been adopted in reference to Hindoos, who constitute the worst class of coloured labour that has ever set foot in Australia. Those who were responsible for their introduction, realize the accuracy of my statement to-day. The Hindoos are born traders. They are able to engage in all sorts of distributing occupations, and that is why they have such a bad name everywhere they are well known. They are not known to any great extent in Victoria.
– There are about 1, 200 of them here, I think.
– But in the northern parts of New South Wales and Queensland we have had considerable experience of them, and it is on account of that experience that we have no desire to hold out to them the slightest inducement to remain here, when they might otherwise feel inclined to return to their homes.
– The point which really seems to affect this question is that which was raised by Senator Gould and some honorable senators opposite “with whom I am in perfect agreement. The issue is one of abstract justice, as opposed to considerations of policy. Now, the Commonwealth has adopted a certain definite policy in regard to maintaining a White Australia, in the carrying out of which small matters of abstract justice have not been permitted to stand in the way. The question of policy is, to my mind, the bigger one. Senator Givens has cited an instance under the Sugar Bounties Act, which shows how vigorously that policy is insisted upon, even though absolute injustice may be inflicted under it.
– On the . Johnstone River, a Chinaman was forced to sell out as the result of that policy.
– I am not referring to that instance, but to the case of a British subject who was originally a man-of-warsman. He came to Australia many years ago, he married here, and today exercises a vote, not only in municipal but also in State elections. . Except for the shade of his complexion, he is just the same as every white man. He employs white labour only on his sugar plantation, and yet he is not permitted to participate in the sugar bounty. That is a case in which an absolute injustice is being done under our White Australia policy. In the same way our Invald and Old-age Pensions Act does not place everybody upon an equal footing. As a matter of fact, it does not even place our own men and women upon the same footing. Yet Commonwealth statistics show that women live longer in Australia than do men, and according to that line of reasoning, the latter ought to be eligible to receive pensions before, and not after, the former. Consequently, I say that a good deal of sacrifice of abstract justice has to be made on account of considerations of policy.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I have given one illustration of the injustice that may be done in individual cases when we are carrying out a general policy. Another one which I may cite occurred when it was decided to deport kanakas from Queensland. I do not say that a great number were not properly deported, but in individual cases men who had lived in this country, and had wives and families here, were compelled to go away.- In those instances, mere abstract justice in one or two individual cases had to give way before the more important question of carrying out the general policy of the country. The real issue is, whether the amount of injustice that may be done is sufficient to warrant us in abrogating our policy to a certain extent.
If we decide to give pensions to naturalized coloured aliens, they will have to be given not only to Asiatics. The scope of the clause as it stands goes further.
– The clause is either too wide or not wide enough.
– Exactly. I agree with ray honorable friend. If coloured people know that when they reach a certain age they will receive pensions, it seems perfectly clear that we offer them an inducement to remain here rather than to go back to their native country, where the would not get pensions. Cases have occurred where Chinese have come into Australia with faked papers, or papers which have been bought from men who have gone back to China. Chinamen have paid as much as £80 or £100 to come to Australia. If they are content to do that, surely there would be a greater inducement for them to come if they knew that they would receive pensions on reaching a certain age. There are two distinct directions in which the granting of pensions to coloured people will affect our national policy. It will tend to keep men here who would otherwise clear out, and it will induce Asiatics to obtain falsified papers with the object of coming to Australia. It must be remembered also that this Bill, when passed, will not be immutable. It can be altered. If we find that injustice is being done, and we have reason to believe that an alteration would not affect the national policy -of Australia, there is nothing to prevent Parliament from altering the law, and putting it on a broader basis. At present, we have no information as to the number of coloured people likely to be affected by this measure. We do not know whether a large number of Asiatics will be affected or not. We have been told that there are many coloured people in Australia who are just as good as white men. But that is not a sufficient reason for deliberately adopting the principle of granting pensions to Asiatics who have been naturalized, unless we have evidence as to the amount of injustice that will be done by not granting pensions to them. Another point that has struck me is that, if I understand the naturalization laws at all, a coloured man who becomes naturalized in Great Britain is a British subject throughout the Empire. Take the case of a Japanese who goes to Great Britain, and becomes naturalized there. Suppose that he chooses to emigrate to Australia. ,
– Can he?
– If he has been educated in the Old Country, and can pass the education test, I presume that he can.
– The honorable senator knows that the education test is put in such a way that an Asiatic cannot pass it.
– Surely we are not going to use our law as a trick to prevent people coming here who have as good an education as ourselves. In the first Parliament I remember a question was asked as to whether some Poles who could speak their own language well could come to Australia under the Immigration Restriction Act. A Minister in another place said “ We will put questions to them in Spanish. !: I do not think that we desire to adopt a subterfuge to keep people out.
– Australia was compelled by the Imperial Government to adopt a subterfuge.
– The idea of the education test is that immigrants shall be decently and well educated in our language.
– It was adopted as a subterfuge at the instance of the Imperial authorities.
– The idea also was that the economic condition of this country shall not be lowered by the immigration of ignorant Asiatics.
– The immigration legislation of this country was in the first instance constructed on the colour line. But the British authorities refused to agree to it, and gave us the hint to adopt the Natal system.
– But I do not think that my honorable friend will deny that if an Asiatic was naturalized in Great Britain and was able to pass a reasonable education test, he would be likely to be refused admission.
– He would not be likely to be allowed to land.
– At any rate, I think it undesirable that we should adopt the clause as it stands. To put the matter plainly, policy must come first and justice must come afterwards.
– What ! Policy before justice?
– Is the honorable senator’s policy abstract justice first of all for one or two individuals at the expense of the whole country ?
– “Let justice be done though the Heavens fall !”
– That is one of those nice general observations which sound so well. But the general policy of this country must be considered first of all. It is not our business to sacrifice our general policy in order to do individual justice in a few cases. If we are to be guided by considerations of justice, let us do justice to ourselves first of all.
– I have listened with much surprise and more regret to the statement of .the VicePresident of the Executive Council, that he proposes to go back on his vote yesterday on account of a consideration which I can only describe as of a very minute character. The legislation which stands on our statutebook in regard to immigration restriction constitutes in itself a reason for Asiatics remaining in the country. It is a premium on residence in Australia, and from that point of view the Exclusion Act itself was a mistake. But I wish to appeal to honorable senators, not only on local grounds, but on broader and larger grounds, affecting the whole Empire. To use Senator McGregor’s words, I appeal to them in the interests of justice, which is dear to all British born people. I hold in my hand one or two cuttings which I should like to quote. Honorable senators are aware that there was for some time considerable uncertainty and difficulty in England with regard to the way in which our exclusion legislation should be dealt with. But it has been definitely announced that Great Britain will support our laws. They have been recognised by the Imperial authorities. The Royal assent has been given to them. The Imperial Government have now gone further, and have made a sort of appeal to us that, as they are doing all they can to support us, we at least ought to do nothing to increase their difficulties. On the 31st July last year Colonel Seely, the Parliamentary UnderSecretary for the Colonies, speaking in the House of Commons on a motion of adjournment, admitted that the Asiatic question in the Colonies was overwhelmingly important. He said -
The whole future of the Empire depended upon the present steps, and a false move might shatter it. Great Britain ought not to adopt a superior tone towards the Colonies, with whom the question was more acute than here.
Great Britain is recognising the Australian position -
We were bound to admit, Colonel Seely said, that the self-governing Colonies could exclude whom they would, and we could not interfere, but certain principles might be laid down. If immigrants were admitted they must sooner or later be given civil rights. They must be admitted free or not at all. If the self-governing Colonies sought to exclude British subjects owing to economic reasons, to prevent wages being cut or because climatic conditions or social antipathy causing riots, they ought at any rate* to treat with the utmost generosity the coloured immigrants already there. The Imperial Government asked for that treatment for them and had been met by Canada in the friendliest spirit. He was confident that the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa would show the same spirit, realizing as they would the necessity of mutual forbearance.
The appeal which Colonel Seely made to the Government of Australia on that occasion I bring to the notice of my honorable friend the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I think it far outweighs in broad and deep significance any possible risk that may be run from the slight tendency to which Senator Stewart has drawn attention. I wish also to draw attention to some remarks made by Lord Milner.
– Who is he?
– I very much doubt whether an honorable senator who wants to know who Lord Milner is is competent to speak upon a great Empire topic.
– Look at the mess he made in South Africa.
– Pitying the honorable senator’s ignorance, let me inform him that Lord Milner was for a long time British Governor-General in South Africa. Speaking about the middle of June of last year, and addressing the members of the Royal Colonial Institute on the better organization of the Empire, he said-
Besides closer union and co-operation with the self-governing Colonies, another object was the retention and development of the dependent Empire, India, which will probably always be the greatest of our Possessions. Holding that we should interest the self-governing States in the dependent Empire’s affairs, Lord Milner instanced the attitude of the Colonies towards the coloured races as one of the dangers due to Colonial acquaintance with the dependent Empire being so limited.
I direct attention to that statement, and suggest that some of the speeches to which we listened yesterday and to-day are due to a non-recognition of the essentials that go to unity of the Empire, and of the desirability of our being prepared to give way on slight matters in recognition of the way in which we have been met. We are not expected by the Imperial Government to undo our White Australia legislation. They have placed the power of the Empire at the back of it. But they ask us to recognise the Empire’s difficulties, and to facilitate in any way we can the great work they have to do in governing an Empire such as. because of its complexity, the world never before saw.
– If it is right, we should do it whether the British Government desire it or not.
– Decidedly. I am putting it now on the ground of policy. I have already put it as a matter of justice. I have said that the justice of the proposal should be its strongest recommendation to support, but I ask honorable senators not to forget the possibilities and probabilities of the future. I ask them not to forget that, although the Chinese may now be considered a backward race, in a few years’ time it is probable that they will not be so backward. I doubt whether they will ever become as powerful and progressive as are the Japanese, but I am sure that they will become stronger and more progressive than they are to-day. There should be nothing in our treatment of Chinese, or other Asiatics, to which they can reasonably object. We have a perfect right to say who shall inhabit Australia, but when people have been admitted to this country and have become citizens of the Empire, we have no right to treat them as inferior to ourselves. A great writer observed some time ago that there was no- test of the civilization of a people like that of the way in which they treated the strangers in their midst. I ask honorable senators to take a big view of this matter, and not to be influenced by the insignificant considerations Senator Stewart has put before them today. I see bv the statistics of New South Wales that even since the last census, there has been an outflow of Chinese from that State to the extent of about 400 per year. That has been the excess of departure’s over arrivals.
– Where did they go?
– They went out of Australia.
– Does the return show that they went out of Australia, or only that they went out of New South Wales-?
– The honorable senator can see the return for himself. There is every year a distinct movement outwards on the part of these people, and the number of Chinese and -other Asiatics in the Commonwealth is decreasing. Therefore, the fear with which Senator Stewart is possessed is one which ought not to frighten an infant, much less a full grown man. Senator Turley told us that he was not prepared to look upon an Asiatic as his brother.
– Not here. He is right enough in his own country.
– It does not matter whether he is in his own country or not. “A man’s a man for a’ that,” and I, for one, am prepared always to consider him as such, and when he is in Australia, and under our laws, to treat him as a brother. Senator McColl said that it is too late to take the Empire view. I am sorry the honorable senator is not now present, because I should like to tell him that it is not too late. He was really referring to the position as it existed many years ago, and which we are not now asked to consider, because the position we have taken up in the matter of the exclusion of coloured races has been recognised, and is sustained by the might of the British Empire. But we are asked to do what is fair and reasonable in small matters. That is all that I ask the Committee to do. It was with that object in view that I moved my amendment yesterday. I have always been prepared to give credit and honour where they are due. For years, I have had correspondence with the various Governments in Australia about the treatment of shipwrecked coloured men, and I recognise with thankfulness that when a Labour Government was in power, Mr. Batchelor, as Minister of External Affairs, issued a minute of instruction to all Customs House officers throughout Australia that in case of any shipwreck, the utmost care should be given to coloured people, and that they must not, because of the terms of our immigration restriction legislation, be subjected to any offensive unpleasantness. .
– Were they not alwayswell treated?
– No ; they were not. Mr. Batchelor issued his minute when the Clan Alpine was wrecked. Honorable senators from South Australia will have a vivid recollection of that occasion, when some thirty or forty unfortunate lascars were drowned on the shores of that State. A certain number were saved, and” before Mr. Batchelor’s telegram could be received, the Customs officials in South Australia had pounced on the survivors, and had taken their hand-prints. That was an unfortunate occurrence, of which all Australians might well be -ashamed. I have, for years, been corresponding with the various Governments insisting that something should be done in this matter. Mr. Batchelor did it, and I give credit to him, and to the Labour Government, of which he was a member, for it. I also give credit 10 the same honorable gentleman, and to Labour members who supported him, in carrying his amendment in another place. I sincerely trust that the Committee will not go back on what they did yesterday.
– It has been said that the proposal now before the Committee for reconsideration would, in some way, affect the principle of a White Australia. Whatever opinions we may hold on the merits of the proposal, I venture to say that it would not in the slightest degree affect that principle. The views expressed by some honorable senators opposite in support of the contention that a naturalized Asiatic should be given the same advantages as a natural-born British subject of the white race, are creditable to their sense both of humanity and justice. The arguments they have addressed to the Committee have been such that I freely confess they have caused my judgment to waver, and though I intend to adhere to the vote I gave last night, I shall do so with some indecision. One reason why I intend to adhere to the judgment I formed last night is that I have felt compelled to make a distinction in regard to our own people. I have felt that a distinction should be drawn between the European. British, or Australia-born woman, who, as a widow, has by her own unaided efforts, brought up a family properly, and a widower who has done the same thing. I have felt that if the man should be entitled to an old-age pension at sixty, the woman in such a case might very well be paid the pension at fifty-five or fifty.
– How did the honorable senator vote on that question?
– I voted against the proposal made, but, having been compelled to recognise such a distinction, I say that we are entitled to consider our position with regard to the naturalized Asiatics amongst us. We are entitled to say to the naturalized Asiatics what we have said to a deserving class of women : “ We are not cutting you out altogether, but are giving you an intimation that, although at present we are unable to extend the benefits of this legislation to you, should our finances become more elastic, and the question arise for reconsideration, we shall be able to consider the justice of your claim.” Senator
Pulsford is a strong Imperialist, and has a very strong sense of justice. He considers it somewhat of a reflection from an Imperial and national point of view that we should not give a naturalized Asiatic the same privileges as we are prepared to give to our own people. I do not take that view. If complaint were made on the subject by the authorities in China or Japan, the answer would lae a very strong one. It would be: “We are not permanently shutting out our naturalized Asiatic subjects, whether they came originally from China or Japan. If they are to be excluded at all, they are to be excluded, not by reason of their colour or skin, but by reason of the state of our finances, and the fact ‘that we have treated a number of our own people quite as severely.” I ask honorable senators to contrast that position with the position of Europeans or Britishers who may have been naturalized in Japan or China. If the Governments of those countries were to resent our decision on this occasion, we could retort by asking, “ Have you ever contemplated making similar provision for persons who may become Japanese or Chinese subjects?” They, have made no attempt in that direction. We shall always be in a position to candidly say to the Japanese authorities, “ Our legislation is no insult to or reflection upon your race. The state of .our finances did not permit us to do all that we desired.” I believe that under more favorable conditions this Parliament will give earnest consideration to a claim of this kind. For these reasons, I adhere to the vote I gave last night.
– The fact that this discussion has resulted in the conversion of a few honorable senators is a strong justification for the time which has been occupied. I feel quite sure that if this question is regarded from’ a broad Australian stand-point, it will be recognised that whatever we may do in the future, at the present moment and under existing circumstances it would be a very grave mistake to extend our pension.list in the direction proposed. We have been told that it cannot be extended in other directions, owing to the want of funds. We have been unable to grant a pension in much more deserving cases. Seeing that we have been unable to confer a boon in the most deserving cases which have been brought under our attention, I cannot understand why we should hesitate to deal in exactly the same way with the least deserving cases.
We are assured that it is necessary to be economical. If that is so, let us be consistent, and say that we have already placed on the pension-list as many persons as we can afford to provide for, and that, therefore, it cannot at present be further enlarged. Senator Pulsford has dealt with this question from the Imperial stand-point. If the opinion of Lord Milner should carry as much weight as he seems to think it should, I ask him to consider the opinion of a much greater man. and that is Herbert Spencer, the great political economist. He dealt with this question practically from the stand-point of to-day. As a Britisher, who was asked to tender advice to the Japanese, he advised them, for the sake of their nationality and their welfare, to extend as few privileges as possible to the Europeans. He pointed out the national danger to the Japanese if they acted contrary to his advice. He urged that once the Europeans were allowed to obtain a grip upon their country it would be a case of good-bye to their national independence. He assured the Japanese that their national safety would depend to a great extent upon the keeping of their country to themselves.
– They have adopted European ideas.
– Yes, but they have retained the governing power, to a great extent the trading power, and the right of owning land and other powers. If this question is to be regarded from an Imperial stand-point, we might very properly ask Senator Pulsford to tell us what provision China or Japan has made for granting an invalid pension to naturalized subjects. I have not the slightest hint that it is intended to bestow such a privilege upon Europeans in those countries.
– And I have no information that they grant an old-age pension to their own people.
– There is no obligation upon the Australian taxpayers to confer a pension upon Japanese or Chinese in this country.
– It is not proposed to grant a pension to any Chinese or Japanese unless they are naturalized, and then, of course, they are free from the jurisdiction of their own country.
– That is quite true; but 1 am not prepared to give an invalid or old-age pension to a naturalized Chinaman. He still belongs to his own race. He remains the same menace to us as though he had never been naturalized.
– He would be just the same whether he got a pension or not.
– From the national stand-point it makes no difference whether an Asiatic is naturalized or not. We are under no obligation to extend our pension-list in this direction. All this talk about doing justice is only so much nonsense. We are not asking that any injustice should be done to Asiatics.
– They contribute to the revenue the same as other persons do.
– They can live on much less than can other persons, and, therefore,- they contribute in a much smaller ratio to the public revenue. Our various asylums and hospitals are open to these persons. We do not seek to take away from them any privilege which they now enjoy. What we contend is that no additional privilege should be granted to them. That I hold is the proper attitude to take up if we are in earnest about our White Australia policy. The maintenance of that policy is a foremost plank in the Labour platform, so that whenever a question of this kind is submitted for our consideration it should receive our determined opposition.
– Will the honorable senator tell us how the White Australia policy is affected by this proposal?
– By the fact that it will encourage Asiatics to remain in the Commonwealth. Would the honorable senator propose the repeal of certain factory legislation in order to encourage these persons to remain in this State? If he wants to place the Japanese on the same basis as the European furniture-maker let him propose the repeal of that legislation.
– The honorable senator knows that I would not desire to do anything of the kind.
– Then, how can the honorable senator support a provision to give an additional privilege to these people? We are not trying to withdraw an existing privilege, but adhering to the principle which governed previous legislation. I ask Senator Pearce if he would propose to repeal the law which prevents Chinese from going upon the gold-fields of Western Australia. I do not believe that he would propose to do anything of the kind. It is inconsistent with our restrictive legislation to put the Chinese on the same basis as our own people.
– The honorable senator is reasoning that if a pension is not authorized, every Chinaman who attains the age of sixty-five, years will make for China as fast as ever he can.
– I have dealt with that question several times, and it is not necessary to repeat what I said. I submit that both from the Labour standpoint and the Imperial stand-point, it is wrong to depart from the principle which underlies our White Australia policy.
– I desire to compliment Senators McGregor, Pearce, Findley, Gould, and Pulsford upon what I consider honest, good speeches, from the point of view I take up. I was particularly pleased with Senator McGregor’s exceedingly able and kindly allusions to the Chinese.
– Does the honorable senator mean that other speakers were not honest ?
– I said that from my point of view those speakers were honest. I am not going to asperse those who may differ from me. I am satisfied that, if the Bill be retained in its present form, it will not interfere with the White Australia policy which h.v been adopted by the Commonwealth. When a man becomes a naturalized subject, he ought to have conferred upon him full rights of citizenship. If I were to go to France and become naturalized, I should expect to exercise the same rights of citizenship as a natura l-bom Frenchman. We know perfectly well that Mr. Higginson, who took a great interest in the South Sea Islands, particularly in the New Hebrides, became a naturalized Frenchman and enjoyed the same rights of citizenship ‘ as the natural born Frenchman. I repeat that when a person becomes a naturalized subject he ought to be treated in all respects as one of ourselves. In the course of his remarks Senator McColl -referred to America, and to the great danger which obtains there. I hold that America and Australia occupy entirely different positions. There is no analogy between them. In America slaves were imported from South Africa for many decades. Have we ever done anything of that kind ?
– Have we not?
– We had indented labour in Queensland for forty-one years.
– What about the black-birding in Queensland ?
– That was stopped by the authorities immediately it was discovered. As an old Queenslander, I saythat when the census was taken there, after forty-one years’ experience of indented labour, only forty-one half-caste whites were accounted for, though there were 141 children of aborigines and South Sea Islanders.
– I could count twice that number in the aboriginal colony at North Rockhampton.
– To compare Australia with America is simply absurd. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were introduced into the latter country, and were not allowed to return to their homes. Senator Lynch has laid great stress upon the word “ aliens.” I wonder whether he recognises that we are aliens here. Australia was originally a black man’s country
– We are all naturalized now.
– There are about 100,000 aboriginal natives in the Commonwealth to-day.
– Why not grant aboriginal natives the benefit that would flow from this particular clause?
– The natives of South Africa include, by descent, the American negroes, whereas we Australians are of European origin. ‘We are not Australians in the sense that are the aboriginal natives. I think that the views entertained by Senator Pulsford deserve every consideration at our hands. We are part of the British Empire, and we ought not to embarrass . the Imperial authorities by legislation of this kind. To argue that, because of the accident of colour a naturalized subject ought to be treated as if he were not a human being, is ridiculous. When a man becomes naturalized, he should enjoy the full rights of citizenship.
– The law says that he must not.
– The law of every country says that he must not. In the United States and in England naturalized subjects do not enjoy the same rights as do native-born subjects.
– Did not Senator. Walker support the Sugar Bounty Act of 1905 ?
– I hope that that Act will be knocked on the head very quickly. At the present time we are paying something like , £1,200,000 per annum in order to encourage a fad which prevents certain coloured men being employed in Australia.
– Under that legislation, coloured labourers are not granted full rights of citizenship.
– I look upon the question of colour as a mere accident. Howcan the honorable senator or myself claim any credit for the fact that we are white? We had nothing to do with the matter. I think there are certain laws which we ought to obey, and one of them is, “ All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you do ye even so to them.” I defy anybody to say that we would like to be treated in the way in which it is proposed to treat coloured Asiatics.
– I am not going to discuss the merits-
SenatorFraser. - I have been waiting all day to discuss this question.
– I do not intend to deal with the merits or demerits of the question from the stand-point of a White Australia, because that aspect of it has been very fully discussed. I merely wish to make a brief reference to the remarks of Senator Pulsford, ‘ to whose eloquent address I listened very attentively. He certainly made a splendid speech, but, unconsciously, he misled the Committee in regard to some figures which he quoted from the Statistical Register of New South Wales. In this connexion he stated that about 400 Chinese had gone away from that State yearly. Senator Turley and myself asked him where they had gone, but he did not reply. Apparently he desired the Committee to believe that they had left Australia. But the publication from which he quoted does not bear out that contention. It simply shows that in 1907 the excess of departures of Chinese from New South Wales over arrivals was 553. There is nothing to the effect that these Chinese returned to China.
– The officials tell us that a large decrease has taken place there.
– The New South Wales Statistician merely says that there has been an excess of departures of Chinese from New South Wales over arrivals of 55.V
– For the five months ended May last, the departures from Australia exceeded the arrivals by 405.
– I recognise that I made a mistake in quoting the figures in question, and I intend to supply the Committee with the figures for all Australia, which will better suit my purpose.
– I thank the honorable senator for his statement. I do not imagine that he had the slightest intention of misleading the Committee.
– The statistics which I have obtained for a shorter period than that which was referred to by Senator Pearce just now, show that for the first three months of the present year the excess of departures over arrivals, including all coloured nationalities, was 347.
– It was 405 up till May last.
– An excess of 347 for a period of three months is equivalent to, approximately, an excess of 1,400 for twelve months.
– I merely wish to remind honorable senators that there is still another amendment to be disposed of, and, as we are all anxious to see this Bill become law at as early a date as possible, I invite them to terminate this discussion, in order that we may complete our consideration of this portion of the measure to-day.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be’ left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 13A -
Section 21 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words -in sub-section (1) paragraph (b) - “Asiatics (except those born in Australia) or,” and “Africa, the Islands of the Pacific, or New Zealand.”
– I move -
That the clause be left out.
The amendment which I propose is consequential on the one which the Committee has already adopted.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill reported with further amendments.
– I desire to ask the assistance of the Senate in expediting this Bill, by agreeing to the adoption of the report and 1 the third reading to-day. For that purpose, it will be necessary for me to move the suspension of the Standing Orders. Honorable senators will understand that there are certain claims that cannot be dealt with by the proper authorities until this Bill be- comes law. It is with a view of saving a few days, and extending as early as possible the operation of the measure to those who will be benefited under it, that I move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining, stages without
– I must object to the report being adopted to-day.
– The Standing Orders provide that -
In case of urgent necessity any Standing or Sessional Order or Order of the Senate may be suspended on motion duly moved and seconded, without notice : provided that such motion is carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of senators.
Question put. The Senate divided.
Majority …… 26
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
– During the passage of this Bill through Committee, I have been quiescent ; and I now desire to place upon record my reasons far not interposing in the debate. The Old-age Pensions Act is only just coming into operation, and we do not know exactly what the financial burden will be. My desire was that we should keep the Act as it is at present, with the exception of the alterations which the Government have proposed, in order that we might see exactly how it works. No doubt we shall have toamend it in the future. Possibly we shall be able to extend its operation, and eventually pass a consolidated measure. The amendments that have been proposed by various senators would, I think, taken together, have brought up the total expenditure under the Old-age Pensions Act to something like£3,000,000 per annum. It seems to me that that would be a burden which would be too great for us to undertake immediately. For that reason, I have opposed the various amendments submitted, and so far as I could, have assisted” to keep the Bill intact, so that we ought get some experience of the working of the Act ; and later, as the result of that experience, might amend it in any way that seemed desirable.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Senate adjourned at 3.31 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 August 1909, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1909/19090806_senate_3_50/>.