7th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Can the VicePresident of the Executive Council inform me what isthe decision of the Government on my request that soldiers’ pensions be exempted from income tax ?
– A Bill to amend the Income Tax Act or the War Pensions Act - I am not certain which Act - will be introduced to exempt from income tax the pensions referred to.
– Has the Leader of the Senate noticed that the British Government have deleted from the Munitions Bill before the House of Commons the clause referring to the dilution of labour in munition work as reported in this morning’s cablegram? Will the Commonwealth Government follow the good example of the British Government, and delete dilution of labour from the conditions governing the proposed shipbuilding scheme, and so avoid industrial unrest?
– My reading of the cablegram was that the proposal to delete was only so far as private employers are concerned, and not with regard, to Governmentcontrolled establishments .
– Has the Leader of the Senate observed the following public statement by the Dean of Sydney, the Very Rev. A. E. Talbot-
He was of opinion that there had been a breach of faith with the workers, that a promise had been made that the conditions of work should not be altered. He was just as ready to believe the workers as the Government and the Commissioners. If the Government had a right to introduce any system it liked into its shops, then the workers had an equal right to object and call any such system unjust. The Senate would be well advised to urge upon both parties -the need of a compromise. It ought to show appreciation of the manner in which the men were conducting themselves-
– Order? The honorable senaitor is transgressing the practice of the Senate by reading a long extract from a newspaper. He should direct attention to the statement, and base a question upon it.
– I ask the Minister whether he has seen this statement ; also whether, in view of this and similar impartial statements, he does not think it is time for the Government to intervene and stop as far as possible the warring elements in New South Wales, and end the evil which is obtaining there?
– I have seen the paragraph referred to. It deals with a matter in dispute between the Government of New South Wales and a number of its employees. I suggest to my honorable friend that he should forwardthe newspaper cutting to the State Government.
– Has the Minister for Defence yet received officially the resolution which was passed at a meeting of delegates from the Recruiting Comr mittees ofNew South Wales regarding the treatment of interned Germans, such treatment militating, in their opinion, against recruiting in that State?
– No. I have not yet received the resolution.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, wpon notice -
What amount to date has been credited to members of stock exchanges as commission or brokerage in connexion with Australian war loans ?
– £58,822 17s. lOd. This amount represents commission at the rate of 5s. per cent. on subscriptions totalling £23,529,200. Commission is paid only on applications lodged through brokers. The total amount of subscriptions to the War Loans is £80,053,610.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 16th August, vide page 1128) :
Clause 69 -
1 ) Whosoever……. shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty : Ten pounds…..
Upon which Senator Ferricks had moved -
That the following new paragraph be inserted - “(e) knowingly gives or offers to an employeee, without the written consent of the Commissioner, u gratuity for personal services rendered.”
– Those who have travelled in Europe and America frequently assure us that tipping, more particularly perhaps in Europe, has been reduced to a fine art. Employees in certain industries have, we .are told, not only to depend entirely for their remuneration upon the tips they receive, but in some cases they are obliged to pay a premium to their employers for lie privilege of keeping their respective positions. I do not know whether that statement is quite in accordance with fact. But when traveller after traveller assures me that such is the case, I think it may be regarded as substantially correct. If that is so it is a most unsatisfactory position.
– Nowhere is the evil worse than it ig in Melbourne.
– An employee should receive his wages directly from his employer, and should not be obliged to depend for his living upon the goodwill of those whom he may have to attend.
– It is not always goodwill, either.
– It may not be always good-will; but, as a matter of fact, tipping is such an established practice that it is submitted to by a very considerable section of the travelling public. Those travellers who are so wealthy that the scattering of a few pounds here and there is of no importance to them are able to get an unfair pull over other travellers who cannot afford to do that. The employees render services for which, they ought to be paid directly by their employers, irrespective of whether travellers are wealthy or otherwise. Tipping is an evil which is assuming substantial proportions in Australia. We are assured by Senator Guthrie that nowhere in the world is the evil worse than it is in Melbourne. It does not matter whether it is quite so bad in Melbourne as it is in Marseilles or elsewhere. Most honorable senators, I suppose, will be prepared to admit that the evil does exist here, and it is probably growing. We have now an opportunity to stamp out the evil so far as the Railways Commissioner is concerned. It might be somewhat difficult to prevent some employees from taking gratuities, but if the giver of a tip were made liable to a moderate fine of £10 and the fine were inflicted with a fair degree of regularity, I venture to say that in the very near future the evil would become a thing of the past as regards the Railway Service. It is most unfair that the Railways Commissioner should be invited, as he will be invited unless we * carry this amendment, to pay his employees a lesser wage than they otherwise would be able to secure from him. That in my opinion is one of the effects of the existence of the tipping system. It was mentioned here quite recently that one Judge in the Arbitration Court informed the employers that they need not pay the minimum rates demanded, that they could make allowance for the extra money which the employees would drag out of the travelling public. ‘.That is a position in which no Australian workman should be placed. He ought to be taught to stand up for his salary in the same way as shearers do. When the shearers go into a shed they are not welcomed exactly with open arms by the squatter. They merely glare at each other. The squatter will say, “ Well, you are back again.” “ Yes,” the shearers will reply, “ we are back again.” The squatter will then say, “ Take the wool off the sheep.” The wool is taken off; the shearers get their remuneration and disappear. That is the proper attitude for employers and employees to adopt toward each other. The employee should do his work efficiently, and the employer should pay him the wages that are due to him.
The idea of attaching superannuation and other allowances to positions is a wrong one. Such allowances are granted only to induce employees to submit to injustice. I am glad to know that the idea of attaching funeral and sick allowances to trade organizations is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
– There is a fund of that description in connexion with the Australian Workers Union.-
– The Australian Workers Union endeavours to collect as much money as it can each year, and spend it in the interests of the members of the organizations during that year. I repeat that in times gone by, trade societies attached to their membership funeral benefits and sick allowances. These things, however, are rapidly being dispensed with. Today the members of trade societies expect to be paid the full value of their labour in current coin.
– And when they are sick they get nothing.
– There is a proper way of making provision for sickness. The members of these organizations can join friendly societies.- But in all the States, it is a breach of the law to attach to trade organizations such benefits as funeral and sick allowances. In New South Wales any trade organization which offers those benefits cannot be registered.
I recognise thatthe vote which has already been taken upon the question of tipping may be regarded by some honorable senators as determining the vote that will be taken upon the amendment which we are now discussing. But I would point out that the two cases are quite different. In the first instance, we were dealing with the employees on our railways, whereas we are now dealing with the wealthy traveller, who, apparently, does not know what to do with his money. I trust that the Committee will support the amendment of Senator Ferricks, so that our Railways Commissioner will realize that we do not want any of the Chinese methods of raising revenue introduced here. We want him to pay our railway employees a fair wage in current coin without anv expectation on their part that they will be able to supplement that wage from other sources. I object to the Commissioner either directly or indirectly bargaining with his employees with a view to securing the payment of their wages partly from the travelling public. It is up to us to see that our railway employees are not placed in the humiliating position that is occupied by employees in some other Railway Departments. I hope that anybody offering a tip to a railway employee will be fined £10.
– I am amazed at the attitude taken up by Senator Grant in regard to the relationship between employers and employees. Personally, I should like to see the greatest harmony existing between them, and all class consciousness dissipated. If the employees would only corns along and adopt the profit-sharing system, I think that many difficulties with which we are now confronted would probably be solved.
– What is needed is a good stiff land tax to make the honorable senator sit up.
– We have a good stiff land tax in operation already, and the trouble of the honorable senator probably is that he has not to pay a bit on that account himself. I think that this clause has been discussed almost ad nauseum.
– Not in relation to the man who gives the tip.
– We all deplore the tipping system, but I fear that no law which we can enact will be effective in suppressing it. It would be far better for us to pass the Bill quickly, and to allow the tipper and the recipient of a tip to look after themselves.
– I shall vote against the amendment, not because I am not in sympathy with it, but because I know that it is impossible to suppress the tipping evil. If the amendment be carried we shall be simply penalizing the honest employee, and allowing the sneak to get the “ cut.”When I was in London recently this tipping evil absolutely got upon my nerves. It seemed to be all-pervading. I visited an hotel in which a notice was posted “ Tips disallowed.” Any employee accepting a tip will be dismissed.” Naturally, I thought that this was the place for me, and accordingly I shifted my quarters there. But I soon discovered that more tips were given there than were given at the place which I had left. I found that at the breakfast table I was placed on short commons while the man next to me was supplied with a full serve. The explanation was that he had given the waiter atip. It is well known that in the Old Country the railway employees will politely inform you that they do not receive an adequate wage, and are obliged to make up the deficiency in tips. In the barbers’ shops there the employees actually pay so much a year for the right to shave customers, and rely absolutely upon the tips which they receive. The system is a contemptible one, and one which I do not wish to see introduced here. But by adopting the amendment we shall not suppress it. We must strike at the evil in another way. The Minister has promised that tipping will be disallowed under one of the railway by-laws. That promise is good enough for me. When I travel on the railways to-day I follow the practice adopted by other passengers, and tip the employees who render me any service. It has not been shown to me that the insertion of the amendment will accomplish anything more than will the by-law which has been promised by the Minister, and consequently I shall vote against it.
.- When I was in London I stayed at an hotel, at which the announcement appeared on the menu card that any employee accepting a tip would be dismissed. I remained there for some time, and I must confess .that nobody ever approached me for a tip.
– The honorable senator did not take the hint.
– That is not so. I happened to need a little attention outside that of an ordinary guest, and I offered the porter a tip in return for his services. He resented my offer, and I was so astonished that I could not pick up the tip which I had tendered. In that establishment, which contains 1,020 rooms, and accommodates 2,000 persons, the tipping system has been absolutely stamped out. Why cannot a similar system ‘be enforced here ? At any rate we can make an honest attempt to enforce it. When I give a tip I always feel that I am degrading the recipient of it as well as myself. It is quite true that on the railways in England the employees are not paid an adequate wage, and the same remark applies to Ireland. For a penny, or even a half-penny, in Ireland an employee will ‘carry a passenger’s bag up and down the railway station. He will find a seat for the passenger, and touch his cap when the .tip is tendered. It is a scandal that the authorities should permit the existence of this evil. In Australia, too, men employed ‘ upon ‘our coastal steamers have informed me that they had to look to the tips of passengers to enable them to maintain their wives and families in comfort. Where the wages paid are inadequate, tips are justifiable. There are some men who will not render the services for which they are paid until they are tipped.
– Why should the honorable senator have services rendered to him without paying for them ?
– The point is that they have already been paid for in the purchase of the ticket for a journey. In some of the London hotels one man will grasp your umbrella, another your stick, another your hat, and yet another your coat, and will hold on to them until they are tipped. When you have received them , a man will run down to the taxi-cab you have engaged, and will stand there waiting for a tip. Where the wages which men receive amount to only 18s. a week, that kind of thing can be under r stood, because in such cases, the tip is properly regarded as a source of income. I regard the tipping system as derogatory to the men who receive tips, if they are at the same time in receipt of adequate wages. Why should a man hold out his hand for 6d.- or ls., by way of a tip, when he is receiving fair wages for the services he is asked to render to the travelling public? I should like to ask also, why railway officials should, because of tips, differentiate between persons in the services they render those who have paid the same fare. I am entirely against the tipping system, and whilst I do not believe it can be altogether prevented, that is. no reason why we should not make an attempt to minimize the evil.
– It is a pity that Senator Barker should have had to go to London for his illustration. If he walks down to the Spencer-street Railway Station he will find there a number of men wearing red caps who receive no salary at all, and who must depend upon tips for the services they render. The platform men connected with the despatching of trains and looking after the comfort of passengers have their duties set out for them, and the carrying of a bag is something extra. Senator Barker has said that one man pays his fare as well as another, and yet is treated differently, but one may travel without any luggage, and another may have twenty bags.
– The honorable senator should have seen the packages Senator Barker had when he went to London.-
– I have no doubt that the honorable senator had a great many. He has told us that he had a dress suit, a tall hat, and a walking stick. Does the honorable senator expect the Railways Commissioner to tell off a man to take his twenty or thirty packages off a railway station ? I condemn the system in vogue in Melbourne under which men haveto depend on the generosity of those for whom they carry luggage. Senator Barker will bear me out that in the Old Country there are licensed porters who have fixed rates for the services they render, just as cabmen have fixed rates.
-so they have at Spencer-street.
– No, they hava not.- They receive no salary, though they are looked upon as Government officials.
– No, they are not.
– They have the words “ Victorian Railways “ on their cap bands.
– Just as wharf porters have the letters “ A. U.S.N.” on their cap bands.
– Yes, but they have a tariff of charges. Honorable senators will find the intimation on the menu cards of our dining cars that no gratuities are allowed, and yet they will find Railways Commissioners give gratuities. We have all been accustomed to the practice. People start it by giving a penny to their children to go and buy lollies. That is only the tipping system in another form, and we grow up with it. Every State Railway Department has a by-law against servants of the Department receiving gratuities.
– That is why we want the provision in the Bill.
– What difference will it make if we put it in the Bill ? Although tips are prohibited under railway by-laws, I guarantee that every Railways Commissioner gives tips to the men who render him services on a railway journey. Honorable senators are aware that in the stewards’ case, Mr. Justice Higgins took the income received by way of tips into consideration.
– It is a shame that he had to do go.
– From the evidence given before him, he had to recognise that tips were received by members of the Stewards’ Union. After his award was given, the union passed a rule to prevent its members from accepting tips.
– Are the shipping companies too poor to pay their employees a decent wage?
– I have been concerned in a number of cases affecting wages which have been brought before Mr. Justice Higgins, and I have known His Honour to say, “If I make such and such an award, can the company afford to pay the wages.” The invariable answer has been that if His Honour directed that certain wages should be paid, the companies would have to find the means to paythem.
– What action did the Stewards’ Union take after the award in their case ?
– They passed a rule condemning the taking of tips, but the tipping of stewards still goes on. If we include a -provision in this Bill prohibiting tipping, it will still go on, and I am prepared to say that a majority of the members pf the Committee will be guilty of a breach of the provision more often than will members of the general public. To accept the amendment would only be to load the Bill with a provision that would have no effect. Do not let us make fools of ourselves by passing a provision which we cannot carry out.
.- I have been not a little astonished at the remarks that have been made by honorable senators, who, I thought, might have been expected to oppose the idiotic practice of tipping. The practice has grown to such an extent in the Commonwealth that, as Senator Guthrie has reminded us, it was taken into consideration by the Arbitration Court in the fixing of wages. I consider that a most degrading thing. If we are going to produce a nation of stalwarts, we should not continue this practice, which has the effect of making men servile. We do not want men to bow and scrape, but to stand up and face other men in the image of their Creator and assert their manhood. The average received by stewards in tips was taken into consideration by the Arbitration Court in fixing their wages.
– Does the honorable senator think that if Mr. Justice Higgins had awarded the stewards twice the wages he did award them that would have stopped tipping?
– It should have gone a long way towards it. Whatever the cure may be, it devolves upon this Parliament, as well as other Parliaments in Australia, to devise some means to put an end to so pernicious a system.
– That is not the question. The question is whether the prohibition should be included in the Bill or in the by-laws.
– I am not particular how the system is put an end to, so long as something is done in that direction. Senator Guthrie has said that if passengers receive services from men in the Railway Department they should pay for them, but I know scores of people, of whom I am one myself, who will never allow any one to carry their bags for them. But the officials look for tips all the same. I am not sure that the amendment will effect the purpose for which it is moved.
– It will be an honest attempt to do something in that direction.
– That is so. We have been told by Senators McDougall and Barker of the lengths to which the system has been carried in the Old Country, but if we do not set our faces against it here, we must expect the tipping system to grow until it becomes the hideous thing that it seems to be in the Old Country.
– We do not object to the prohibition of tipping, but we do not wish to load up the Bill with a lot of detail, which may be better dealt with in by-laws. It is necessary to have hundreds of railway by-laws, and the Government have promised that by-laws framed under this Bill will strictly forbid any one from giving or accepting tips.
– Will there be a penalty attached ?
– Of course there will, and a fairly severe penalty. In the circumstances I ask honorable senators not to insert this provision in the Bill.
– I do not intend to prolong the discussion, as I agree with the Honorary Minister that it has continued long enough. But I wish to say that to support my present amendment, after having opposed that which I previously moved, is not inconsistent, because in my present amendment I propose that the penalty should be imposed upon the chief offender, and that is the man who offers the tip. Every railway Minister of re cent years, including Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Archibald has said that the Commonwealth Railway Service would be a wellpaid one, and that high efficiency would be expected from the men employed. If that is so, why not restrict them to their pay from the Commonwealth? I have never claimed that a mere Act of Parliament would stop the tipping evil, but the creation of a healthy Australian public opinion on the subject will, I hope, stop it in time. If the Senate gives a lead in that direction it will have a wholesome effect outside. Every person one speaks to on the trains or boats agrees that it is a rotten system, but there is generally the same confession of weakness that we heard here this morning - that it cannot be stopped.
– When Senator Ferricks first introduced this question I felt like a number of others that, perhaps, we could not stop the practice. Since then I have had several instances of its bad effects brought under my own direct notice, and while I agree with Senator Guthrie that it will be very hard to stop it, if we could stop it it would bring about more justice to the travelling public. At Spencer-street I saw a gentlemen who, according to appearances, had plenty of money, give a tip to the porter, who consequently paid him every attention. In fact, he could not do enough for him, and was almost obsequious in his attentions to him. At the same time I saw a woman, with one child in her arms and another hanging to her skirts, who could get no attention from the porter at all, although she was paying the same fare. That was not right, and we ought to stop that sort of thing if we can. We should do something to try to imbue the public mind with the idea that it is not fair that one member of the travelling public should get greater attention either on boats or on trains than another who is paying the same fare, because he is better able to afford to give tips. The creation of a public sentiment of that kind is the only thing which will stop the practice. Every member . here does the same as most of the travelling public do, and the custom has grown to such an extent that when a steamer or railway official does one some little service the first thing he does is to give him a tip. In fact, very often one does it whether any service is rendered or not.
There is an element of unfairness underlying the system, because some person may not have the cash with which to tip, and will not get the same service from the officials. The officials should be paid by their employer, Government or private, sufficient to makethem independent of tips.
– Will the prohibition be more effective in the Act than in the by-laws?
– Probably not; but whichever way we do it it will be a good thing to do, and the only really effective way to do it is to instil into the public mind the necessary . sentiment against the tipping evil.
Senator Lt.Colonel BOLTON (Victoria [11.50]. - Some references to the luggage porters at Spencer-street - the men with red bands on their caps - seemed to convey somewhat of a reflection on those managing the Victorian Railway Service. Those men are not employed by the Railway Department. They are members of the outside public who have obtained permission to enter railway premises, and do service for the public in the handling of luggage, &c. At the same time the red band on their caps is some guarantee to the travelling public that they are trustworthy.
– The consideration of the Bill in Committee might have been finished long ago if the Minister had agreed to accept a reasonable amendment of this kind. He is evidently prepared to put it in the by-laws, and assist to enforce it, but he has shown no good reason why it should not form part of the Bill. If this must go into the by-laws, the same thing can be said about the major portion of the measure. I disagree with Senator McDougall and others who say that these things cannot be done by legislation. We were told that we could not close the shops at a reasonable hour, and that we could not make men sober by Act of Parliament. Yet both those things have been done. The early closing of hotels has resulted in reducing drunkenness by more than 50 per cent. If the amendment becomes part of the Bill, and the Commissioner and his officers do their duty without fear or favour, the tipping evil will be abolished on the Commonwealth railways.
Question - That the proposed new paragraph be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 70 to 79 agreed to.
Clause 80 (Medical examination of persons injured in accident).
– I move -
That the words “ on the request of the injured person, where reasonable, such examination shall be held in the presence of the private medical practitioner of such injured person” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words, “unless the examination would thereby be delayed for a period of at least twenty-four hours, the person may require that the examination shall take place in the presence of a medical practitioner to be nominated and paid by the person.”
The object is to seethat persons injured in a railway accident shall receive medical attention at the earliest possible moment, and the amendment is intended to afford greater protection to the travelling public.Injured passengers would probably have greater confidence if examined in thepresence of their awn doctor as well, as sometimes there is a suspicion of bias against those acting in an official capacity.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 81 (Limit of damages for personal injury).
– Can the Minister say if the amount set down as compensation in respect of personal injury, is the maximum that may be claimed under the Railways Acts of the various States?
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 82 to 88 agreed to.
Schedule and title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Debate resumed from 16th August (vide page 1109), on motion by Senator Millen -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– As I understand the Bill, it is a simple machinery measure, rendered necessary by our experiences during thepresent war, and is designed, further, to protect the people of the Commonwealth. I have no serious objections to offer to the Bill.
– From the debate that has taken place it has transpired that while some foreigners have become naturalized in Australia, they have not been absolved from their allegiance to their native country, and the Bill does not appear to me to deal satisfactorily with such cases. For many years we have extended the right hand of fellowship to the white citizens of all countries. We have been prepared to grant them naturalization at short notice, to permit themto exercise the franchise, to become land-owners, and, generally speaking, have conferred upon them the full rights of citizenship enjoyed by native-born Australians. We have discovered, with regard to some citizens of Germany, that while they took out papers of naturalization, they retained their allegiance to Germany. I should like to see incorporated in this Bill provision making it mandatory upon all who take out naturalization papers to become denationalized from their country of origin.
– That is in the Bill.
-Clause 5 provides that they must take an oath to that effect.
– I do not know that the taking of an oath will quite meet with my requirements. Unless foreigners divest themselves of their nationality, we should definitely refuse to extend citizenship rights to them; we should refuse to permit them to become owners of land, electors, or to occupy any public position in Australia. In Committee, when we come to the clause which partially deals with my objection, I shall be glad if the Minister in charge will accept an amendment depriving such people of full citizen rights so long as their own country also claims their allegiance.
.- I do not intend to offer any opposition to the Bill, because our experiences during the past two or three years have shown it to be absolutely necessary that we should tighten up our naturalization laws, and that, I believe, is the purpose of the measure now before the Senate. It is intended to make it more difficult for foreigners to become British subjects. Hitherto many foreigners have come here, and have taken out naturalization papers for the purpose of trade and personal advantages. In my opinion, a German once is a German always, and I think we can also say that a Britisher once is a Britisher always. We know that many naturalized Germans have the same feelings towards their Fatherland that they had when they landed in this country. At the outbreak of the war 1 brought under the notice of the authorities the case of a naturalized German,but I was almost told that I was interfering in a matter that did not concern me. Twelve months later, however, the man I referred to was fined and imprisoned for having rifles stored on his premises. That man ought never to have been naturalized.
When discussing this subject we have to think of those who are our enemies, as well as those who are our Allies, to-day. We do not know that the latter may not become our enemies at some future time, and therefore we should be careful. I shall render the Government every assistance possible to tighten up the existing law. In Japan, a foreigner, no matter to what nation he belongs, is always regarded as a foreigner. They do not allow him to own land or enter into any business enterprise there. Perhaps that is not known to many honorable senators, but it is a fact. We ought to welcome foreigners here, but we should treat them as foreigners all the time, and be careful.
According to the records, it was the desire of past Parliaments to make the naturalization of foreign subjects as easy as possible. That I have always thought was a mistake. I never liked the idea of bringing foreigners to this country, and putting them in possession of some of its best land, to allow them even to make foreign settlements, and to teach a foreign language, and prohibit the use of the British language. When we welcome a foreigner it is not long before he gets his friends to joinhim. He understands what a lovely country this is, not only from the stand-point of civilization, but from the stand-point of social advantages which they do not receive in any other country. That is why foreigners soon bring their friends here. I can remember a German inmy own trade coming to this country years ago, when we first entered into trade with Germany. Our trade union refused to admit these men, and it was thought to be a hard thing. We were condemned by the daily newspapers for our inhuman act to our foreign friends. But it was a wise act, as the situation today proves. In recent years Germans have been welcomed in our trade union, and to-day some are interned in the camps, while others are still workers in our midst, and naturalized British subjects. If, years ago, the Government had followed the example set by our trade union, we would not have so many Germans in our midst to-day as we have. Unfortunately, they are treated now as they should not be. Some Germans, after having been interned for a year, are allowed to come out and enter into business competition with honest British citizens. I have seen interned men at liberty. I do not know how they got out. I have before the Minister one case which is being investigated. This German passes me in the street with a sneering sort of smile, which seems to say, “ I have beaten you ; I have got out.” That should not happen in this country.
I am pleased that the Government are going to tighten up our naturalization law, and do a little, not towards winning the war but towards making it appear that we are in hearty sympathy with the British Empire. The difficulties we place in the way of naturalization are very small, but still they will be of some advantage. It will cause foreigners desirous of being naturalized to advertise the fact, and I take it that the application will be notified in the press. Senator Millen did not explain this matter, but on reading the speech made by the Minister for Home and Territories elsewhere, I find that he said that the notification was to be made in the Gazette, but that, after consideration, he accepted the suggestion that it should be made in the press, because, while very few persons would read a notice in the Gazette, an advertisement in the press would be generally read. If a foreigner is required to advertise in a daily newspaper that he is about to apply for a certificate of naturalization, it will give anybody who knows anything about the man an opportunity to object to the issue of the certificate. I hope that that idea will be carried out.
– That is provided for in the Bill now.
-I am very pleased to hear that statement, as I believed that it was not provided for.
I wish to call attention to a paragraph in sub-clause 3 of proposed new section 6-
In addition to compliance with the preceding provisions of this section an applicant shall -
satisfy the Minister that he is able to read and write English.
That is a very good provision, but I feel perfectly satisfied, that very few foreigners will be able to get naturalized, because inthe industrial life of this country there are very few Britishers or Australians who can read or write any other language. When I met in London the delegation from theRuss i an Parliament I was surprised that all the members could speak to me in my own language, and use it better than I could. The gentleman who was sitting next to me was a Russian, but I thought at the time that he must be a newspaper reporter. Every Russian on the delegation could speak the British language. In this country we are defective in that respect. Most men in my station of life can read or write no other language than English. There are plenty of good Australians and Britons to-day holding responsible positions who can scarcelyread or write. If the provision I quoted is enacted, it will be a most effective way to prevent the naturalization of very many enemy subjects who were naturalized here in years gone by.
There is another provision which could be made more effective. I refer to subclause 3 of proposed new section 6a, which provides that the contents of any statutory declaration must not be disclosed. I think that the contents of a statutory declaration should be exhibited for public examination. If the contents of these documents are not to be disclosed, what will anybody know of the declarations which have been made ?
– This provision refers to a declaration by a person objecting to the naturalization of a foreigner.
– The provision begins with the words, “ The contents of any statutory declaration.” A statutory declaration under the Bill is a statutory declaration of a person recommending a foreigner for naturalization.
– No. The provision reads : -
The contents of any statutory declaration filed with the Minister in pursuance of this section-
That is the section dealing with these protests.
– Does the Bill provide for a public inspection of the declarations of persons who are assisting the foreigners to get naturalized by giving a certificate of good behaviour on their part ?
– No; there is no provision for punishing them, but there is no prohibition against it.
– I should like every declaration to be made a public document, and I believe that everybody will fall in with that view. If a man is willing to put his name to a documenb asking for the naturalization of a foreigner, it should be an open document.
There is only one other point which I wish to refer to, and that is the amount of the fee to be charged for naturalization. When the Commonwealth Parliament was legislating on this subject in 1903, the Government of the day struck out the fee. In introducing this measure elsewhere, the Minister for Home and Territories said that the fee would be nominal. I think that it should be a good stiff fee. Any person who desires to be naturalized in this lovely country ought to be made to pay for the privilege. The Minister elsewhere said the fee may be 2s. 6d. or 10s. In my opinion, it should be £5, or even £10. If a foreigner comes here from any part of the world, and wishes to participate in our industrial life and become a naturalized trade unionist, he is always willing to pay a larger fee than that. He is willing to pay £1, sometimes £2; or even more for the benefits he is going to derive from association with trade unionists. The fee chargeable under this measure ought to be £2 2s. at the very least. If the Minister is prepared to make the fee £5, I shall be with him, or if he prefers to fix the fee at £10 I shall be with him. I am willing to assist him to put any possible restrictions upon an undue naturalization of foreign subjects. That is all I have to say on this Bill. I congratulate the Government. I can see nothing harsh in the measure, and will do all I can on this side to assist the Government in making it law, even if they should make it more stringent than it is.
.- If Senator McDougall can recall the time when our Naturalization Act came into force, he will find an explanation of why a very small fee is charged for a certificate of naturalization. When everything in Australia was going along peaceably, and there was no international mix-up such as we have to-day, we looked at these matters from quite a different stand-point. The strong enmity against Germany, which I suppose exists almost everywhere to-day, did not exist when we were legislating on this subject some years ago. I can remember well that the tone of honorable senators towards the Germans in that day was quite different from what it can reasonably be expected to be to-day. The desire to bring all foreign immigrants within the nation by making them naturalized citizens accounts, I think, for the very small fee which was charged. In 1903 we heard of instances of foreigners who had lived in Australia for a lone time, and had not become naturalized because each State had its own law, and the State laws were found very often to be in conflict- with each other. The fee varied in amount, and it was not until the Commonwealth was established that a uniform law could be passed. It was found to conflict to some extent even with international laws, because the various nations did not look at the question of naturalization from the same stand-point. Therefore, it is very difficult indeed to get anything like a good, sound working law -throughout the various nations. In legislating, too, it is necessary to see that we do not put some embargo on our country, or give away too much and receive too little from other nations. It is not always wise for us to frame a naturalization law which would suit on all occasions. “With one aspect of the present law I wish to deal briefly, and that is in regard to married Australian women. To illustrate my point, I will mention the case of a Frenchman married to an Australian woman, because we are at peace with the French people, and the illustration will be more fitting than that of a German married to an Australian woman. Hitherto, when an Australian woman married a Frenchman here she lost at once her British nationality. The Frenchman, if he cared to do it, could take her property, clear out of the country, and return to France, and the wife would have no redress, she having lost her British nation.itv by marriage was unable to again become a Britisher.- Undoubtedly this measure will prevent that sort- of thing being done. It will give to an Australian woman married to a foreigner some relief, not, perhaps, all tie relief we would like to give, but she can revert to her British nationality. Under the old law in a case of that sort she had no redress. Not only did she los© her property, but she also lost her nationality, and could not recover it. There was no means for her to revert to her original nationality, no matter how many generations of her forebears had been British.
– Could she not hold property under the Married Women’s Property Act?
– Her rights under that Act were practically nullified by the change of nationality. I would have liked this Bill to extend to an Australian woman, even though she is married to a Frenchman, the right to retain her nationality, and thus preserve all her citizen rights. There is no reason why an Australian woman should, because of her marriage to a foreigner, lose her nationality and all the privileges of her birthright. If she be an Australian or an Englishwoman, simply by reason of her marriage to an alien she loses her nationality and her birth-right. If you take the case of an American citizen living here, he could marry an Australian woman, and if he went back to some of the States He could get a divorce on very trivial grounds, and even then, his Australian wife could not get back her Australian nationality. Now, in Australia we have placed women upon a higher plane than they occupy in any other part of the world. We have given them the franchise on terms of equality with men. There has been an agitation, which, to some extent, has been successful, in favour of paying them equal wages for equal work. If, politically, women in Australia are the equals of men, why should we not make them the equals of men in any naturalization law that we may enact? It seems to me that to do so would be a simple act of justice, and one that would work out to the benefit of Australia. When we see women actually repudiating the German nationality - women who, in years past, have married Germans - we ought to give them an opportunity of escaping from their invidious position. We ought to declare that where a woman marries an alien in good faith she shall have a right, in the case of future international complications, to revert to her original nationality.
.- At a time like the present we are too prone to view a Bill of this character from the stand-point of our attitude towards the nations with whom we are at war. We should remember, however, that our naturalization laws will apply to our near friends - to persons from the United States of America, and also to our European Allies. Therefore, I hope that in a Bill of this description we shall do nothing of an extreme character which may be calculated to provoke retaliation. In Australia we have a number of Americans who hesitate to take out naturalization papers, and if, as the result of any oversight on our part, they were subjected to injustice, they would continue their sojourn here without becoming naturalized subjects. Generally speaking, I think that the Bill marks a great advance upon any previous legislation in this direction. I am in entire sympathy with the remarks of Senator de Largie upon the question that he dealt with.. There is one portion of the Bill with which I can hardly agree - that portion which relates to the non-disclosure of a statutory declaration objecting to the issue of a certificate of naturalization to any person applying for the same. I think that possibly it may lead to grave injustice being done. If a person be charged with an offence he has a right to know who is his accuser. Under British law we have always boasted that nobody can be accused without knowing his accuser. But if effect be given to this provision the charge will be made secretly, and a great deal of injustice will be done. I repeat we must recollect that we are now dealing not only with our declared enemies, but with those who, although they are foreigners, are, nevertheless, friends, and especially with Americans. I commend the Bill to the acceptance of the Senate.
– I should like to say a word or two in commendation of the action of the Government in submitting this measure for our consideration. To my mind, the Bill is some years late, but it is better late than never. Moreover, its lateness is not the fault of the National Government. A good deal of dissatisfac-tion exists, particularly in New South Wales, in regard to the actions of naturalized and unnaturalized Germans there. Considerable slackness has been evidenced right throughout the Empire since the war began in regard to this German question. I agree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Senator McDougall, that events have proved that a man who is once a German is always a German. But whilst I am sympathetic with the idea of relaxing as far as we reasonably can our , naturalization laws in the case of our Allies, we must not forget that, so far as the future can be forecast at present, our only enemies in the future are likely to be Teutonic enemies - the enemies we have at present. If we could insure that the Teutonic peoples would always remain peaceful, we should not need to apprehend being faced with any potential enemies in the future. I agree that this Bill is necessary, and that there should be a general tightening up of the naturalization laws of Australia. I commend the National Government for its action in bringing forward thus early in its career a measure which, as the result of the war, is badly needed.
– This Bill opens up rather a wide question. In the first place, it broaches the subject of a dual nationality. We have to bear in mind that it will affect not only ourselves and the Teutons, but people from other countries. The Teutonic nations are not the only nations which hold to their nationality. Other nations exhibit just the same attachment to their home lands as they do. It is very difficult, therefore, to draw an arbitrary line of demarcation without prejudicially affecting our friends. If we were living in a foreign land we should certainly retain our love for the country which gave us birth, and we cannot expect other races to entirely divest themselves of the feelings that we ourselves experience.
I am pleased that the Government have surrounded this Bill with such conditions as will adequately safeguard us in the case of naturalized aliens. Not only will the measure give us power to call upon an alien to revoke his nationality, but it will clothe the Governor-General with authority to revoke his certificate of naturalization. Then we have to consider the position of those who, having been born in the Commonwealth, lose their nationality by reason of marriage. When an Australian woman marries an alien she forfeits her citizen rights, notwithstanding that she will _ always retain a strong affection for the land of her birth. Thus, we extend to a naturalized alien full citizen rights whilst denying them to a native-born Australian woman who has married a foreigner. I repeat that the Bill will give the Governor-General power to revoke a certificate of naturalization which has already been granted to an alien in our midst. Had this power existed at the outbreak of the war, it would have saved us a great deal of trouble. To-day there are many persons in Australia who are acting very faithfully towards their kinsmen overseas. In so acting I do not know that they, differ very much from English-speaking persons in other lands. If we were resident in any other country in peace time we should take careful note of what was transpiring around us, and communicate the results of our observations to our friends elsewhere, without thinking that we had been guilty of any criminal act. But to-day we are apt to regard any such act as a criminal one. We gain our information regarding the nations with which we are at war in the manner I have outlined, and yet we blame others for doing precisely the same thing.
But whilst it is right that the GovernorGeneral should have power to revoke a certificate of naturalization, it does appear to me that in sub-clause 3 of clause 7 there is a very peculiar anomaly. There it is provided that an alien who has been naturalized may, in certain circumstances, have his nationality forfeited, although his property rights will still be secured to him. To my mind, the whole thing is out of focus. I hold that national rights are superior to all other rights. Yet, under this Bill, a naturalized subject may have his citizen rights revoked, while his property rights are preserved to him. It seems to me that if his citizen rights are forfeited, his property rights should be in suspense.
– There is a difference of opinion as to which rights are the greater.
– My own opinion is that citizen rights are superior to property rights. I think nationality is superior to the right to property. Whilst power is given under the Bill to revoke nationality, no power is taken, should it be found necessary, to appropriate the property of a person whose nationality is revoked. A Britisher proved to be disloyal is liable, not only to the loss of his liberty, and perhaps of his life, but of his property as well. Under this Bill, though the nationality of a person may be forfeited, his property rights are retained. I am hoping to hear a little more about this clause from the Minister in charge of the Bill.
I am glad that Parliament is being asked to face the question of naturalization. I agree that we need to be careful in passing a measure of this kind, that it does not strike at those whom we have no wish to injure. It is possible that in a moment of hysteria, and it will be admitted that hysteria is generated by the war, in striving to do what is right to those who are our foes we may unintentionally do wrong to those who are our friends. I hope that the discussion of the Bill will assist us to make it a useful measure to meet the peculiar circumstances with which we are confronted to-day.
– In view of the debate which has taken place on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, I think it is unnecessary for me at this stage to say anything in reply. I have noted the various points which have been suggested for discussion, but, as they affect matters of detail, it is better that they should be left to be dealt with in Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
Section 6 of the principal Act is repealed, and the following sections inserted in its stead: -
In addition to compliance with the preceding provisions of this section, an applicant shall -
advertise in the manner prescribed his intention to seek naturalization and produce to the Minister newspapers containing copies of the prescribed advertisement;
produce certificates of character from three natural-born British subjects, two of whom are householders and one of whom is a justice of the peace, a postmaster, a teacher of a State school, or an officer of police; and
satisfy the Minister that he is able to read and write English. . . .
.- I move-
That after the word “ police “ the following words be inserted “and such certificates are to be open for inspection at a prescribed fee.”
I do not think that honorable senators will have any objection to this amendment. In a later clause it is mandatory that declarations required for a certain purpose shall be disclosed. I want these certificates given by householders, and by a justice of the peace, a postmaster, a teacher of a State school, or an officer of police in support of an application by a foreigner for naturalization to be open to public inspection. I do not desire that the officers of the Department shall be called upon to show these certificates except for a good reason, and so I propose that a fee shall be paid for inspecting them.
– The honorable senator had better name the fee.
– I do not think that is necessary. Any one who desires to inspect these documents should be prepared to pay a fee of, at least,1s.
– If we say “ a prescribed fee,” the fee charged might be fi.
– I could add the words”of one shilling” to my amendment, if that is desired. There is no provision made for inspection of these certificates to prevent the lodging of practically fraudulent certificates given, it may be, for business reasons, and not because of any love for the British Empire.
– I should not like to think that a justice of the peace, a postmaster, teacher of a State school, or an officer of police would be likely to sign certificates without knowing their contents, but I agree with Senator McDougall that the certificates provided for under this clause should be open to public inspection on payment of a nominal fee. If the amendment were accepted, persons would be induced to exercise cave when asked to support the application of any foreigner to be naturalized. I hope the Minister will agree to the amendment.
– I consider that the amendment is quite unnecessary. I think that Senator McDougall has overlooked the nature of these documents, which he thinks should be open to inspection. The applicant for naturalization is obliged to advertise his intention to apply, and any one who thinks that the application ought not to be granted is given an opportunity, by a succeeding clause, to enter a protest All that Senator McDougall asks is that the certificates presented with the application shall be open to inspection. If any one knows anything against an applicant, it is not necessary that he should wait until the persons mentioned in the clause have given their certificates before he takes action. The certificate signed by the persons provided for will be in a form fixed by regulation. The persons signing the certificates will probably be asked to say whether the applicant is a person of good character, has been a good citizen, or whether there is any evidence of doubtful loyalty on his part. What advantage would be gained by any one but the officials knowing what was contained in the certificates, or by whom they were signed? If I object to a man who is naturalized, it will be because of some thing I know about him myself. If I think that it is undesirable that he should be granted naturalization, as soon as I see his advertisement in the newspaper, if I am a good citizen, I shall not wait to find out what has been said about him by a school master, a householder, or a police officer, but will state the reasons why I do not think the application should be granted. I can see no advantage from the acceptance of the amendment, but I shall not detain the Committee in discussing it further.
.- It will be a very difficult matter for the general public to follow in the newspapers the advertisements of applicants for naturalization. If one noticed such an advertisement, and knew of any reason why the applicant should not be naturalized, he would, no doubt, call attention to it. I am thinking more of what may follow after an application has been granted. I want to make it possible, where that may appear to be necessary, to discover the persons who by giving these certificates recommended the naturalization of an enemy subject who ought not to have been naturalized. I do not know of any law under which a man is required to , put his name to a document for a public purpose which does not also provide that the document shall be open to public inspection. The acceptance of the amendment would impose no restriction upon an applicant for naturalization.
– It would be a check upon the loose giving of certificates.
– Yes, that is all. If a man gives a certificate to support an application for naturalization by a neighbour of mine who I know has hundreds of guns in his house, I want to be in a position to ascertain who it was that certified that such a foreigner would be a desirable subject when I am aware of reasons why he should not have been naturalized.
Sitting suspended from1 to 2.30 p.m.
– I ask permission to alter my amendment so that it will read -
That the following sub-clause be inserted : - “ (4) Any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, inspect any certificate produced jn pursuance of the last preceding subsection.”
Amendment amended accordingly, and agreed to.
– I have seen nothing in the Bill to meet the objection I raised on the second reading. I therefore move -
That the following proposed new sub-clause be added to the clause : - “But nothing in this Act shall entitle an applicant to be naturalized if the country of his birth, under its laws, may still claim him as a citizen.”
I understand that at present a person born in Germany may be naturalized here but still be claimed by Germany as one of its citizens.
– What if there is do law, but simply an understanding on the subject?
– I am willing to add the words “or understanding” after “ laws,” so long as it will prevent the unfairness of the present arrangement. We ought to refuse to confer full rights of citizenship on a person whose country can still claim his allegiance.
– I ask the honorable senator not to press the amendment, which would mean practically destroying the whole of our naturalization laws. It is impossible for this Parliament to control or influence the legislation of a foreign country. We oan deal only with the man himself who seeks naturalization; not with the country from which he comes. The Bill asks an alien who seeks naturalization here, to renounce before a Judge or recognised official, his allegiance to his country of origin in spite of any law passed by that country.
– That is as far as we can go.
– That is so, but Senator Grant wants us to go much further. No foreign country is likely to pass a law renouncing its rights over its own people; but Senator Grant would refuse naturalization to every alien who came here unless his country had already done that. If we attempt to go further than we have gone, we might as well tear up our Naturalization Act, because it would not be possible for any alien to obtain naturalization under it.
– I hope Senator Grant will not persist. We are asking protection for ourselves as a Commonwealth, so far as aliens are concerned. If the amendment was carried, these men would be nondescripts, and we should have no command over them. We invite them to renounce .the country of their birth and all its laws, and become citizens of Australia. ‘ Once they do that we have control over them. If we refuse to naturalize them unless their own country has passed a law giving up all claim over them, our naturalization laws become useless. We -cannot legislate for any country other than our own, but Senator Grant would have us legislate for Germany.
– I know of no other country that deals with its citizens in the same way as Germany does. I do not believe the United States would claim one of its citizens after he had become naturalized in Australia.
-. - The mere fact that another nation did not claim him would not meet your case. You want other nations to pass legislation renouncing all claims over any of their citizens who be- come naturalized here.
– The mere fact that an American becomes naturalized in Australia absolves him from .all allegiance, direct or indirect, to his country. There is nothing in ‘the Constitution of the United States, France, Italy, Spain, or any other country hut Germany, so far as I know, entitling them to lay claim to their citizens if they become citizens of another country.
– What nationality is an Alsatian ?
– At the present time he is a German, and subject to all the German laws.
– Is he? Then if an Alsatian, hostile to Germany, wanted to become naturalized here, your amendment would prevent him.
– We might sometimes .have to do an injustice to attain our object, but the position would be different if applicants from Alsace or Lorraine were of French extraction. We ought, ‘ therefore, nob to hesitate to deal with Germany in a different way.
– What about Austria?
– If Austria has the same law or understanding as Germany, my amendment will apply.
– What good purpose do you achieve?
– It is not fair to naturalize a person whose country holds a reservation that he is still one of its citizens. If an Australian became naturalized in any other country, neither Australia nor Great Britain would claim any right over him. Once he renounced his British nationality he would no longer be regarded as a member of the British Empire until he became naturalized again. A German, however, is still a German, and remains, in the eyes of the German nation, one of its citizens no matter where he goes. I shall press the amendment.
– This is a matter which I mentioned during my second-reading speech. While we may agree with Senator Grant, I am afraid we have not the power to go so far as he desires. It is now well known that many naturalized Germans, while of military age, are required to report. annually concerning their whereabouts to the German authorities, and it should be possible, I think, to take some action in this direction. We might provide that, in cases where a naturalized alien is required to report himself ‘to official representatives of his .native country, his opportunities as a citizen of Australia should be more limited.
– That is the purpose of proposed new section 7.
– I do not think that provision goes far enough. Senator Grant’s amendment will cause confusion, because we cannot compel Germany to legislate along the lines we desire.
– We can refuse to issue naturalization papers, though.
– The objections, I think, could only be overcome by the denationalization of the alien subject. As honorable senators are aware, some citizens of Germany, iri order to become wholly naturalized in Australia, have obtained denationalization papers from Germany. We might, therefore, require that, before issuing a certificate of naturalization, the applicants shall be required to deposit papers of denationalization.
– I ask the Minister in charge of the Bill if he is prepared to introduce a clause on the lines suggested by Senator Senior, namely, that, before any application for naturalization is entertained, it should be accompanied by some documentary evidence that the applicant has been denationalized from his own country. What is the good of issuing naturalization papers if they are to be treated as useless scraps of paper?
– If we do as you suggest, Germany will not issue any more denationalization papers.
– We should not grant the naturalization to any persons who are still amenable to the laws of their native country.
– I would like to know, from the Minister, if anything can be done to prevent any naturalized citizen of military age from making a report to the country of his origin, as is done in the case of some Germans naturalized in this country.
– When a person becomes a naturalized citizen, .he renders himself liable to all the pains and penalties provided under the law if he enters into treasonable relations with his own country ; but naturalization, in one sense, gives us a bigger hold over the subject. The point raised by Senator Senior is one of the conditions precedent to the issue of a naturalization certificate. It is required as an indication of an applicant’s iona fide intention to throw in his lot with us.
– I do not think the Minister quite understood my question. I realize, of course, that when a man becomes naturalized, he is responsible under the laws of the country, and must pay the penalty for any breach of those laws. But, suppose he writes a letter to some place in Germany, and indicates his whereabouts, could any supervision he exercised to prevent that correspondence being sent as a report?
– There is nothing to prevent any one so disposed from doing that, any more than there is to prevent any Australian from sending, in his correspondence, information which might be useful to the enemy. But we cannot lay down in a Naturalization Bill the precautions that would be taken by those charged with the duty of censorship. There is a censorship in existence to-day, and I am not quite certain if it has always given satisfaction to honorable senators opposite. If a man becomes naturalized, and then, by means of the post, seeks to play into the hands of the enemy, he would, under an intelligent system of censorship, be discovered, and pay the penalty for it.
– We are in an awkard position regarding German aliens. In my own occupation, I have mixed a great deal with foreigners round our coast. At the beginning of the war, many men who are natives of Heligoland came to me and said they did not think it necessary to take out naturalization papers because, until a few years ago, Heligoland was a British Possession, and, to all intents and purposes, they regard themselves as British subjects, though I know they are Germans at heart. Our Naturalization Act does not meet their case at all.
– Have they not to be naturalized ?
– No; because they were born in Heligoland before the island was handed over to Germany.
– Were they British subjects after the transfer?
– If they left the island before the transfer, and were living in England, or were employed in British ships, they are regarded as British subjects ; and when they came to Australia, it was not necessary that they should be naturalized. I do not know how long ago it is since Lord Salisbury handed Heligoland over to Germany, but it is less than twenty-one years, and no man gets naturalized until he attains his majority; so, if any natives of Heligoland were born prior to the transfer, they are entitled to the protection of the British flag, and do not require naturalization certificates. The same could be said of residents of Alsace and Lorraine. I know, also, that somepeople from SchleswigHolstein claim to be Danes. This question of naturalization is a very serious one, and ought to be carefully considered in the interests of our own people. These people from Schleswig-Holstein may be Danes, but they have strong German lean ings ; and the same can be said of the men from Heligoland. Their leanings are towards Germany, and yet we give them full rights of citizenship, and do not require them to take out certificates of naturalization. Under the German law, men from Heligoland have to report in the same manner as those born in the centre of Germany. At the beginning of the war, we had a considerable amount of correspondence in Adelaide on this subject, a German citizen there taking up the position that, although he had been naturalized, he had not renounced his own country. Until we insert in the naturalization certificate a provision that a man must absolutely renounce his own country, our naturalization law will not be complete.
– That is provided in the next clause.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 -
Section 10 of the principal Act is repealed, and the following section inserted in its stead: - “ 10. A person (not being a natural-born British subject) -
whose father, or whose mother (being a widow or divorcee) was naturalized under the law of the Common wealth or of a State; or
whose mother has married a naturalborn British subject, or a person who is naturalized under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State, and who, at the time of such naturalization of his father or mother, or of such marriage of his mother, was an infant, and has at any time during infancy resided in Australia with such father or mother, shall, in the Commonwealth, bc deemed to be naturalized, and have the same rights, powers, and privileges, and be subject to the same obligations, as a person who has obtained a certificate of naturalization.”
– I move -
That the following words be added to the clause : - “ Provided that, until a day to be fixed by proclamation, this section shall not apply to persons who are enemy subjects at the date of the commencement of this section.
The clause proposes to extend the right of naturalization to those who were natives of Australia at the time their fathers became naturalized citizens. But some of those who were then infants and have now come to manhood are in the internment camp. It is obviously desirable that we should not by legislation give these persons a citizenship for which they have shown themselves utterly unworthy. It is, to my mind, quite conceivable that when the time comes to release these persons some further provision in their case will have to be brought under review. In the meantime this amendment will suspend, so far as they are concerned, the operation of the clause.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 7 -
Section eleven of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words “ it is proved to the satisfaction of the Governor-General that a certificate of naturalization has been obtained by any untrue statement of fact or intention” and by inserting in their stead the following : - “ (a) it is proved to the satisfaction of the Governor-General that a certificate of naturalization has been obtained by any untrue statement of fact or intention; or
the Governor-General is satisfied that it is desirable for any reason that a certificate of naturalization should be revoked “ ; and by omitting the proviso thereto and inserting in its stead the following subsections : - “ (2.) Where a certificate of naturalization is revoked the Governor-General may by order declare that the wife of the person whose certificate is revoked and any minor children of that person who have acquired British nationality pursuant to this Act shall cease to be British subjects and such persons shall thereupon become aliens, but save as in this subsection provided the nationality of the wife and minor children of a person whose certificate is revoked shall not be affected by the revocation and they shall remain British subjects:
Provided that it shall be lawful for any such wife within six months after the date of the order of revocation to make a declaration of alienage and on making that declaration she and any minor children of her husband and Herself who have acquired British nationality pursuant to this Act shall cease to be British subjects and shall become aliens :
Provided further that it shall be lawful for any such minor child within six months after attaining the age of twenty-one years to make a declaration of alienage and thereupon he shall cease to be a British subject and shall become an alien.” “ (3.) Nothing in this section shall affect the property rights of any person who so ceases to be a British subject, as existing at the date when he so ceased.”
Section proposed to be amended -
Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Governor-General that a certificate of naturalization has been obtained by any untrue statement of fact or intention, the GovernGeneral may revoke the certificate. . . . Provided that the revocation shall not affect rights previously acquired by any other person.
– I wish to call the attention of the Committee to sub-clause 3 of the proposed alteration of section 11 of the Act. According to this provision a man may forfeit his naturalization and yet maintain any property he has in Australia. That seems to me to be an anomaly, and I would like to receive some information from the Minister. The greatest rights which a man in these circumstances has are natural rights, and not rights. of property. If it is desired to conserve a man’s property it should be held as a hostage.Should he forfeit in any way the right to be re-naturalized the property should be held for the benefit of his children, who in time may become Australian subjects. The provision seems to be somewhat loose, and should, I think, be fenced round a little. Take the case of a man who was charged with sheep stealing a great many years ago. Under the law of the land the cost of his trial was abstracted from the value of his property. That was the case of an Australian citizen. But here is a provision which seems to preserve the whole property of a man who has forfeited his certificate of naturalization, and thereby became an enemy in the strict sense of the term. I askthe Minister to consider whether some action cannot be taken to hold that property in abeyance, just as a man’s citizenship is held in abeyance, so that if by good behaviour for a term he should prove that he is worthy to be received again, he may resume the old position. But I do think that the lesser should go with the greater.
– There is a misapprehension as to what is intended here. Senator Senior seems to think that this provision will in some way or other throw some protection over the property of a citizen from whom a certificate of naturalization has been withdrawn. It will not do anything of the kind. It will leave that property to be dealt with by the Government in common with the property of all other aliens. It is a recognised principle on the part of civilized nations - I do not include Germany, of course - that when nations go to war they respect private property. It is known that under the laws of some countries there are certain disabilities as to the possession of property by aliens. Some countries do not allow aliens to acquire land, for instance.
– We do not allow aliens to acquire a ship.
– Suppose that an alien became naturalized, and acquired a ship, and that then for good reasons we were to withdraw his certificate of naturalization. It would be manifestly unfair to say that, having been allowed to acquire a ship under the law, we would, in addition to withdrawing the naturalization papers, confiscate his property.
– I am not saying that.
– What would be done in that case? In common with property held by all other aliens, the Government would do what it has done recently in this State, and that is, make special provision for handling the property. It is not desirable that we should confiscate a man’s property. Unless we say that the mere withdrawal of a certificate shall not by itself affect a property, it will be for the Government to take the same action with regard to a property held by a denaturalized citizen as with regard to one who had never been naturalized.
– I remind the Minister that under several War Acts - the War Precautions Act, for instance - the Government have been able to take certain steps in regard to the holders of shares in Broken Hill mines. That legislation will terminate with the war. The Minister points out that- this provision will not stop the Government from doing certain things. But they will proceed under certain Acts which are simply War Acts, and, therefore, tentative in their operation. The Naturalization Act is a permanent Act. My desire is that the Government shall take, under the Naturalization Act, the same power as they now have under the War Precautions Act in regard to the property of individuals who have proved themselves to be aliens. It is simply giving them the same power as they have to-day when circumstances have proved certain individuals to be aliens, as by the revocation of their certificate of naturalization they are proved in other circumstances to be aliens. That is my desire, and nothing more. I believe it is held by most honorable senators to be the correct view.
– I should like to have an explanation from the Minister in regard to sub clause 2 of the proposed alteration of section 11. The idea, apparently, is that where a’ man’s certificate has been revoked, the wife and any minor children shall continue to be British subjects.
– No ; it is the reverse.
– It is not mandatory that when the husband’s naturalization is withdrawn that of his wife shall follow in consequence. I wish to be quite clear on that point, because it was mentioned here to-day that when an Australian woman marries an alien, who subsequently becomes naturalized, and his certificate of naturalization is cancelled, she becomes an alien too. There is a general desire, I think, that the wife of such a man should remain a British citizen. But this provision appears to me rather obscure, and in that regard it is typical of most clauses.. I should like to see the provision made quite distinct. It is the general opinion here. I believe, that a wife and any minor children should remain British citizens.
– That is provided for.
– It does not seem to be too clear. The Vice-President of the Executive Council said that it meant the exact opposite.
– The wife may be the worse.
– I wish to know from the Minister whether the act of withdrawing a husband’s certificate also means the denaturalization of the wife and any minor children ?
– It does, and it does not. It provides that, where the Governor-General withdraws a certificate of naturalization, he may, where he deems “it fit, withdraw also the naturalization which went to the wife by reason of marriage, and to the children by reason of parentage. But where he does not deem it necessary to do that, then those persons will retain their British citizenship. It will be obvious to the Committee, I think, that it is not possible to say that either one or other course should be pursued. Circumstances must guide the authorities in the decision arrived at.
– I see that it is optional.
– A discretion is left with the Governor-General, which term, of course, means the Government. If the Minister deemed it right for any reason to withdraw also the naturalization from the wife and children, he would. It is conceivable that there are other circumstances where the Minister would say that it- was not necessary or desirable to do so, and in that case he would leave the declaration unmade.
– With regard to paragraph b, I should like to have the opinion of the Minister as to whether the power given to the Governor-General to revoke certificates of naturalization is retrospective, and applies to the whole of the naturalized persons in Australia, irrespective of the date of naturalization.
– I understand that this portion of the measure will -be retrospective. That is to say, that the ,power to withdraw is a power to withdraw not only certificates issued after this measure is passed, but also certificates which have already been issued .
– Sub-clause 3 does not appear to be quite clear. It reads : -
Nothing in this section shall affect the property rights of any person who so ceases to be a British subject.
The words “ so ceases “ mean that the Governor-General has cancelled the man’s’ certificate of naturalization ; he must have done something very hostile to the Australian public, one would think. Then the provision goes on to say that nothing shall interfere with his property rights as existing at the date when he so ceased to be a British subject. Therefore, although a man’s certificate of naturalization has been cancelled, he can continue to enjoy the property rights of a full British subject. That is my reading of the provision. My view is that if a man is thought worthy by the Governor-General to have his certificate cancelled, he ought to take his place alongside alien enemies. I think that the proper plan would be to cut out the sub-clause, if I understand it correctly.
– I think that Senator Fairbairn understands the sub-clause. I would ask him to look at not merely the provision but what is implied by it. This is a Naturalization Bill. It is not a Bill to say what shall be done with the property of aliens. When a person ceases to be one of ourselves by reason of the withdrawal of his certificate of naturalization he becomes an alien. The property of that alien should be dealt with, not under a naturalization law, but under any law which may be passed, or Order in Council which may be issued under the War Precautions Act, dealing with the property of aliens. That is the position. It is not that a denaturalized alien will have any special protection thrown over his property.
– He will have all the protection of the Law Courts.
– And he will be liable to all the restrictions which may be placed upon his property, in common with other aliens. The question of how his property shall be -dealt with afterwards is one which stands quite apart from this Bill, and should be dealt with under a general proclamation issued by the Government.
– Why does the provision appear in the Bill, if the matter can be dealt with in some other way?
– I have already pointed out that it is possible that a naturalized alien may have acquired property which nobody but a naturalized or nativeborn subject is entitled to hold. But when, he becomes denaturalized, neither his wife nor his family will be permitted to hold it. I believe that in my own State some restrictions have been imposed upon the holding of selections. Now the law provides that a naturalized subject may, for example, hold a selection; but if his certificate be .withdrawn, in the .absence of this provision, the first man coming along will be able to “ jump “ his selection. The clause is intended to affirm that the mere withdrawal of a certificate of naturalization shall not expose the property of the denaturalized subject to any such danger. I do not think that the Government have .been fearful of exercising their rights over property held by aliens where it has been in the public interests to exercise them. But I should not like to see the property of aliens left without any protection whatever. I fear that there would be a tendency on the part of some individuals to take advantage of the position. I ask the Committee to agree to the clause as it stands.
.- -Can the Vice-President of the Executive Council point me to any Statute under which the Government could act if the W.ar Precautions Act were no longer in existence? We have to recollect that when this Bill becomes law, it will be of a permanent character. Now it specifically provides that nothing in it shall affect the property rights of any alien. When the War Precautions Act ceases to operate, the Government will, therefore, have no power to touch an alien’s property.
– Does the honorable senator desire his property to be forfeited ?
– No. But I want the Government to have full power to control it. My point is that they have no power to do so, outside of the War Precautions Act.
– Yes, they have all the power of the “civil Courts if a man has done wrong.
– He must have done wrong, otherwise his certificate of naturalization would not be forfeited.
– His certificate may be withdrawn if we have reason to doubt his bona, fides.
– ‘His certificate of naturalization will not be withdrawn by the Governor-General if a mere doubt exists as to bis bona fides.
– We put men in internment camps on suspicion. Senator SENIOR. - But we do not go so far as to revoke their certificates of naturalization. I hold that the Government should reserve to themselves the same powers in respect of an alien’s property as they reserve to themselves in respect of individuals. It may be necessary for them to hold such property for the benefit of an alien’s wife and family.
– I confess that I cannot indorse the views that have been expressed by Senator Senior. We have to remember that in this Bill we are not dealing exclusively with enemy aliens. I can quite conceive of an American resident in Australia taking out naturalization papers, and subsequently doing something which, though not of a criminal nature, might justify the Government in forfeiting his naturalization rights. But if we take his pro perty from him, what will the American nation say of us? It will say that we took action for the purpose of grabbing his property. I repeat that we are not dealing merely with enemy aliens, but with aliens who may be very friendly to us. An alien in our midst may be a man seventy years of age> whose sole means of livelihood is a return from a little bit of property. He cannot get the old-age pension. Are we to allow him to starve? 1 think that we should retain the clause in its present form.
– If Senator Senior’s proposition were adopted, it seems to me that a great deal of harm would result. Take the case of an Australian woman who has married an American who returns to his own country, and again becomes an American citizen. In such circumstances, whatever property the woman might own would not be subject to the protection that is usually accorded to property by reason of the fact that she had already sacrificed her nationality.
– Read the clause again.
– Her property would, therefore, be subject to confiscation.
– The honorable senator is setting up a positive, whereas the provision to which I have called attention, sets up a negative.
– I have outlined a case which might conceivably occur. In the circumstances, I would advise Senator Senior not to move in the direction he has indicated.
– Tn reply to the remarks of Senator Guy, I would direct his attention to the first part of the clause, which provides that, if it is proved to the satisfaction, of the Governor-General that a certificate cif naturalization has been obtained by any untrue statement, the Governor-General may revoke such certificate of naturalization. Then sub-clause 2 provides -
Where a certificate of naturalization is revoked, the Governor-General may, by Order, declare that the wife of the person whose certificate is revoked, and any minor children of that person who have acquired British nationality pursuant to this Act, shall cease to be British subjects, and such persons shall thereupon become aliens; but, save as in this subsuction provided, the nationality of the wife’ and minor children of a person, whose certificate is revoked, shall not be affected by the revocation, and they shall remain British subjects:
Provided that it shall be lawful for any such wife, within six months after the date of the Order of revocation, to make a declaration of alienage, and, on making that declaration, she and any minor children of her husband and herself, who have acquired British nationality pursuant to .this Act, shall cease to be British subjects, and shall become aliens.
Can it be seriously suggested that the Governor-General would revoke a certificate of naturalization to enable him to declare the wife and progeny of any man to be aliens? Yet that might be argued just as logically as was the contention put forward by Senator de Largie. I say that if the circumstances are so serious as to induce the Governor-General to revoke a certificate of naturalization, the Government should hold any property which such alien may possess, for the benefit of his wife and children. If a naturalized American, who has married an Australian woman, returns to his native land, and again becomes an American citizen, thereby forfeiting his naturalization in Australia, any property that he may possess here should be held in trust for the benefit of his wife and children.
– While it is clearly necessary that there should be power to revoke the naturalization of a naturalized subject, the difficulty raised by Senator Senior is that we have no law giving the Government power to forfeit the property of a denaturalized person, which should be forfeited. I suggest that the difficulty might be overcome by inserting after the word “ section,” in sub-clause 3, the words “ unless by order of the Governor-General.” That would give the Governor-General, or the Government, power under certain conditions to order that the forfeiture of citizen rights should carry with it also the forfeiture of property.
– I should be willing to accept that amendment.
– I submit it only as a suggestion. I realize that if the sub-clause were amended in that way it would put an enormous power into the hands of the Government, because property of very great value might be involved. A wealthy man, or the members of a wealthy company, might place them selves in such a position as to justify the revocation of their naturalization, and the Government, in revoking it, might, if the clause were amended as suggested, say that the whole of the property held by those persons should be forfeited to the Crown.
– Quite right, too.
– It would be quite right, if there was good reason for it.
– Such an amendment would require a re-drafting of tb* clause.
– No, I think a reference to previous clauses will show that it would be in conformity with their drafting, but I have to admit that it would give extraordinary powers to the Governor-General, who would really be the Government of the day.
”. - I wish to say another word or two about this clause, which is so typical of the drafting with which we are becom-ing familiar in this Parliament, and which is understood in one way by lawyers and in another way by laymen. There are two ways of holding property - one as a British subject and the other as an alien - yet, under the clause as it stands, a naturalized British subject whose naturalization is revoked would continue, although an alien, to hold’ his property as a British subject. If I had been called upon to draft this provision I should have put it in this way -
The property of a British subject who has ceased to be a’ British subject under this clause shall be dealt with as if it were the property of an alien.
The Vice-President of the Executive Council seems to fear that if a man lost his naturalization rights he would have also to lose his property. I understand that the object of the sub-clause to which exception is taken is to preserve his rights to his property.
– To prevent a property penalty following under a Naturalization Bill.
– On the cancellation of the naturalization of a naturalized British subject under this clause he ceases to be a British subject, and again becomes an alien. In those circumstances, he should only continue to hold his property in the same way as an alien may hold property. I am not sure what an alien’s property rights are, but if a man becomes an alien under this clause, why should he not hold his property as an alien, and not as a British subject ? If the provision were stated as I have suggested, any one could understand it, but no one can understand the clause as it stands.
.- Could the Minister not see his way to accept the amendment suggested by Senator Earle. I agree with Senator Senior when he says that the negative is provided for, and if the positive were provided for by the acceptance of Senator Earle’s suggestion, no injustice could be inflicted.
– I do not know whether my memory is playing me false, but, listening to this appeal to give this power to the Governor-General, which means to the Minister, it comes back to me like an echo that the walls of this chamber were only very recently ringing with a denunciation of a proposal to trust the Minister with power in a matter which might have involved the spending of a few hundred pounds upon a survey. The power which honorable senators appear to be willing to give the Minister under this clause might involve very large sums of money indeed. If the property of a person whose naturalization is cancelled is to be placed in the hands of the GovernorGeneral, which means in the hands of the Minister, there should be some indication as to what is to be done with it. Honorable senators must remember that if the Minister withdrew a certificate of naturalization under this clause, he would, under the amendment suggested, be placed in charge of property, it might be, of very considerable value, and with no indication as to what he should do with it. That would be a very unsatisfactory position. I ask the Committee to accept the clause as it stands, and leave it to the Government to meet conditions as they arise by some remedy which can be shown to be right in the circumstances.
– Why is subclause 3 necessary at all?
– It is an honest and frank declaration that, where we withdraw the certificate of naturalization of any person property held by him shall be subject only to the same conditions as property heid by other persons in the community in a similar position.
– I desire that the provision in sub-clause 3 of this clause shall be made less nebulous than it is at the present time. Senator Fairbairn has rightly said that property is held in twoways - by a British subject or by an alien. Property is held by an alien under conditions differing from those under which it is held by a British subject. When the certificate of naturalization of a naturalized subject is cancelled his property, if he is to continue to hold it, should be held by him as an alien. I am prepared to move that Sub-clause 3 be left out, with a view to substitute for it the words suggested by Senator Fairbairn -
The property of a British subject who has ceased to be a British subject under this clauseshall be dealt with as if it were the property of an alien.
I point out that, as an outcome of the war, it may be found desirable to impose differential taxation upon aliens and upon property held by them. If that course were followed, a man who became an alien under this clause would retain his rights to the ownership of his property, while he should have only the rights to which he would be entitled as an alien.
– I should prefer the omission of the sub-clause to the substitution for it of the words the honorable senator has suggested.
– I shall be satisfied if the sub-clause is omitted. I move -
That sub-clause 3 be left out.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8: -
Section 12 of the principal Act is amended by adding at the end of sub-section 1 thereof the following paragraph: - “and (e) cause to be published in the Gazette from time to time a list of persons naturalized with their addresses.”
Section proposed to be amended - 12. (1) The Minister shall - (a) Enrol as of record memorials of all certificates of naturalization granted under this Act.
– Does this mean that a list is to be published of persons when they are naturalized, or that a list is to be kept of all naturalized British subjects and published from time to time?
– I take it that as people are naturalized a notification of their naturalization will appear in the Gazette. It is not the intention that a roll, like an electoralroll, should be continually reissued. The applications for naturalization ordinarily go through in batches, and are gazetted. Having been gazetted once, I think that that is all that is required.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
The following paper was presented: -
Land Tax Assessment Act 1910-1914. - Fifth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Land Tax, Year 1914-15.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I asked a question this morning regarding action taken by the British Government in relation to the dilution of labour in munition works. The Minister told me that the meaning of the cable was that the British Government would not enforce the dilution of labour in private firms. Nearly all the munition factories in Great Britain are in the hands of private firms. I commend the British Government for their action. Our Government would be wise to follow their example by showing a little tolerance to the worker, and not enforcing the dilution of labour in their new shipbuilding scheme. If the New South Wales Government had shown a little more consideration for the men, they would not have the great Labour upheaval that they have to-day. In the Old Country, the British Government have, on every occasion, attempted, by conciliation, and by meeting the men, to get over all Labour troubles, and, so far, have been successful; but the New South WalesGovernment show no tolerance or considera tion, and enforce conditions that are not enforced even in America. Under the new war scheme in America, that source of sweating has now been deleted, so that the men will have nothing to complain of. Before the Commonwealth Government causes trouble with unionists, it should- follow the example of the British Government by not forcing on them conditions which they dislike. I am not going to discuss the merits of the strike. It is a thing that I never believed in, because I always look forward to the solution of Labour difficulties in a better way: The Minister, this morning, seemed to pass off what I said with a bit of a joke ; but, seriously, the example of the British Government could well be followed by all national employers of labour. We find more tolerance among private employers than among Governments when they undertake big works. In my experience, I have never had any big troubles with private engineering firms. All the trouble has been with Governments as employers. When the Government initiate their great shipbuilding scheme, I hope they will meet the men and see if they cannot come to some compromise without putting the hateful dilution-of -labour method upon them. A standanddeliverpistolatthehead attitude, such as is taken up by the Government, is not the way to meet them. I trust that, like the British Government, they will try to meet them in a spirit of conciliation and toleration.
.- I asked the Minister for Defence, some time ago, toconsider the action of the censors in refusing to the Sydney Workernewspaper the right to republish articles that had been published in other newspapers. He asked me to supply instances. I have here a copy of the Queensland Worker, of 21st June, 1917, republishing an article from Justice, a British paper, on “ The Campaign in the Dardanelles.” This was also published in the Maoriland Worker. I shall place these in the hands of the Minister for Defence, so that he may make inquiries to ascertain why exceptional treatment has been meted out to the Sydney Worker.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.53 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 August 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170817_SENATE_7_82/>.