2nd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
STATEMENTS BY MR. CARRUTHERS.
Senator PULSFORD.- I wish to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, if he will lay upon the table of the Senate, at the earliest possible moment, all correspondence relating to the following two statements made by Mr. Carruthers, Premier of New South Wales, on Friday last : -
In the last Parliament, when they were considering the question of changing the headquarters of the Savings Bank; Mr. Waddell, who was then Treasurer, brought down a Bill to give the Government the power to make a contract for new offices. He stated that they had to remove the
Savings Bank because the Federal authorities’ had told them that they had to shift. The annual cost of that removal would be , £24,000, and that had to be paid out of the interest on the savings of the thrifty people of the State. That could have been avoided, because, as he understood, there was no need to have forced the service out of the post-office building.
During the last month, the Federal authorities had given notice to the auditors who had been doing their work in this State, that their services were to be dispensed with, as the FedeTa-1 Government was establishing a separate department of audit in this State. He had reason to know that Queensland bad entered a strong protest against the establishment of a Federal Audit Department in Queensland, and this State had also entered a strong protest. But in spite of the protests, the Federal Government had decided to have its own departments, and the consequence was that the worthy men who had been doing for years the work of auditing the public accounts were now bundled out of their offices, and the Federal Government was going to do the work with its own officials, brought from anywhere, and at a cost in excess of what the present officers had done it.
Senator PLAYFORD. - So far as I can see, I think that there will be noob jection to laying the papers upon the table. I shall make inquiries, and if there is no objection have them laid upon the table as early as possible. If there is any reason why they should not be tabled, I shall let the honorable senator know to-morrow.
Senator CROFT. - I desire to ask the Minister representing the Treasurer the following question, without notice : -
If he has requested the Government Printer (Mr. Brain) to provide a statement covering a period of twelve months, showing -
(a) the amount of work done for the State of Victoria on the Commonwealth lino, machines;
(b) the amount of work done forthe Commonwealth on the lino, machines;
(c) the amount of wages paid (based on signed pay-sheets) to the lino, operators by the State of Victoria;
(d) The amount of wages paid (based on signed pay-sheets) to the lino, operators by the Commonwealth?
Senator PLAYFORD. - I have been furnished with the following answers: -
(a) 54,845,000 ens.
(b) 140,787,000 ens.
(c) £1,14415s. 3d.
(d) £2,75614s. 5d.
Senator MATHESON. - I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether his attention has been called to a statement made in the Sydney Evening News to the effect that the new Army regulation which was published on the 1st October does not provide for the Military Board to retire at the end of each period of five years, as provided in the cancelled regulations, and if it is not the case, whether he can give me the number of the regulation which deals with the matter ?
Senator PLAYFORD. - I cannot give the number of the regulation, but if my memory serves me aright the Board was appointed for a period of four years, and no alteration has been made in the regulation relating to their appointment. In other words, at the end of the four years they will retire from the position or be re- appointed.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, without notice, whether he has any information as to the progress of the report in the case of Mr. Richmond, of British New Guinea?
SenatorPLAYFORD. - I have no information, but I shall make inquiries, and let the honorable senator know.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether he will be able to-day to lay upon the table a copy of the proposed agreement between Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company, as ordered recently by tne Senate?
– I shall make inquiries, and see whether that can be done.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether, in connexion with the pledge he gave the other day that no further vote would be asked for the up-keep of Government House at Sydney, it is the intention of the Government only to extend the existing agreement up to the 30th June, 1906, so that the Senate may have a free hand in dealing with the matter hereafter?
– I made a distinct promise to the Senate that no further sums would be expended on the up-keep of Government House at Sydney unless provision were made for that purpose by Bill. I understand that the agreement between the two Governments will terminate at the end of the natural year. But we believe that there will be no trouble as regards the up-keep of the building, and the GovernorGeneral being able to make use of it up to the 30th June next; that is, until the end of our financial year. No doubt the provision which has been made for the upkeep of the building until the 30th June, 1906, will be expended, but afterwards 110 expenditure will be incurred, and no binding arrangement will be entered into without the approval of both Houses.
– No arrangement will be made?
– An arrangement may be made, subject to the approval of both Houses.
Assent to the following Bills reported : -
Census and Statistics Bill.
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Bill.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Are all Australian officers who were promoted in South Africa prior to the Commonwealth Order in Council of 8th July, 1901, entitled to full rank?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
No. There was no Order in Council dealing with this matter; but a Cabinet decision, which was subsequently amended by the Cabinet in April, 1902.
A copy of the Cabinet decision of Sth July, 1901, and amendment thereto is appended.
Full details as to the numbers of Officers promoted under the Cabinet decision of the 8th July, 1901, are given in the Minister’s reply to a question by Senator Staniforth Smith in the Senate on the 4th August last. See Ilansard No. 5, page 611.
Decision of Cabinet Communicated by Circular to District Commandants, 8th July, 1901.
The Cabinet having considered the question of promotion of Officers whilst serving inSouth Africa, and the rank that they should hold on their return to the Commonwealth, and having given consideration to the Commandant’s recommendations on the subject, it has been decided that it is undesirable that Officers who have had rank conferred upon them whilst serving in South Africa should be required to forego such rank on their return from South Africa to the Commonwealth.
All Officers, therefore, who were promoted in South Africa shall on return, retain the higher rank as brevet rank in the Military Forces, if belonging to Corps, until they can receive substantive rank in their Corps on being recommended when vacancies occur. Officers, however, holding such brevet rank, shall not be entitled to any pay or allowance of that rank.
In the case of Officers not belonging to a Corps, they may be granted Commissions on the unattached list, with the rank towhich they were promoted in South Africa. (Sgd.) Robert Collins, Captain.
Amendment of Cabinet Decision of 8th July, 1901. Approved by Cabinet, 30th April, 1902, and Communicated to Commandants by Circulars dated 8th May,1902. “ On the recommendation of the General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth, the Cabinet has decided to substitute the word Honorary for Brevet in their minute of 8th July, 1901. “As a further supplement to the minute above referred to, the Cabinet desire that the cases of all officers serving in South Africa should be carefully considered on their return to Australia’, and all such officers who have distinguished themselves, or who have performed services of exceptional value, should be recommended through the necessary official channels to the General Officer Commanding the Military Forces of the Commonwealth for his consideration. The General Officer Commanding should then submit those cases which hemay consider deserving of promotion or reward.”
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What is the amount of salary at present paid the Postmaster at Mount Barker, South Australia?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is - £210 per annum, less£21 for rent of quarters.
Federal Capital Site.
– In accordance, sir, with the notice I communicated toyou in writing, I beg to move that the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at 2 p.m., with a view to consider a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the position of the question of the Federal Capital, especially with regard to a speech delivered by Mr. Carruthers on Friday last.
Four honorable senators having risen in their places,
– I understand, sir, that under the Standing Orders it is not permissible for an honorable senator to anticipate a discussion. The Government have given notice of their intention to introduce a Bill dealing with the subject.
– Not in the Senate.
– The honorable senator is really anticipating the discussion on the Bill.
– The Bill is noi on the notice-paper, and may not reach the Senate. During the present session, I have been silent about the Capital site, but in consequence of remarks made by Mr. Carruthers last_Friday, I think it is desirable to refer to the matter, and, in view of the stage of the session we have reached, I propose to be as brief as possible. I would remind honorable senators that the Constitution in section 125 distinctly provides that the Capital shall be in New South Wales. Naturally that State claims the fulfilment of the provision ; but I venture to say that it is not making the claim so much on the ground of. constitutional right as on the ground of the justice upon which it is based. The settlement which was come to in that regard was based entirely on the logic of population. If we take the figures for Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, we find that the aggregate population of those four States is considerably below the population of New South Wales, and that ittakes the whole of the population of those four States, and more than one-ninth of the population of Victoria,to reach the total of the population of New South Wales. It is on that ground that it was decided that the capital should be in that State.
– Was it not a compromise ?
– I have not hesitated to say in this Chamber that had the condition been without justification, I should have been prepared to ignore it, and even to ask for its repeal. I have said before to-day that I am proud of the historical record of New South Wales, inasmuch as her policy in regard to her business relationships with the other States has always been a friendly one, based on generous lines.
– What about the war of railway rates; was that friendly?
– I wish to point out that the special provision in the Constitution, embodied in section 125, was the result of a resolution agreed to by the Premiers’ Conference that met in Melbourne in 1899. I quote the following sentence from the resolution referred to : -
Provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city.
The reference is, of course, to Sydney-
– Who said that?
– That was tha decision of the Conference of Premiers that met in Melbourne in January, 1899.
– That is not in the Constitution.
– What were the exact terms of the resolution?
– I thought to save time, but perhaps I had better read the resolution -
Federal Capital. - With regard to the Federal Capital, the Conference reported thus -
It is considered that the fixing of the site of the capital is a question which might well be left to the Parliament to decide ; but, in view of the strong expression of opinion in relation to this matter in New South Wales, the Premiers have modified the clause so that, while the capital cannot be fixed at Sydney, or in its neighbourhood, provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city. Accordingly, the request of New South Wales that the capital should be in that colony was granted, but with two conditions which Victoria insisted upon : - 1. That it should not be within 100 miles of Sydney. 2. That the Parliament should sit in Melbourne until it met at the seat of Government.
That was the resolution agreed to by the Premiers’ Conference that finally settled this matter. Honorable senators will notice that there are two conditions mentioned ; the first, that the Capital should be in New South Wales, and the second that it should be not less than 100 miles from Sydney, but still within a reasonable distance from that city.
– There is nothing about a reasonable distance from Sydney in the Constitution.
– Where is that said?
– I have read the reference twice.
– It does not matter what the honorable senator has read; the question is : What is in the Constitution ?
– I am obliged to the honorable senator. I shall refer to that point later on. The resolution deals with these two points, that the Capital should be established in New South Wales, and should not be within 100 miles of Sydney. But the agreement on which it was based contains also the words, “ Provision is made in the Constitution for its establishment in New South Wales at a reasonable distance from that city.” I have been glad to find that one honorable senator is entirely ignorant of that fact. I take it that whether the whole of the conditions were finally embodied in section 125 of the Constitution or not, so long as they were agreed to by the representatives of the different States, the one fact will be held to have equal weight with the other.
– No, the Constitution has the force of law, and the resolution has not.
– The Constitution was submitted to the people, and the resolution was not.
– The Honorable senator is merely quoting Quick and Garran’s comment upon the section.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon. I quoted the actual resolution passed by the Premiers’ Conference. Now, what was the view taken in regard to this matter by public men? I propose to put one witness into the box, in the person of the honorable and learned gentleman who is to-day Prime Minister of the Commonwealth. On the 29th June, 1899, Mr. Deakin, speaking in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, on the Australasian Federation Enabling Act Amendment Bill, referred at considerable length to the question of the capital, and from his speech, I propose to take four extracts, of which this is the first -
Much as I owe to Melbourne, my native city, where I have spent my life, and to which I owe all possible loyalty and obligation, I should vote as an elector of the Federal Parliament against any proposal to retain the Federal Legislature here more than’ its due time. I do not think that it will be attempted to be so detained.
– Hear, hear; the only persons retaining it now are the members of the New South Wales Government.
– This is the second quotation I make -
Since a special district has been sot apart for the Federal Capital, I may say that, so far as I have any knowledge of the feeling of the electors of Melbourne, and of the feeling of the members of this House, as well as o’f the Victorian representatives at the late Convention, there will be no. attempt to keep the capital in Melbourne one single day longer than is necessary. I believe this colony would feel that such conduct constituted a breach of faith. The people of Victoria would be ashamed to cherish such a prospect, and would resent any such statement as an aspersion on their honour. Be that as it may, there stands in the Bill a provision that the capital shall be within New South Wales, and I take it that the Parliament will be removed thither as soon as a site can be selected, and that will be before any lengthy period has elapsed.
This is the third quotation I make from the speech -
The Federal Capital, I hope, will be created at an early date on the most suitable site, not situated so as to be under provincial or metropolitan influences, but sufficiently in the interior to give a guarantee to the great ..’.. of the people of Australia that their interests will be considered apart from the overshadowing influences of any town, class, or caste. I believe that the Federal. Capital can be founded in temporary fashion within three or four years of the establishment of the Commonwealth, and I hope to sec it during that period able to accommodate the Federal Parliament and its Executive.
The fourth quotation I make is as follows : -
It is agreed on all sides that the Federal Parliament will remain in Melbourne no longer than is absolutely necessary.
These extracts from the speech delivered by Mr. Deakin make the matter very clear. I have only to add that I do not think that Mr. by other utterances, and similar utterances by other men, were repudiated by public men, either in “Victoria or in any other State. It was under this inducement, and with the full knowledge of these statements, that New South Wales accepted the Commonwealth Bill. It was in a belief in what was said that the people of New South Wales said “Yes” at the Referendum. It was with the expectation that the promise would be fulfilled, and that the interests of New South Wales would be absolutely safe that the people of that State entered into the Federation, although the Constitution provided for a Senate in which New South Wales would be represented by only six members, whilst a population less in the aggregate than hers would be represented by twenty-four members, because it was divided between four different States. Surely the trust of New South Wales was justified, and representatives of the other States are prepared to show that it was justified? It will be observed that the utmost limit of time mentioned by Mr. Deakin in the quotations I have given was three or four years. Within that period, at the utmost, Mr. Deakin expected not only that the Capital Site would be selected, but that the Federal Parliament and its Executive would actual Iv be located there.
– He must have been very sanguine.
– Mr. Deakin never reckoned on a Mr. Carruthers.
– Very likely. About five years have passed, and we know what the position is to-day. There has come gradually to the front a certain force - I do not know how strong it may be, but it has its mouthpiece in the Age, and this newspaper stated not very long ago that fifty years hence will be early enough to’ think about translating the head-quarters of the Federation from Melbourne to its. own Capital. I ask honorable senators if, on this bare recital of the facts, they do not think there is some justification for annoyance in New South Wales - that there is even .some ground for the use of strong language, and some excuse to be made for the rather heated speech delivered on Friday last by Mr. Carruthers?
– Can the honorable senator excuse the gag?
– That speech was absolutely inexcusable.
– The gag was not the speech. As I think honorable senators well know, I for one deprecate the use of the gag, and I think that on the occasion referred to it was a very ill-advised act to bring it into force. I point out that Mr. Carruthers did not refer to the fact that New South Wales is herself partly responsible for the present position.
– We have chosen the site; why does not New South Wales give us the land?
– It was proposed time after time by the Barton Government to indicate the sites which we wished to have considered, but the See Government in New South Wales maintained an obstinate silence. Then it has to be remembered that two New South Wales representatives - Sir William Lyne and Mr. Austin Chapman - representing border constituencies, fought keenly for their own individual electorates, without reference to the condition about a reasonable distance from Sydney, and ignoring also the wishes of the majority of the people of New South Wales. Further,, the reports of the two Commissions appointed to consider the question left much to be desired from the point’ of view of New South Wales. One was appointed by New South Wales and one by. the Federal Government.
– The New South Wales Commission recommended the site that this Parliament adopted.
– These matters all tended to delay, and in bare justice they should have been recognised by Mr. Carruthers. There is another matter. Honorable senators will remember,, that in the Senate I have most frankly recognised the honesty of those members of Parliament who have asked for information as to expenditure. The years we have passed through have not been years when the representatives of any State would have been justified in overlooking the necessity for economy. Two or three years ago I suggested the wisdom - nav the necessity - of a scheme of finance being arranged to cover a given number of years, and under which modest buildings could be constructed which ultimately could be superseded by larger and more imposing structures. To fail to recognise the honesty of opponents is not uncommon in( politics, but it has not been a failure of mine; and I have always deemed that Tasmania, for instance - which is struggling gallantly in the face of a very difficult financial position - is thoroughly justified in asking, when this Federal Capital business is pushed forward, what .it means as a matter of finance. The framers of the Constitution thought only of building with borrowed money. We have advanced, and, as I think, happily advanced, under that system of finance. But it brings difficulties with it. The cash system must be faced in all its details. These are some of the points which I think in all fairness must be remembered by those who study the subject. In these few remarks, I have, I think - as I said I would! - briefly traversed the main points connected with the subject. Mr. Carruthers has referred to a large number of matters in respect of which New South Wales has suffered, and under which it is, perhaps, natural that he and his Ministers should smart. I do not desire to go into those matters, except to say that I think that Mr. Carruthers’ picture is over coloured. I have thought it to be my duty to refer to this subject in order to make clear the salient points, and also in the hope, and with the expectation that I should elicit from honorable senators an expression of their willingness to do all that is necessary in the most friendly spirit to carry out the conditions of section 125.
– I consider that it is a gross abuse of the particular standing order under which Senator Pulsford has taken action for him to occupy a lot of time in relation to a matter with which we are all familiar, when he knows that the Government have promised to bring in . a measure dealing with it. He knows perfectly well that when that measure comes, before the Senate, he will have every opportunity to state his views.
– I rise to order. Is Senator Playford iti order in saying that Senator Pulsford has grossly abused our standing order? If he has clone so, you, sir, are the proper person to call him to order.
– I think that Senator Playford is quite within his rights in saying that the action t!aken is an abuse of the standing order, but perhaps it would have been better if he had not said that it was “a gross abuse.”
– I will withdraw the word ‘ ‘ gross “ if it is offensive. I think I have given sufficient reasons why the action taken is an abuse. The Government has promised to bring in a Bill dealing with the question, and when it comes before us every honorable senator will have an opportunity to make a speech. There was no necessity to take up Ministerial time in dealing with it - this afternoon. There are only one or two points to which it is necessary for me to refer. Senator Pulsford has alluded to the words “ within a reasonable distance from Sydney.” I point out that those words are not contained in the Constitution. If we were to take notice of everything that was said by persons who spoke upon or took an active part in the framing of the Constitution we might just as well do away with the Constitution itself. So far as the people of New South Wales are concerned, I believe that the question of the Capital being within a “ reasonable distance from Sydney “ never entered into their minds”. Why was it that the Government of New South Wales gave the Federal Government an opportunity of selecting sites like Bombala, Dalgety, or Tumut, all at the extreme end of New South Wales? Whatever the honorable senator may say about an understanding that the Capital was to be “ within, a reasonable distance from Sydney,” the people of New South Wales themselves, through their Ministers, never accepted that interpretation of the Constitution, or their Government would never have offered us The sites I have mentioned. The position is as plain as possible.- We have chosen pur site. New South Wales will not give us the land. The Government intends to bring in a Bill relating to nlm subject, and Parliament will have to deal with it one way or another. The responsibility for the delay that has taken place rests’ with New South Wales, and not with the Commonwealth Parliament.’ We might have been in the Federal Capital to-day had it not been for the action of New South Wales.
– Considering that’ New South Wales has caused the dead-lock that exists, it is as well to ascertain who took the first step in regard to the selection of the Dalgety site. I have here the volume of Parliamentary Papers containing documents for the first session of this Parliament. I find that the question was first opened by a letter from Sir Edmund Barton, then Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, to Mr. John See, then Premier of New South Wales. The letter was written on the 13th April, 1901. I will ask honorable senators to notice the two points raised by the Prime Minister at that time. The letter is as follows : -
After consultation in Cabinet to-day it was decided that a letter should be written to the Premier of “New South Wales, asking whether the Government of the State of New South Wales is prepared to offer to the Commonwealth, under the provisions of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, any sites for the Federal district or territory within which the Capital of the Commonwealth is to be situated.
It was further decided to intimate that the Federal Government desires to consider offers of tracts of larger area than the minimum pre. scribed in the 125th section of the Constitution Act, and to suggest that, in the meantime, the Government of New South Wales be requested, i the public interest of the whole Commonwealth, to take steps to secure unalienated lands within any areas offered from losing the character of “ Crown lands “ with the section, until a decision in the matter is arrived at. (Sgd.) Edmund BARTON
That letter was acted upon by Mr. John See, who on the 4th of December, 1901, wrote the following minute to the Minister of Lands in New South Wales: -
I think that effect should be given to this request immediately. This will include the proposed sites of Bombala, Yass, and the Canobolas.
So that the first suggestion that Bombala should be considered as a possible site for the Federal Capital came from the Premier of New South Wales. It was the Premier of that State who first suggested the possibility of that site being chosen, and that suggestion was afterwards acted upon by the Federal Parliament.
– That puts that point right out of court.
- Mr. See did more than that. Writing from the Chief Secretary’s office, Sydney, on the 24th April,. 1901, to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, he said -
In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 13th inst., with regard to the site for the Federal Capital of the Commonwealth, I have the honour to submit to your Government the choice of the three sites mentioned in the report of the Royal Commission which was appointed to collect evidence with reference to the suitability of the sites for the purpose.
A copy of that report is now forwarded herewith, and from the appendices attached thereto all particulars as to area, position, water supply, &c, can be obtained.
I desire also to state that if any other site ir» New South Wales be considered by your Government to be more suitable for the purposes of the Federal Capital than those recommended in the report, I shall be glad to receive any further representations from you, and will endeavour, as far as possible, to meet your views.
I further desire to inform you that, pending the decision of the Parliament of the Commonwealth in this matter, steps have been taken to prevent the alienation of Crown lands within any of the three sites recommended by the Commissioner.
I have the honour to be. Sir,
Your most obedient servant, (Sgd.) John See.
Now. is it not rank hypocrisy - is it not an utter sham - when the Commonwealth has acted upon the recommendation made at the very outset of Federation by the New South Wales Premier, in the very name of his Government, without a protest being made bv the New South Wales Parliament, because the See Government remained in office for several months after that - for the Government of New South Wales tr> create a deadlock because we have chosen one of ‘the very sites which thev, at the outset, asked us to choose?
-Col. GOULD (New South Wales). - I think it is very unreasonable for the leader of the Senate to lecture Senator Pulsford for what he has termed a. gross abuse of the Standing Orders. The Standing Orders are provided, not to be abused, but to be used, and: when an honorable senator takes advantage of the privileges they confer upon him-
– You,. Mr. President,, have given your decision and is Senator Gould in order in discussing it?
-The honorable senator is not, I understand, objecting . tothe use of the word ; he is arguing that it is not an abuse to move the adjournment of the Senate.
.- If an honorable senator chooses to exercise any power given to him under the Standing Orders, he has a right to do so without being browbeaten by the leader of the Senate or any one else.
– Where is 1 he urgency ?
– Senator Pulsford has taken his action under the Standing Orders.
– The Standing Orders require urgency. Where is the urgency?
.- The four honorable senators who have supported the motion are the judges of the urgency of it. I protest against any one being permitted to brow-beat” a senator because he is exercising His privileges. It is true that it has been said in the newspapers that the Government intend to have the Capital site question dealt with by a Bill. But where is that Bill? So far as we know it is not in existence. We learnt from the newspapers the other day that Mr. Deakin did not even know whether the Bill would he ready this week or next week. We do not know whether the Senate will ever see it. Even though it may be introduced iin another place, it may never reach the Senate. Therefore, Senator Pulsford has properly brought this matter forward in order to show that there is a strong desire on the part of at least some members of the Senate that definite action should be taken in connexion with the matter, and without delay.
– We have taken our steps.
.- The Government assures us that it is taking steps, but we do not know that the measure will ever come before this Chamber. If the honorable senator had waited for the Bill, he might have been blocked of the opportunity to make observations which he considers pertinent, and which ought to be brought under the notice of the public. I have always said that it is a great pity New South Wales was not alive to her position at the particular juncture referred to by Senator Pearce, and did not definitely offer a site to the Commonwealth Government. Had that been done, this question would, I feel, have been settled long ago.
– Three sites were offered by the New South Wales Government.
– But how were the sites offered? The New South Wales Government appointed a Commissioner to examine the State and report, and the Commissioner did report on three sites - Bombala, Yass, and Orange. These sites were never submitted to the New South Wales Parliament, nor to the people of that State, but were simply reported upon by an officer, who, it was known,, would deal with the matter in the way he considered best in the interests of the Commonwealth, and, I presume, the interests of the State. I want honorable senators to realize that these sites were never accepted or indorsed by the Parliament of New South Wales.
– They were never rejected nor objected to.
– Many proposals have never been rejected by the Senate, which probably would have been rejected if submitted.
– The New South Wales Parliament took no action.
.- I admit that the See Government and the Parliament at that time were supine in regard to the interests of New South Wales. At the same time, there is no justification for saying “these men ‘ ‘ did so and so ; and I assume that Senator Pearce, in using these words, extended their application to the present Parliament of New South Wales. It must be remembered, however, that Sir John See and his following have been practically wiped out of public life in that State, and that another party altogether is now at the head of affairs.
– Will the present Government and Parliament repudiate a public obligation ?
– The present Parliament is. assumed to represent the people of New South Wales, and it has said definitely and distinctly that it will offer three sites, not one of which is Bombala or Dalgety.
– Then it is proposed to repudiate an obligation of the State?
.- There is no obligation on the State. If Mr. Deakin were to say that his Government were prepared to abolish the principle of a White
Australia, would Senator Pearce, who believes in that policy, contend that the Commonwealth was pledged ? A country cannot be pledged by the statements of a Prime Minister until those statements have been approved by Parliament on a specific motion. Would Senator Pearce displace the present Commonwealth Government simply because they held some views not in accordance with his own - views which had not been brought before Parliament for consideration?
– It is a case of “silence gives consent.”
– That is a lovely constitutional doctrine !
– If an honorable senator made a statement in which no other honorable senator believed, but did not contradict, would Senator Playford say that in that case “silence gave consent” ?
– That is not the point. New South Wales offered three sites, of which the Commonwealth chose one ; and the State is bound by that offer in the absence of any objections.
– The Commonwealth did not choose the site offered by New South Wales, though I admit that the site chosen is in the same district. The Parliament of New South Wales is not pledged in any way, as is shown by the fact that the Government are willing to introduce another measure, and that honorable members elsewhere talk of doing something in the nature of a compromise
– New South Wales remained quiescent until we chose a site.
.- I admit that New South Wales ought to have offered a definite site; and it was a mistake that that course was not adopted. Mr. Carruthers, in his speech in New South Wales last week, complained bitterly of what he considered the injustice meted out to that State by the Commonwealth. Whether we agree or do not agree with what Mr. Carruthers said, we ought to be above saying that, because the Premier of New South Wales has made an attack, we shall not perform what we consider to be an act of justice as between the State and the Commonwealth.
– But we may say that “we will let Mr. Carruthers wait a while, in order to show a proper resentment.
.- There is. the very feeling to which I refer !
– This is not a question of justice.
.- It is a question of justice not only to New South Wales, but to the Commonwealth generally. If I place myself in direct opposition to every honorable senator, would it be right for them to, therefore, decline to do an act of justice?
– I do not see where the injustice comes in.
– lt has been pointed out times out of number that in New South Wales there is a feeling of irritation because of the delay in selecting the Capital Site. There is also irritation with regard to many other actions done by the Commonwealth Parliament. In some cases this irritation is, in my opinion, justifiable, while in other cases it is not. I do not say that every word Mr. Carruthers uttered was justified.
– I should hope not !
– I simply stand here as a representative of New South Wales, asking honorable senators to do what is fair as between the State and the Commonwealth.
– What does Mr. Carruthers ask the Government to do?
.- What is the Commonwealth Government going to do?
– What does Mr. Carruthers ask us to do ?
.- To hurry the settlement of the Federal Capital Site.
– We have chosen a site.
.- Which the Parliament of New South Wales has disapproved. I assume there is more than one site in New South Wales that can be approved of, even by the Federal Parliament.
– Are we to give up our own choice and take the choice of other people?
.- What is the use of the Minister talking like that? Does he wish to see the Constitution carried into effect ?
– We have carried the Constitution into effect.
– Does the Minister realize that the Constitution Bill was first rejected by New South Wales, and was only accepted when certain concessions, as some honorable senators seem to think, were granted, including a condition that the Capita] Site should be in the State, though not within 100 miles of Sydney ?
– That condition has been carried out, and a site fixed.
.- The condition was inserted at the request of the other Premiers, in order to make the accomplishment of Federation possible. Any lawyer will admit that such a stipulation means within a reasonable distance outside the area of 100 miles. In my opinion, a reasonable distance would mean fixing the Capital, say, anywhere within 200 miles from Sydney.
– A lawyer will say anything.
– Possibly. When the Constitution Bill was accepted byNew South Wales and the other States, there was an honorable understanding, if riot a legal obligation, in regard to the Federal Capital, and I have yet to learn that the people of the Commonwealth are prepared to refuse to carry out a fair and reasonable compact. If New South Wales is dissatisfied with the choice of Dalgety, and ihe Commonwealth can find another site which suit9 our purposes just as well, why not select the latter?
– But we are not going to be whipped and abused into selecting a site !
.- There is no desire that anybody should be whipped or abused into doing anything; all that is desired is to induce the Commonwealth to perform an act of justice, and to remove as far as possible the feeling of irritation that exists. The Commonwealth will never be the success we all hoped it would be unless there is a little give and take on all sides, so that each State may be satisfied that the other members of the Federation will only do what is fair.
– I must ask the honorable and learned senator to take his seat ; his time has expired.
– We have been led to suppose that the selection of the three sites in the first instance was merely that of an individual official, and that there was no indorsement by the New South Wales Government. I remind honorable senators, however, that the site of Bombala was officially reserved by the Government of New South Wales.
– Pending a decision.
- Senator Gould was careful not to mention that the whole of this land at Bombala was reserved from sale to private individuals, in order to enable the Commonwealth Government to acquire the site for Federal purposes. That was an official action by the Government, and was never objected to by a single member of the State Parliament ; and this, in my opinon, amounts to an indorsement by Parliament of the action of the Government. The whole question as to whether the Capital Site should be 100 miles or a little more from Sydney goes by the board, when we remember that a site as far distant as Dalgety was/ still reserved from sale at the very time when the Commonwealth Parliament decided on the latter, and we have had no intimation since then that there was any objection to our having Bombala. Senator Gould states that New South Wales ought to have offered a site.
– A site directly approved bv the State Parliament.
– But if the correct procedure be for the New South Wales Parliament to offer a site, we cannot carry out the intention of the Constitution, which provides that the site shall be chosen by the Commonwealth Parliament. Senator Gould’s interpretation means that the New South Wales Parliament can select a site anywhere not within the joo miles radius ; but no one can possibly contend that that is the intention of the Constitution. I regret to say that, in my opinion, most of the trouble has been caused purely for political purposes. I am very desirous to see this question settled ; and if a Bill be passed enabling the High Court to interpret the Constitution in this connexion, we shall have done something which will, at any rate, clear the atmosphere, and enable definite steps to be taken.
– But I believe Mr. Carruthers slandered the High Court?
– Undoubtedly. New South Wales may have a grievance in that for nearly five years nothing definite has been done towards establishing a Federal Capital, but the delay is absolutely and entirely the fault of the present Premier and Government of New South Wales.
– The weakness of the case of the
New South Wales senators is shown in the fact that Senator Pulsford’s gravest cause of complaint is that the site selected is not within a reasonable distance of Sydney. The grievance of Senator Gould was that the Government had not come forward with another Bill. Is it not preposterous, to make that the . subject of a grievance ? Why is another Bill required? It is required simply because the Government of New South Wales refuse to do what we maintain they are bound to do in the circumstances. Yet the honorable senator would like to make that a grievance, and endeavour to persuade the public that the Federal Parliament is. to blame, when it is clear that the Government of New South Wales are solely to blame. Then the honorable senator asks this question : “ Why not choose .another site?” Is not , that absurd and childish? We spent I do not know how much money in sending expeditions of Members of Parliament round the country like a circus to examine the sites, and as a result of many debates in this and the other House, we eventually came to the conclusion that one site was preferable to all the others. Yet the honorable senator asks this question : “ Why’ not choose another site in the interests of peace and so remove a grievance?” Is that our duty towards the Commonwealth? The honorable senator seems to overlook the fact that we come here to act in the interests of all time and of the whole Continent, and not merely in the interests of a small section called New South Wales.
– We recognise that it is in the interests of the Continent that we have to deal with the matter.
– Surely the honorable senator must recognise the fact that we made a selection, and that, in our opinion, it was made in the interests of the whole Commonwealth ! Yet we are asked to abandon that selection simply because it is not believed to be in the interests of New South Wales, by a small section of its politicians.
– Sometimes honorable senators, gain by reconsidering matters ; sometimes second thoughts are better than first ones.
-After the amount of consideration whch has been given to this subject, and the number of expeditions which have gone out to inspect the sites,, is it possible that we can gain anything? First of all, we had Mr. Oliver’s expedition, which recommended the site originally ; then we had Sir William Lyne’s great circus, which went round with Members of Parliament and examined the site ; and, later on, we had Sir John Forrest’s little private expedition, when he and Col. Owen .went fishing, and satisfied themselves, that the s,ite chosen was excellent. I wish to say a few words on the question of the grievances of New South Wales. Is there a single senator, bar those who represent New South Wales, who believes that there is any grievance on that subject in that State? I do not.
– It would be strange if the honorable senator did.
– He knows more than do the people of New South Wales.
– I am quite prepared for an interjection of that sort, for I am armed with the views of the Right Honorable George Houstoun Reid, who, I suppose, knows something of New South Wales. When he was interviewed by the press, only a day or two ago, about taking a referendum, he s,aid -
I see obvious objections to the course, the principal one being that the result, owing to the general indifference of the people to such matters, may prove a fiasco.
Well, where is. the grievance? Mr. Reid and these other gentlemen from New South Wales know perfectly well that there is no grievance, that the people of that State are absolutely indifferent, and are anxious to see the whole question settled amicably. It is simply a few noisy politicians in the State Parliament who are raising the whole difficulty. This discussion has arisen out of the most extraordinary action taken by Mr. Carruthers, and though the New South Wales representatives have deprecated any allusion to what he said, I think it most desirable to touch upon a few choice phrases that he made use of in dealing with the question, so that they may go into Hansard, and posterity can see exactly the sort of man he was.
– Will the honorable senator say which representative of New South Wales has deprecated any reference to that speech ? I have not.
– The honorable senator asked us not to take any notice of the speech.
– I did not.
– In the course of his speech, Mr. Carruthers said-1 -
Their rights have been denied, and they were trampled under foot when they attempted to assert them. What man with the spirit of manhood in him in New South Wales would tolerate this breach of faith, and the insult which accompanied it?
That is an allusion to our honest endeavours to settle the question.
– He was speaking then- of Victoria and her newspapers.
– Mr. Carruthers went on to say -
Not one foot of land would be given without its consent. If Federal labourites, on the advice of a lawyer, thought they could take 900 square miles of this State’s territory without the consent of the State, they never made a greater mistake in their lives.
Here is this honorable gentleman deliberately flouting the authority of the Federal Parliament under the Constitution. His next grievance was in reference to the Federal Government House in Sydnev.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that the Federal Government House has nothing to do with the subject-matter of this motion for adjournment.
– I understood that we were debating the grievances of New South Wales.
– No: only the question of the Federal Capital Site.
– It is a pity that Senator Pulsford should have left out of his motion any reference to all the other grievances which Mr. Carruthers had to raise. It is well known that in dealing with the Capital Site the situation has become so strained that the Federal Government purpose shortly to bring in a Bill in order that the matter may be submitted to the High Court. In connexion with this reference, Mr. Carruthers made what I call little short of impudent remarks about that tribunal. He complained that he will have to refer this matter eventually to the High Court, and not to the Privy Council. He spoke so strongly on the subject that a Mr. Griffith felt bound to protest in the strongest possible language against his aspersions upon the capacity of that body. Mr. Griffith said -
Mr. Carruthers had impugned the justice and integrity of the. Federal High Court Judges, a course which was out of order and outside public decency, and a depth of degradation to which no one had ever fallen before.
T do not propose to quote any more than that. I wish honorable senators to understand the class of man with whom they have to deal in Mr. Carruthers, who can speak in such a way of the tribunal to which this matter must be referred. And when he asks us to alter our decision in order to remove a grievance, they must bear in mind the class of man in favour of whom we are asked to make the alteration. I for one protest most strongly against any suggestion that we should reconsider our decision. It was given after the most careful deliberation, and should be made binding upon the Government of New South Wales.
– I think that eventually this question, if it is to be settled, will have to be referred to a Royal Commission composed of the representatives of Tasmania in this Parliament, because we should then be able to get an impartial selection which would be satisfactory to the Commonwealth. When I entered the Senate there were several sites submitted for the consideration of Parliament. I, in common with, I think, every other senator, understood that those sites had been submitted by New South Wales for inspection, with a view to afterwards making a selection. We were taunted because we were so long in making a selection. The various sites had their supporters. By one of those curious coincidences associated with politics, each representative of New South Wales supported a site in his own district, and those of us who had not an opportunity of visiting the sites had some trouble in coming to a decision. Speaking for the Parliament as a whole, I believe that it made the selection in the interests of the Commonwealth and of New South Wales, and without any feeling of partiality. I, for one, strongly resent the charge recently made by the Premier of New South Wales, and that we were animated by feelings adverse to the State of New South Wales. I voted for Dalgety because it was adjacent to Twofold Bay, and I thought it was desirable to have a seaport in connexion with the Capital. After, being abused from inside Parliament for some time because we dm not immediately select a site, we are now abused from outside Parliament because we have done so. In this matter, New South Wales has not, I think, a leg to stand upon. According to my view, an Act of the State Parliament was not needed in connexion with the submission of the sites. Since the Constitution Act was accepted by New South. Wales, it seems to me that the Government of that State had power, by Executive act, to offer certain sites, and to reserve certain lands for the purpose of a site for the Federal Capi-tal, to be selected by this Parliament. The position now set up, if it is logically carried out, is that the Federal Parliament should have no choice, but should take whatever should be offered by New South Wales. That seems to me to be preposterous. I regret that the honest endeavours which were being made by some representatives of New South Wales to bring about a settlement of this very much vexed question have been frustrated. When I was asked by Mr. Watson if I would be prepared to reconsider my vote on the question, I said : “ Certainly ; other tilings being, equal, if we can suit New South Wales we ought to try te do so.”
– That is all I am asking.
– Yes ; but the honorable senator expects us to be more than human. Are we going to allow a perky little Premier to threaten secession and all sorts ‘of nonsense, and not to express any resentment ? The action of Mr. Carruthers in the Parliament of New South Wales has done more mischief than anything else could do. I quite agree with Senator Smith that there is something else behind his action. Why did he not, as a member of the New South Wales Parliament, move in the direction of having Dalgety withdrawn from the areas approved for selection? He did nothing of the kind, and now we are to be abused, and called names, because we happen to have done something of which he, and, possibly, a few of his followers do not approve. It is possible that as the result of his action the Federal Parliament will not reconsider the matter this session. Whether it comes on this session or next session, I shall be prepared to endeavour to placate NewSouth Wales, and, if POSSible, to make a better selection than that which we have already made. But it seems to me that we have done no wrong whatever to New South Wales, and if any grievance exists between the Federation and that State, the fault lies with the State, and not with the Federation.
– Since I have been a member of the Federal Parliament, I have found honorable members of both Houses exceedingly anxious to give effect to the section of the Constitution providing for the fixing of the Capital site. All the members of this Parliament to whom I have spoken, or whom I have heard speaking on the matter, have expressed a desire that the site should be fixed as soon as possible, in the way most advantageous and most satisfactory to the Commonwealth. I have personally been exceedingly anxious that as little delay as possible shall take place in the settlement of the question, because I believe the Federal Parliament should have a home of its own. I am one of those who believe that it is not a good thing to have the political capital of the Commonwealth identical with the commercial capital of any State. I am opposed to the Seat of Government remaining so long in Melbourne, just as I should be opposed to its remaining for any length of time in Sydney. I believe that most of the legislation of this Parliament, by reason of the fact that it has sat in Melbourne, has been unduly coloured by Victorian commercial and political feelings and exigencies. I believe that just the same kind of difficulty would have occurred if the Seat of Government had been located in Sydney. That being so, I have been exceedingly anxious, and prepared to do anything within my power, consistent with the interest of the Commonwealth to have this question settled as soon as possible. I believe that I have expressed in this way the feeling of the majority of the members of the Senate. But it is net the Senate or the Federal Parliament that is responsible for the delay. It is New South Wales, or perhaps I should rather say that it is Sydney. I have no wish to refer in detail to the various sites offered to us, but it was felt that the selection of a site in the Monaro district would be acceptable to New South. Wales. In fact. Dalgety was one of the sites most favoured by those appointed to inquire into the matter bv the New South Wales Government. We, therefore, had every reason to believe that our selection of that site would be agreeable to the people of New South Wales. But what has been the result? New South ‘Wales, instead of loyally accepting the decision of the Parliament in carrying out the provision of the Constitution, has thrown every possible difficulty in the way. We have been refused every facility to settle the Capital at Dalgety, where we decided it should be. Now, we have Mr. Carruthers, the Premier of New South Wales, breaking out into a tirade of abuse against the Government and
Parliament of the Commonwealth for doing exactly what the Constitution provides should be done, and for selecting a site which was. offered to us with the full approval of the then Government of New South Wales: I fail to see how any one can contend that the Federal Parliament or Government have in any way deserved such abuse. It appears to me that Mr. Carruthers adopted the well-known legal maxim. and, having no case, decided to abuse the other side. No impartial man will contend that he has a vestige of a case to put before the public. I have no interest in Melbourne or in Victoria, any more than in Sydney or in New South Wales, and I
Can, therefore, consider’ this question quite impartially. As a matter of fact, the site favoured by Mr. Carruthers would suit Queenslanders better than that which has been chosen by the Federal Parliament.
– Which site does he favour ?
– I think that Lyndhurst is. the site which he most favours. He bas entered into a tirade of abuse against this Parliament which no public man in, Australia occupying a similar position would have descended to. If we look at the history of the controversy for some little time past, it mav throw some light upon the attitude of Mr. Carruthers. It should be remembered that twelve months ago this gentleman was. apparently anxious for nothing so much as for some means of referring this vexed question to the High Court. He approached the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth time after time, begging and praying of him to do something which would enable the New South Wales Government to appeal to the High Court. Now that the Commonwealth Government propose to do something which .will enable the New South Wales. Premier to adopt the course which he professed himself so anxious to adopt, Mr. Carruthers squeals like a pig stuck in a gate. In my opinion, this shows that the Premier of New South Wales has not desired a definite settlement of the matter. It appears to me that he had desired something else: that New South Wales should be allowed to settle the question, and that this Parliament should abrogate the functions with which it has been intrusted by the people of New South Wales, under the Constitution. It appears to me that Mr. Carruthers has desired that he should be allowed to gain some little temporary kudos by settling this question for the people of Australia. It will be time enough for him to settle questions for the people of Australia when they give him a mandate to do so. It is possible that he may have some ulterior motive. He might desire, for instance, to distract public attention from his own misdeeds, by diverting it to the alleged misdeeds of the Commonwealth Parliament. That is not an uncommon course for public men to adopt, and, in view of recent revelations in New South Wales, it does, not require a very strong effort of the imagination to suppose that something of that kind may be the matter with Mr. Carruthers. I believe that Dalgety is a good site for the Federal Capital. I have taken the trouble to read the reports on the various sites, have visited most of them, and have tried to get at the facts, and Dalgety appears, to me to be one of the best sites that could be selected, not only in the interest of the Commonwealth, but also in the interest of New South Wales. I believe that the establishment of the Federal Capital there would practically add a new province to New South Wales, as well as to the Commonwealth. If Dalgety and the district around it were opened up, as it would be by the establishment of the Federal Capital” there, it would, in the next twenty-five or thirty years, probably be supporting a population of 250,000 instead of being a sheep-walk,’ as it is at the present time. Most of the district consists of good country, and it has access to what would be an important new port for the great State of New South Wales. However, we know that the people of Sydney desire to drag everything to Sydney. In the mind of Mr. Carruthers, this is not a New South Wales question but purely a Sydney question. Everything must gravitate towards Sydney. All the railways of the State radiate from Sydney, and the people of that city desire that everything shall be dragged to Sydney for the benefit of Sydney merchants and property-owners, and Sydney interests generally, in the interests of New South Wales,’ it would be an excellent thing, if another port w.ere opened in that State, and Twofold Bay, the natural port for Dalgety could, I understand, be made a very fine port. I believe that its development would add greatly to the wealth of New South Wales without doing any undue harm to the port of Sydney.
– There is a big range of mountains to be climbed in order to reach the back country.
– We have surmounted higher mountains with a railway in North Queensland, and surely if the small population of Queensland can build railways of that sort the Commonwealth could build any railway thai might be necessary to provide communication’ between the Federal Capital and the port of Eden? For these reasons, I believe that the Commonwealth Parliament, notwithstanding the squealing of Mr. Carruthers^ would do well to adhere to the decision they have already arrived at. For my part, I may say that if any course can be adopted by this Parliament, without any undue loss of dignity, and without backing down to Mr. Carruthers, which will help forward an early solution of the question, and provide the Commonwealth with an equally satisfactory site for its Federal Capital, I shall be prepared to reconsider my decision. I admit that I should have been more ready to reconsider it if Mr. Carruthers had not indulged in his tirade of abuse, but I shall not allow anything that he has said to influence any action of mine.
– His gun is not loaded, anyhow.
– I believe that if he thought it was, he would be frightened to put it to his shoulder and fire it off.
– The honorable senator thinks that it might kick too much ?
– It might possibly have the effect of kicking him out of power. Senator Pulsford has done good- service in bringing the matter up for consideration, as the Senate is thus given an opportunity to inform Mr. Carruthers of its opinion on the matter. I believe that when that gentleman is seized with the fact that his action is likely to be detrimental to the attainment of the views he has professed he will be sorry that he spoke in the manner he did.
– Were it not for the fact that Mr. G. H. Reid is now leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament, two things would not have happened. First of all, Mr. Carruthers would never have made the speech which he did make in Sydney on Friday last, and probably Senator Pulsford would not have moved the adjournment of the Senate today. I believe that the action taken bv Mr. Carruthers has done much to further delay the settlement of this question. I believe, also that the action taken in the Senate today by Senator Pulsford has been prompted more by party motives than by any desire that the question should be fairly considered. In support of that opinion, I propose to quote from a journal admitted to be favourably disposed towards Mr. Reid. There appears in to-day’s Argus a statement made bv Mr. Reid in an interview with the representative of that newspaper in Sydney on the question of the Federal Capital Site. Most of the right honorable gentleman’s remarks were made in criticism of the action taken by Sir William Lyne.
.- And most of Sir William Lyne’s remarks were in criticism of the action taken bv Mr. Reid.
– I particularly desire to bring under the notice of honorable senators what Mr. Reid has to say at the conclusion of the interview. The Argus reports him to have said - 1 heartily agree with Mr. Joseph Cook that the trouble has come from New South Wales’ representatives in the Deakinite and Labour parties more than from the representatives of the other States.
That is the kernel of the whole question,’ from Mr. Reid’s point of view.
– The honorable senator is surely not going to deny it?
– Certainly I do. There has never been any party aspect in the consideration of the choice of the Capital site by this Parliament. There was never any party action taken in connexion with :the matter in the Senate, and we know that, but for the stand taken by the Senate, Dalgety would not have been chosen. No honorable senator representing New South Wales ‘ can declare that the action taken by the Senate in selecting Dalgety was prompted by party motives. I would ask whether Senator Mulcahy belongs to the Deakinite or Labour Parties? Does Senator Clemons belong to those parties ? I believe the honorable senator would not care to be told that he did. It will not be contended that Senator Dobson belongs to those parties. I believe the honorable senator was not in favour of the selection of any site at the time, but he preferred Dalgety to any other site suggested. Again, Senator Macfarlane cannot be said to be a member of either the Labour Party or the Deakinite Party, yet all these honorable senators voted for Dalgety. While we have honorable senators talking about what Mr. Reid has said, that the whole trouble comes from the Labour Party and the Deakinite Party, it is just -vs well for us to remember that there seems to be at least a suspicion that the action taken by Mr. Carruthers last week, and in the Senate to-day, is prompted as much by party motives as by an actual desire to have the question settled.
– The honorable senator is absolutely wrong in making that statement.
– I think I have done well in bringing under the notice of Senator Gould the fact that the leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives is trying to make party capital out of this question ; and it is my opinion that if Mr. Reid had been Prime Minister, instead of leader of the Opposition, the extraordinary speech of Mr. Carruthers would never have been made. Extraordinary charges levelled at representatives of other States, who have shown that they are actuated by an earnest desire to have the question settled, would not have been made either. I am one who is anxious to see the question settled. I voted for Dalgety after having seen the Bombala country and all the other sites, except Tooma and Lake George, because I came to the conclusion that it was the best site in the interests of the whole of Australia. My chief reasons for voting for Dalgety were, first, that it was within reasonable distance of a port, and, secondly, that there was a chance there of obtaining a large area of land, which I think is necessary in the interests of Australia. The great question which has agitated the minds of the people in all the States in reference to the Federal Capital is that of expense. We have been repeatedly told that Australia cannot stand the expense of erecting a Federal Capital. A number of us came to the conclusion that if we could secure a large area of land around Dalgety, there would be a very fair chance of making the Federal Capital selfsupporting; that is to say, that the increased value given to the land by the establishment of the Capital there would, within a very few years, make the Capital selfsupporting. It would not then be a burden upon the taxpayers. But as one of those who voted for Dalgety, I have recently been asked whether I should be inclined to reconsider the whole question. It has been put to me in this way : “ If you can be satisfied that a sufficiently large area of reasonably good land can be obtained around another site, giving free access to as good a port as Twofold Bay, would you be prepared to reconsider your decision in favour of Dalgety”? I said, “Yes.” I have not gone the length of saying that I should be in favour of accepting the Lake George site. But as one who is anxious to see the question settled, and-who recognises that the delay is a source of friction between the Parliament of New South Wales and the Parliament of the Commonwealth - friction which has been largely brought about by the action of New South Wales - I should be willing to reconsider the question, if the new site which has been put forward offers the same advantages, in my opinion, as does Dalgety. But I shall have to be satisfied that it does offer equal advantages. Just when a movement was in progress amongst members of Parliament for the reconsideration of the question, we were suddenly confronted with the extraordinary speech of Mr. Carruthers, which heaps entirely undeserved insults upon the representatives of other States. In view of the attitude of Mr. Carruthers, I do not feel anxious that any further steps should be taken in connexion with the matter. It would be a good thing for the Premier of New South Wales to have a little time to calm himself down, and to come to a more reasonable frame of mind. It will be an advantage to give him an opportunity to take a more Federal view of the question than he now seems to do. I am not sorry that Senator Pulsford has brought the matter before the Senate, although the whole subject is likely to be gone over again between now and the end of the session. No doubt the discussion has been useful in clearing the air a little bit in advance of the debate which will take place later.
– I am sure1 that amy one who is familiar with the Capital Site question will come to the conclusion that there was no justification whatever for the remark of Mr. Reid that it has been dealt with from a party point of view, and I am sorry that any member of the Senate should try to insinuate that a party complexion has been given to it either by the Government or the Labour Party, as some interjections seem to indicate. If there is one question before the Federal Parliament which is non-party in ils nature, il is that concerning the Capital site. It has been dealt with in a very reasonable way. This Parliament has shown every desire io effect a settlement. A very large amount of time and consideration have been given to it. Members of this Parliament have travelled considerably, and taken a great amount of trouble, to acquaint themselves with d;e merits and demerits of the various sites proposed. In every way Parliament has shown itself anxious to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. I remember that when we were travelling in New South Wales, the press of that State did not treat us in a way that could be regarded as in any sense friendly. Ever since then there has been a disposition of unfriendliness on the part of a section in New South Wales towards this Parliament. Now we have the Premier of the State taking up an attitude that has done more harm in the way of preventing definite action being taken than anything that I can imagine/ and doing so just at the very moment when there was a desire on the part of members of this Parliament generally to see whether there was a way out of the difficulty that had arisen. I know that steps were being taken to bring about a settlement ; but, in the face of the resolution carried by both Houses of the New South Wales Parliament, practically amounting to a threat, I say that nothing can be done now until that threat is withdrawn. That is the attitude which I intend to take up. I put the blame for whatever delay there may be in the future in the settlement of the question, on the shoulders of Mr. Carruthers. There is but one attitude that this Parliament can assume in the face of his threat. A self-respecting Parliament can do no other than insist that that threat must be withdrawn before we take any further step. I trust that both branches of the Legislature will view the matter in that light. It will be a lesson to these people that they have gone too far in threatening a Parliament which has shown an earnest desire to deal with the question in a practical and satisfactory fashion.
– I can hardly refrain from expressing my surprise not only at the extraordinary attitude taken up by the New South Wales Premier and his Parliament, but that that attitude should be persevered in by honorable senators from New South Wales.
– No; that is a mistake. I repudiate that.
– If I am mistaken, I apologize; but I understood that every New South Wales senator was more or less in sympathy with Mr. Carruthers. It ought to be clear to every one that the delay that has taken place in dealing with the Federal Capital question is not due to the Federal Parliament. The Constitution has given the people of Australia, through their representatives in Parliament, the right to choose the site for the Federal city. This Parliament has availed itself of that power. It lost no time in doing so. Indeed, a great number of people seemed to think that we rather hurried than otherwise. In any case,, we have done what the Constitution demand’s. As pointed out byother honorable senators, we did not go searching for a Capital site on our own account, but visited the places singled out for us by the New South Wales Government. We examined each one in detail, and finally determined on a particular site; and the Federal Parliament and Government have done everything that ought to be expected1. But how have the New South Wales Government met the Federal Government? In a Federal spirit? No; anything more contemptible, more arrogant, more unFederal than the attitude of Mr. Carruthers and his Parliament it is scarcely possible to conceive. I am not very sure whether the New South Wales people are really in earnest. It has been stated in a newspaper that the closure was applied during the debate, so that members might go to a dinner given by Lord Jersey. They were apparently more concerned about dining with Lord Jersey than having the important question of the Federal Capital discussed exhaustively. That incident throws a little light on the subject. It appears to me that somehow our New South Wales friends are making far too much noise about the question. I have read of people who try to divert blame from themselves by raising a row about something which has no particular reference to the question in hand ; and I am very doubtful whether these tactics have not been attempted by the New South Wales Government at the present moment. In any case, I do not see what the Senate can do to help our friends in New South Wales. We have chosen the site and done our part, and it is now for the people of New South Wales to do their part. I can hardly believe that the electors of the State are in agreement with the New South Wales Government on this matter. I can scarcely conceive of people in any portion of the Federation being s,o unFederal - so selfishly and1 stupidly unFederal as Mr. Carruthers and his friends would make it appear. Mr. Carruthers, unfortunately, from my point of view, is the chief exponentor representative of public opinion in that State at the present time, and what he says, I suppose, we must take as the view of people. But it is, not likely that the people of Australia will ever permit New South Wales to thrust any particular site clown their throats. New South. Wales, from the beginning, has shown herself to be extremely selfish. In the first instance, New South Wales insisted on theCapital being situated within her territory, though not within 100 miles of Sydney. Was that not an extremely selfish stipulation to insert in the Federal bargain? What right has New South Wales, any more than any other State, to have the Capital within her borders ?
– As the people assented to the Constitution containing that stipulation, we do not complain of it now.
– I know that perfectly well ; I am merely pointing out that, from the very beginning, New South Wales has apparently been actuated by the meanest and most sordid motives. Unfortunately for us, instead of becoming more Federal, New South Wales is becoming less and less Federal ; and unless she can arrogate to herself all the power, influence, honour, glory, and cash, she threatens to secede. Well, that is a frame of mind that requires a good douche of cold water. Neither the Government nor the Parliament of New South Wales appears in a very decent light before the people of Australia, who, wherever they are, must regard with amazement and sorrow the position taken up by that State - amazement that any section should attempt to arrogate to themselves powers and privileges to which they have no right, and should be distinctly so unFederal. Certainly there is not much brotherly love and affection displayed in this business on the part of New South Wales. Like SenatorO’ Keefe, I was prepared, in the interests of peace, to consider another site. The question of substituting Lake George on certain conditions was mentioned to me, and, in order to promote the settlement of the question, I said I was willing to give the matter further consideration. But I do not see how I can do that now. The Premier of New South Wales has come forward like a bandit or highway robber-
– I do not think the honorable senator should use such expressions in regard to the Premier of New South
Wales. The expressions are too strong, and very improper.
– Then I apologize to the bandit and highwayman.. In any case, the Premier of New South Wales has come forward and presented his pistol, though I am not sure whether it is loaded,’ and I am inclined to think it is not. At any rate, Mr. Carruthers, if he has not the power, has the desire and the will to coerce us; and we refuse to be coerced. I voted for Dalgety deliberately, because I thought it the best of all the sites I visited, and I am going to adhere to my decision. I am not prepared to reopen this question until the resolution of the New South Wales Parliament is withdrawn, and Mr. Carruthers makes a humble and sufficient apology. That is exactly the position in which I stand at the present moment, and it is just as well that our friends from New South Wales should understand our attitude. I believe that a large number of other honorable senators hold exactly the same opinions as those I have expressed. I trust that for the honour of New South Wales, and in the interests of peace and harmony, which ought to prevail in Australia, we have seen the last of this unFederal spirit. I hope that New South Wales will take its right and proper position, and, by granting the territory within, which the Federal Parliament desires the Federal Capital to be situated, conform to the expressed will of the people of Australia.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - I have no reason to be dissatisfied with the result of the motion. Honorable senators could not fail to notice my earnest desire, as a member of the New South Wales delegation, not to be regarded as indorsing the remarks, made in the State Parliament last week. The action of honorable senators in both Houses in regard to this question of the Capital site has been free from party influence. The votes given from time to time have been cast with a due regard to individual belief as to what is best for Australia. For my part, I am satisfied that I have been able to-day to draw attention to a resolution which was the basis of section 125 of the Constitution - a resolution which, I believe, had been largely forgotten if, indeed, some honorable senators ever knew of its existence. The Premiers agreed - first, that the Federal Capital should be in New South Wales ; secondly, that it should be distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney; and, thirdly, that it should be within a reasonable distance.
– There is no such contract in the Constitution.
– That was the agreement arrived at by the Premiers, in conference, and it makes clear, beyond all doubt, the meaning of section 125 of the Constitution. I am pleased to find that several honorable members, while expressing themselves as hurt by the remarks of Mr. Carruthers, are yet willing, in the interests of fair play, to reconsider the position. I beg leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Message received from the House of Re presentatives intimating that it had agreed to the Senate’s amendment.
Message received from the House of Representatives, intimating that it had agreed to a resolution concurring with the resolution transmitted by the Senate in regard to the agreement with the Eastern Extension Company.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and, on motion by Senator Playford, read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and, on motion by Senator Playford, read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Higgs) agreed to -
That the following resolution, agreed to by the Senate on 7th December, 1905, viz. : - “ That the Government should do everything in its power to make the State-owned Pacific Cable a financial success and an up-to-date business enterprise “ be communicated by Message to the House of Representatives, with a request for their concurrence therein.
Motion (by Senator Stewart) agreed to-
That the Return to Order of the Senate in reference to number of officers, salaries, &c, in the Post and Telegraph Departments in each State laid upon the Table on the 6th December, 1905, be printed.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
It will be remembered that the two main objects of the Immigration Restriction Act of1901 were, first, to keep out undesirable immigrants, and, secondly, to prevent the introduction of contract labour. This Bill Is brought In for the purpose of dealing with a. former subject, because in the working of the Act it has been found that the proverbial coach and four could be driven through some of its provisions in that regard. The subject of contract labour is dealt with in another Bill which appears on the notice-paper, under the head of Contract Immigrants Bill. The Bill which I am now asking the Senate to read a second time deals with the exclusion of those persons who, by difference of type, render their assimilation with the people of our race difficult, if not impossible. It will be recollected that soon after the discovery of gold, the influx of Chinese to Victoria was so great that steps had to be taken, not only by Victoria, but also by the other Colonies, to stop it. Various Acts were passed for that purpose ; but, principally, they imposed a poll-tax, which, I may say, has ranged from£10 a head in South Australia,to eventually £100 a head in New South Wales, when the late Sir Henry Parkes was in power. Subsequently, when the Colonies wished to revise their laws and to keep out Asiatics, the British Government pointed out to them that the subjects of India and the Japanese objected to being kept out of Australia on the ground of their colour. The Colonial Secretary for the time being intimated to the Government of each Colony - of course, this was before the Federation was an accomplished fact - thatit would be useless for its Parliament to pass a Bill for the purpose of keeping out alien immigrants on the ground of their colour, but that its desire might be accomplished by imposing the educational test which was in operation in the Colony of Natal.
– But which the Commonwealth has never adopted.
– Well, we adopted something very much like that test. I should have preferred our Immigration Restriction Act to be framed with a view to exclude Asiatic immigrants on the ground of colour, because what we are doing now is really a subterfuge. We are accomplishing our object, and that is to keep out coloured aliens on the ground that we do not wish them to mix with our own population and produce a hybrid race eventually. We are faking this course in the interest of the people to-day and of generations to come. It Would have been a great deal better to exclude undesirable immigrants on the ground of colour, and not by means of a language test ; but we were placed in an awkward position. I do not know whether it was openly stated, but at all events Mr. Chamberlain, in a conversation with me, said that he would not be in a position to submit a reserved Bill for the signification of Her late Majesty’s pleasure if it sought to exclude coloured aliens on the ground of colour, that is, if the word “ Asiatics “ were used therein. Therefore, we were compelled to insert an educational test, which reads as follows : - :
Any person who when asked to do so by an officer fails to write out at dictation and sign in the presence of the officer a passage of fifty words in length in an European language directed by the officer.
The trouble of administering that provision has been very great. For instance, one magistrate has distinctly ruled that the officer must dictate exactly fifty words; that if he dictates more than that number of words he has not complied with the law. There have been instances where the officer, after putting one or two questions, has found that the Chinese or Japanese could not write at all. He was required.by the law to go through the farce of asking the man to write out fifty words, but, in many cases, after asking the man to write out a few words of an European language he has stopped because it was utterly useless to ask the man to go on and write down the rest of the passage. In those instances, because he did not apply the test as prescribed, the Commonwealth had to admit the immigrants. In this Bill we are altering that provision, with, a view to al lowing an officer to dictate “ not more than fifty words in any prescribed language,” in place of “ fifty words in an European language.” Our friends in India and Japan do not like the colour test. They say, “ Why should .OU examine the immigrant in any particular European language? Why should not the examination be made in any language ? “ It does not make any difference to us, but in order to meet their wishes we have drafted the following provision : -
Any person who fails to pass the dictation test ; that is to say, who, when an officer dictates to him not more than fifty words in any prescribed language, fails to write them out in that language in the presence of the officer.
No regulation prescribing any language shall have any force until it has been laid before both Houses of the Parliament for thirty days or if within that time a resolution has been proposer! in either House of the Parliament to disapprove of the regulation until the motion has been disposed of. If before the regulation comes into force a resolution disapproving of it is passed by either House of the Parliament, the regulation shall be of no effect.
Until some language has been prescribed the languages authorized by the Principal Act shall be deemed to be prescribed within the meaning of this Act.
We make it perfectly plain that the Ministry of the day shall not do anything without the approval of the Parliament. .The officer can make the number of words to be dictated as few as he likes, but he cannot dictate more than fifty words in a prescribed language.
– The Minister does not think that the Japanese will see through this business?
– They can only see that the Bill does not make a hardandfast rule as to the exact fifty words, that an European language is to be the language in which intending immigrants are to be tested for the time being, and that no other language can be prescribed until it has been approved by both Houses’. I think that we have safeguarded ourselves in every possible direction.
– A dead language might be prescribed.
– Yes, I do not think that there is any objection to using a dead language.
– Is there an officer in the Department who could examine persons in the Asiatic languages ?
– We can prescribe any language that we like. Our object is to keep out the races of a certain type, and as _we are not allowed to do so directly, we propose to do so indirectly. We are deceiving no one. We intend to keep out undesirable immigrants’ by means of an education test, so as not to hurt the feelings of certain friends who may not possess the colour which we desire they should have if they came to mix with us..
– Is not the Bill being introduced partly to meet the objections of the Japanese?
– But it will not meet their objections, unless it prescribes the language. What a farce the proposal is !
– The honorable senator need not call it a farce. If this provision had not been introduced, what would have been said ? People would have said : “ A Minister might come in who would be against our White Australia policy, and he would allow the Japanese language to be used straight away, when they would come by the hundred.” I may be asked to say why we do not prescribe the language in the measure itself. But I contend that in. a. serious case of this kind we ought to allow the Parliament to take the responsibility of prescribing the language.
– Is it intended to prescribe a language if the Bill is passed ?
-Col. Gould. - Of course not.
- Senator Dobson wishes to know too much.
– If the Government do not prescribe a language, it will be an insult to the Japanese. It is a perfect farce.
– I do not wish to argue the point with the honorable senator, who can tell the Japanese what he thinks. But they know exactly what we propose to do. They have a very clear idea of what we intend, and there is no special desire on the part of the Japanese that we should strike out the word “ European.” We know, however, that it is their wish that we should make no special distinction on the ground of colour. The Japanese view of the question cannot be more clearly expressed than it has been by the actingJapanese Consul-General, Mr. Iwasaki, who wrote in this way -
My Government recognise distinctly the right of the Government of Australia to limit in any way it thinks fit the number of those persons who may be allowed to land and settle in Australia, and also to draw distinctions between persons who may or who may not be admitted. Corresponding rights, of course, belong to the Empire of Japan.
Might I suggest, therefore, that your Government formulate some proposals, which being accepted by my Government, would allow the people of Japan being excluded from the operation of any Act which directly or indirectly imposed a tax on immigrants on the grounds of colour.
We met them on that ground in the Bill. They also pointed out that, by confining the education test to a European language, we made a distinction, because only Europeans might be expected to.be able to pass the test, and in that way we practically confined the prohibition to people of a certain colour. By omitting the word “ European,” and substituting for it the word “ prescribed,” we meet their objection in that direction.
– Not until the Government propose a regulation.
– That is so.
– And they do not intend to do so.
– We do not intend to propose a regulation immediately, but we might possibly do so in the next Parliament. There are a number of smaller amendments to which I can better refer in Committee. There are one or two principal points in which this Bill differs from previous legislation on the subject. I hope that, at all events, we shall have satisfied Senator Pulsford, because, although we do not propose a treaty with the Indian Empire, and with our Japanese friends, the Bill makes provision for arrangements which, equally well with a treaty, might be entered into to accomplish the same purpose. Honorable senators will see that, by clause 6, it is proposed that the following provision shall be inserted after section 4 of the principal Act. 4A.1. If the Minister notifies by notice in the
Gazette that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country regulating the admission to the Commonwealth of the subjects or citizens of that country, the subjects or citizens of that country shall not, while the notice continues to have effect, be required to pass the dictation test.
Here, again, we ask Parliament to take fair responsibility in the matter. It is only right that I should inform honorable senators that there are such arrangements in force at the present time. Those who have taken an interest in the matter will have noticed that a paper was laid on the table ‘ of the Senate recently, covering correspondence respecting a proposal to modify the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act in regard to visits of Asiatic merchants, travellers, and others, dated 16th April, 1904, to1 st August, 1905. The first reference to the matter is contained in a letter drafted and sent by the then Prime Minister, Mr.
Deakin, to Mr. K. Iwasaki, Acting ConsulGeneral for Japan. In that letter, Mr. Deakin said -
May I inquire whether you think it would be possible for your Government to arrange that all Japanese of the merchant, student, and tourist classes intending ‘to visit Australia should be provided with passports sufficiently identifying them, and specifying the purpose and duration of their visit? If that could be arranged such passport might be accepted by this Department as entitling the holders to freely enter and pass through Australia, the only condition being that the documents should be examined at the first port of call.
There are other conditions proposed, dealing with the time which visitors might propose to stay in the Commonwealth, and requiring them to give notice to the authorities when they leave, so that their names may be struck off the list of those holding passports. The letter is a long one, and I need not quote, it fully. Mr Deakin left office, and then Mr. Hughes, as Minister of External Affairs in the Watson Government, wrote a long letter practically repeating what Mr. Deakin had said. Mr. Watson also wrote a letter on the same subject, and, in reply to his letter, Mr. Iwasaki wrote -
Immediately on receipt thereof I cabled to my Government, and have to-day received a cable authorizing me on behalf of my Government to accept the terms and conditions referred to.
That settled the matter so far as Japan was concerned. The Commonwealth Government subsequently entered! into negotiations with the Governor-General of India with the same result, and in a! despatch signed “ Ampthill, Viceroy and GovernorGeneral of India,’5 the statement is made that the arrangement proposed was received with very much pleasure, that it would be accepted, and that passports would be issued in the terms agreed upon. These arrangements are now in existence. I learn from inquiry of the Prime Minister that even though, .this Bill should be passed, they will continue in force, and will be given effect to by the Government. It will, therefore, only be fresh arrangements with other countries which will require to be brought before Parliament under this measure. Of course, Parliament can, if it pleases, take action to disapprove of what has already been done. Although there were no special provisions in the principal Act giving Ministers the power to make these arrangements, they considered that they had authority to make them, and that they would meet with the approval of Parliament and of the country.
– But they were made without authority.
– Possibly, but I am sure that the honorable senator approves of them.
– Why is it not proposed to embody them in this Bill ?
– There can be no necessity for that, when I have told honorable senators what has been done.
– It has been done illegally.
– If Senator Dobson desires to deal with these arrangements in the Bill he can move to do so in Committee, but I would advise him not to do so.
– -Can the Minister tell us a little more explicitly what the arrangement is ?
– Shortly, it is that all subjects of the Indian Empire and all Japanese of the merchant, student, and tourist classes intending to visit Australia shall be provided with passports.
– Only to cover visits?
– Is there any limit as to the time they are to stay in Australia ?
– No special time is mentioned ; but it is, of course, intended that it shall be for a. reasonable time, and the form to be filled up in connexion with the matter requires that the probable duration of the visit shall be stated. The visitors might require to stop six months, a year, or even a couple of years.
– Ministers have arrived at no decision as to the time.
– No ; it would be very difficult to fix any definite time which would meet the circumstances of every case, and, therefore, none has been fixed. The next part of the Bill deals, with the certificate exempting from the dictation test. These certificates have been- a source of very great trouble in the past. If honorable senators will refer to paragraphs m and n of section 3 of the principal Act, they will find that a wife and children under eighteen years of age, accompanying a husband who is not a prohibited immigrant, may be admitted. That provision has been abused by Chinamen, who were obviously single men, returning to the Commonwealth with wives and a whole crowd of children in a very short space of time. They could not be refused admission, because the reputed husbands and fathers held exemption certificates. The Minister of the day had to stop that kind of nonsense. The Bill will prevent persons coming into Australia who are clearly prohibited immigrants. If we consider that a Chinaman coming here is a prohibited immigrant, we shall take good care that he shall not pass the education test. We had to stop what was taking place, and we propose to alter the provisions of the principal Act under which these abuses, arose. It will be seen that in this Bill we make the following provision : - 4b. - (1) Any person who has resided in Aus tralia for a period or periods in the aggregate of not less than five years, and who is about to depart from the Commonwealth, may in manner prescribed apply to an officer authorized in that behalf for a certificate in the prescribed form excepting him, if he returns to the Commonwealth, within the period limited in the certificate from the provisions of paragraph a of section 3 of this Act.
In a great many instances, Chinese who went back to China, and took with them certificates of exemption from the test, remained away a very long time, and subsequently other Chinese arriving in Australia presented those certificates. We have, therefore, found it necessary to make provision that persons leaving the Commonwealth shall return within the time specified in the certificate, if they do not desire to be considered prohibited immigrants.
– It is not proposed to allow these men to return with their wives?
– That is very hard.
– It is, perhaps, rather hard ; but we have found it necessary to make these provisions in order to prevent our being imposed upon. We propose to repeal paragraphs m and n of section 3 of the principal Act. Under paragraph m of that section, it is provided that, amongst others, the following are excepted-
A wife accompanying her husband, if he is not a prohibited immigrant, and all children apparently under the age of18 years, accompany ing their father or mother, if the father or mother is not a prohibited immigrant ; but so that the exceptions in this paragraph shall not apply if suspended by proclamation ; and such suspension may be of general application or limited to any cases or class of cases.
Then paragraph n excepted -
Any person who satisfies an officer that he has formerly been domiciled in the Commonwealth, or in any colony which has become a State.
To obtain the advantage of that provision, it was necessary for the person seeking admission to prove that he had been domiciled in the Commonwealth. Domicile is a very difficult thing to prove.
We find there is no necessity for the section ; we can do without it; and, therefore, we propose to repeal it. Clause 7 of the Bill contains a new sub-section to section5 of the principal Act, as follows: -
In any prosecution under the last preceding sub-section the averment of the prosecutor con. tained in the information that the defendant has entered the Commonwealth within one year before his failing to pass the dictation test shall be deemed to be proved in the absence of proof to the contrary.
That is to say, the defendant has the onus of proof thrown upon him. I do not know that any other parts of the Bill require comment from me. A number of the new provisions are drafting amendments. I may, however, perhaps call attention to the fact that clause 10 of this Bill amends section 9 of the principal Act by omitting the words - jointly and severally liable to a penalty not exceeding, - and inserting in their place the words - guilty of an offence against this Act and be jointly and severally liable on summary conviction to a penalty of.
We have found thatthe fines inflicted by magistrates under the section have in many cases been exceedingly low. Sometimes they amounted to no more than.£1 or £2. Now, we are making the fine absolutely £100 ; but if there are special circumstances in connexion with the case, an application can always be made to the Governor-General through the Ministry, which will remit any portion of the fine that it thinks proper.
– -The Minister has notmade any allusion to clause 13 of the Bill, which gives power to every policeman in any State to arrest any person without warrant, who is supposed to be a prohibited immigrant.
– The draftsman says that that is a necessary complement of section 14 of the original Act. Under that section a police officer has authority to prevent a prohibited immigrant from landing, but has no authority if the man evades the police, and gets ashore, to detain him without awarrant. If a police officer has to wait until he can get a warrant before arresting the prohibited immigrant, the man may make his escape.
-An officious policeman might arrest any person under that provision.
– Well, a policeman can arrest any one now if he chooses to take the risk. With this explanation, I submit the Bill to the Senate.
– I have listened to the explanation of the Minister in charge of the Bill with a considerable amount of interest; but, while I suppose the measure will be carried, I must point out that it is to a great extent an absolute fraud. First of all let us consider the provisions with regard to the alteration of the language test section of the principal Act. The test may be imposed in any prescribed language. The present law says that it must be in an European language. We are told that the intention is to meet the amour prof re of the Japanese race. We are led to believe that it is quite possible that the Government of the day will approve of Japanese being one of the languages in which an immigrant may be tested. But is not that a transparent fraud? Is it not evident that it is not intended to do anything of the kind, but that this is merely a provision inserted to say that such a thing “ may “ be done, whilst no Government will ever do it? Do we not know that, from the very beginning until now, the purpose of our immigration restriction legislation has been, by artificial means, to keep out certain persons who are regarded as undesirable? It is said that we do not want to have coloured people here, and that therefore we shall exclude them. But we do not carry out our policy by saying, frankly, “We shall not allow you to come here, because you belong to a coloured race,” but we say, “ You can come here if you can pass the test, though we will take precious good care that you shall not pass it.” Is not that a fraud? We are going to say to Eastern nations, 1 ‘ The Government of the Commonwealth has power to impose any language test, and mav, if it likes, examine your people in their own language;” whilst we are fully aware that the Commonwealth is committed to the policy of a White Australia, and that no coloured person will be admitted. Senator Playford has pointed out that there is a provision in this Bill giving legal effect to an arrangement already made between the Commonwealth and other Governments. When challenged as to this power to make arrangements, the Minister has not told us under what law they have been made. Personally, I do not raise the question at all. I think it is .a good thing that Ministers have made arrangements permitting visitors to come into our country under certain conditions. As the Government proposes to legalize those arrangements, I am prepared to support them in so doing. If the provisions inserted in this Bill are necessary in order that they may be continued, that is a very good reason for the introduction of the clauses in question. I come to another part of the Bill, having regard to the repeal of paragraphs m and n of section 3 of the principal Act. The Minister has told us that the present provisions of the law are very much abused. But the Government has the remedy in its own hands. The law says that the section shall not apply if suspended by proclamation. The Government, therefore, has power to suspend it whenever abuses creep in. It would be better to retain a provision of that character than to eliminate the discretion of the Minister altogether. But in addition to that, I would observe that if we are to have people of alien races coming to this country, it is far better that they should be accompanied by their wives and children than that they should probably inter-marry with white people, and produce a race of half-castes. Of course, if it is found that a Chinaman goes to China and comes back with a wife and a large family, and the same Chinaman does the same thing a year hence, that will be a good reason for suspending the provision to meet that particular case. But as a general rule I entertain the feeling that, if we are to have these aliens in our midst, and if they are going to remain here, it is better to allow; them to have their wives and families than to encourage them to intermingle with our population, and create the very evil that we desire to obviate. We have many Chinamen in the country. If we are going to keep them here, we should extend to them the same rights and liberties as other citizens have, except the right to vote, unless they become naturalized subjects. Senator Playford has directed attention to clause 6 of the Bill. In that clause provision is made for exempting from the dictation test the citizens of a country with which a certain arrangement has been made by the Commonwealth Government. That is a provision with which I certainly agree, and it is better to have it embodied in the law than to leave the matter to the discretion of Ministers, who may entertain a doubt as to the legality of the exercise of that discretion. But the clause contains a provision to the effect that any person who has resided in Australia for not less than five years, and is about to depart from the Commonwealth, may apply u> an officer for a ‘Certificate of exemption from the education test. The remarkable thing is that there is not an honorable member in this Senate who is not subject to that provision, if it is allowed to pass as it stands. A man who has lived for the whole of his life in Australia, if he wants to go away for a period with the intention of coming back, may find, when he desires to land, that he is required to pass the education test ; and if the authorities do not want him to come in at all, they may. if 1 understands English, examine him in French, or in Japanese. What if a leading senator on the Government side - Senator McGregor, for example - took a trip to the old country, and. when he returned, some wicked free-trade Government, who had come into power during his absence, declared that, as he had not a certificate of exemption, he would have to be tested in, let us say, Japanese? The whole position is absurd. The Minister has told us that a great many of these provisions are merely drafting amendments, or make only minor alterations in the original Act. I ask honorable senators whether in their opinion every object sought to be served by this Bill could not practically be attained by means of the present Act? There has been a general outcry in the Commonwealth about the restrictive policy concerning immigrants and persons who come to this country under contract; and the circumstances suggest that the Government have been forced to introduce some sort of legislation, in order to make it appear that they are falling in with the wishes of the community at large. The Bill under discussion, and the second Bill, which we shall presently be called upon to consider, were introduced in another place in. such a way as to convey the idea that the Government, while apparently amending the law, were, at the same time, imposing further restrictions - presenting legislation which is a mere fiction. The Bill will, in point of fact, merely tighten the cords around the necks of the people who will be affected. I can respect a Government who straightforwardly and honestly introduce a Bill for the purpose of making amendments in an Act, in order to meet the reasonable wishes of the people; but here we have a Bill which, according to the Minister’s own showing, will make practically little or no difference in the law, and is, in short, a fraud and a fiction.
– What about the provision to exempt from the dictation tests the subjects of a country with which an arrangement has been made?
.- Because of that clause, I am prepared to vote for the second reading of the Bill. At the same time, the Minister has informed us that the power conferred by this clause is being exercised at the present time in the absence of any amendment of the law. and that the procedure will be continued, whether the Bill be passed or not. The Minister asks us to accept this Bill in order to make such procedure legal in the future ; and, as I have my doubts as to the legality of the action of the Government, I am prepared to accept this clause. I must, however, protest again against what I regard as fictitious legislation. As honorable senators know, I should be prepared, had I the power, to make very drastic amendments in the Immigration Restriction Act, but I do not want it to be thought for a moment that I desire to depart from the settled policy of the country in any particular lines. As for the present Bill, I can only say that people when asking for “ bread V have practically been given a “stone.”
– I greatly regret that this Bill does not meet the expectations of those who were looking for an amending measure which would be worthy of Australia, and satisfy the just requirements and wishes of great countries like Japan. The clause dealing with the exemption from the dictation test of the subjects of a country with which an arrangement has been made, is one which would be of immense advantage if it could be carried out at the present time. This clause concedes much that I have been asking in the motion which I placed before the Senate, and which, over some weeks, has been debated on several occasions. The Minister, however, does not tell us what sort of arrangement is proposed, or suggest when there will be an opportunity to put it into force. The clause goes on to provide that before notice of any arrangement of the kind can be issued, it shall have .the sanction by resolution of both Houses of the Parliament.
– Surely the honorable senator does not object to that provision ?
– Parliament, in the course of days, or, at any rate, weeks, will prorogue, and then, I presume, there will be a recess of about six months, during which the conditions of the existing Act must, according to this clause, remain in force.
– But has the Minister not told us that arrangements have been made?
– Arrangements have already been made with Japan and India, and instructions have been issued to all our officers on the subject. The arrangements are in force now. and have been in force for some considerable time.
– And there is no intention to repeal them?
– We do not intend to interfere with them.
– Does Senator Playford mean to tell me that there is an arrangement existing to-day with the Empire of Japan, under which this dictation test is absolutely done away with?
– The dictation test is not done away with in regard to the whole of the subjects of Japan, but only in regard to merchants, tourists, and students.
– The arrangement for which I have been asking, and the arrangement which, I presume, this clause means, is one whereby Japan shall undertake to issue passports only to tourists, merchants, and students, who shall not be subject to any dictation test on arrival.
– That arrangement is in operation while the honorable senator is talking to-day
– - There is no treaty - no complete arrangement - with the Empire of Japan at this moment.
– The Government have promised to admit the classes of travellers I have indicated, and the Japanese Government have undertaken, to give them passports.
– We cannot live on promises ; we want performances.
– The promise has been given to the Government of Japan and the Government of India, who have both agreed. What more does the honorable senator want?
– Then,, again, in regard to the test, any “prescribed” language has been substituted for any “ European “ language, but no regulation prescribing a language is to have force until it has been laid before both Houses of Parliament for thirty days. I presume that means thirty sitting days, and if that be so. the House of Representatives- would have to sit for about two months, and the Senate, possibly, three months, before the clause was complied with. If next year there be a short session - and by this time we are entitled to a short session - the Senate might not meet on thirty days.
– The clause means thirty consecutive days after the regulations have been laid before the Parliament.
– That reduces to some extent my objection to that part of the Bill. Honorable senators, however, will notice that this little change is not to be brought into force until after Parliament meets again. Why should we not meet the occasion at once? Why should not Parliament prescribe certain languages? Can Senator Playford say whether there is to be one language only, or whether several languages may be prescribed?
– Oh, several. We may prescribe all the Eastern languages.
– It seems to refer to only one language.
– Oh, no.
– It does not. indicate a number of languages.
– It is always understood that, according to the Acts Interpretation Act, a word in the singular includes the plural.
– I hope that in Committee we may be able to amend the Bill in some important points.
– I do not intend to speak for more than a few minutes, because, if there is one thing in connexion with the Bill which is more striking than anything else, it is that from neither side of the House has any one a word to say either in approval or disapproval of it. I am not always in agreement with Senator Playford, but I heartily agreed with him this afternoon when he referred to the Bill as a farce, and alluded to the subterfuges which it contains. The only thing I regret - and I dare say that he shares my regret - is that we have to go on playing this farce, and that by this Bill we add some subterfuges to those in the original Act.
– Only one - by striking out “European” language, and putting in any’’ prescribed “ language.
– That is only widening the door for the full application of the term “ subterfuge.” That amendment is being made to meet the sentiments of the people of Japan.
– Has Japan ever asked for it?
– I think that, more or less directly, Japan has asked for it. If there has been any possibility of leakage under the education test - and I do not think that there has been - this subterfuge will increase it. The officers administering the law are not hampered even by the use of the word “ European,” and this amendment will make the education test absolutely air-tight and wind-tight. I cannot conceive how it will be possible for any one to get in under the test. But, as we have all agreed that the whole legislation is, to use Senator Playford’s phrase, a farce and a subterfuge, I have very little to say in its favour. I hope, however, to be here when the Bill is being considered in Committee, because there are one or two clauses which require some attention. The Bill is full of indications that, somehow or other, both Houses are to be asked to sanction something by resolution. Speaking generally, it is nothing more than an indication in print that Parliament can resolve to take some course. I really wonder that it has not been asked to take the course. What is the use of telling us in the Bill that the Parliament can sanction a certain course by resolution, when we know that it could be done either by a Bill or by an ordinary resolution? Clause 13 enables any police officer in a State, without a warrant, to arrest any man reasonably supposed by him to be a prohibited immigrant. I do not wish prohibited immigrants to be abroad in the Commonwealth, but I have very grave doubts as to whether this clause is not giving an ordinary policeman too much power. I invite ‘honorable senators seriously to consider whether it is desirable to enact such a provision. Senator Playford has told us that it is a necessary supplement to the power of the magistrate, but I think that he went a little too far in giving that answer, even though it emanated from the draftsman whom he consulted. It does not necessarily follow that, because we enlarge the power of the magistrates to deal with those cases, we should so greatly enlarge the power of an ordinary policeman. The clause introduces an element of danger. In the circumstances, it is a fair thing to throw the onus of proof upon the defendant, as is done by section 20 of the Customs Act. The only other amendment I have to suggest is in clause 10, which deals with the question of summary jurisdiction, and imposes a penalty of£100. We shall be confronted with the usual difficulty of fixing an arbitrary sum; but I am inclined to think that, to allow the magistrate to enforce a penalty of£100 is to give him too much power.
– This is one of the measures which the Government should have either brought forward at an earlier period of the session or held over until next year. It is hasty legislation. It did not make its appearance on the notice-paper of the other House until about the 2nd December, and the second reading was not carried until a few days ago. Owing to the rush of business, the Senate has not had a proper opportunity to consider the provisions of the Bill, and certainly the people throughout the Commonwealth have had no such opportunity.
– It is like a stick in the porridge.
– No, it is a very important departure by the Government from the White Australia policy. So far as I know, no person has asked for the Bill, except public men like Mr. Bruce Smith and Senator Pulsford, who hold extreme views in the other direction. There has been no demand on the part of the general public for an alteration of the law. Of course, there have been expressions of opinion from Japanese Consuls and Ambassadors and high officials generally in favour of an alteration.
– Why, the press of the Commonwealth has been full of expressions of opinion against the legislation.
– I do not know that the Conservative press generally has been in favour of the proposed alteration. Senator Playford has plainly told us that the Bill is a farce.
– It is not a farce so far as regards the test with fifty words.
– The Minister said : “ There is no danger in the Bill ; pass it, because any prescribed language must come before the Parliament later on in the form of a regulation, and we do not intend to brine forward a regulation at present.” The measure will, it is supposed, have the effect of mollifying “the susceptibilities of the Japanese, who take great exception to our making a colour lint-.. Lately we have all formed the opinion that the Japanese are a smart and intelligent people. Does Senator Playford, or anyone else, think that Japanese Consuls and other persons, who have been objecting to our legislation, are likely to be misled by the new clause, which states that a prescribed language shall be put before both Houses in the form of a regulation, and that until such time, the old objectionable provision is to stand ? I take the view that this measure is the result of wire-pulling, if I may use the term, on the part of the Balfour Government. The party which it represented will have to face in the United Kingdom a storm of criticism, owing to the introduction of Chinese into the Transvaal. They have said that there was nothing in the charges made as to the abuse of the punitive system ; that all the evils said tr» have arisen existed only in the fevered imagination of their opponents. No doubt the coloured labour legislation of Australia will be quoted, and they will now be able to meet their opponents with the statement that the Australian Parliament has recognised its false position, and repealed the legislation which had for its object the exclusion of Chinese and Japanese.
– That is very far-fetched
– That would not be true, because we shall not have repealed the law.
– All that Senator Gould has to do is to watch the cable accounts of what Mr. Balfour says in his appeal to the people of the United Kingdom not to be led away by the anti-Chinese agitation. I object to the Bill, because it displays a weakening by public men on what is a vital question to Australia.
– Will the honorable senator help me to defeat it ?
– Yes. If the honorable senator will vote against the second reading, he will find me voting on the same side.
– That ought to make Senator Higgs suspicious.
– It may appear to Senator Pearce that if Senator Dobson and I were found voting on the same side something wrong must have happened to one or the other of us. But if the division lists be examined it will be found that on various occasions labour men have sat with the strongest Conservatives in the Senate, and they can defend their position every time.
– Senator Gould and Senator Symon were with us last time
– I might tum to Senator Pearce, and ask : “ When you find yourself voting with Senator Pulsford for the .second reading of this Bill, do you not think you are making a mistake?” It is generally recognised that every nation has the right to exclude from its territory any persons whom it considers undesirable.
-Col. Gould. - But sometimes we are unable to maintain that right. For instance, the Chinese were not able to maintain it against Great Britain.
– No, but that was owing to a kind of obsession. There is no doubt that before many years have passed, the Chinese will tell all Europeans to get out of their country, and we cannot blame them if they do. This hasty legislation on the part of the Commonwealth will not delay that day by a single hour. I believe that eventually the progress of education in China will lead to that result. If the Japanese could assimilate with our people we might take up a different view, but, apparently, they do not, and will not. Indeed, the greatest student of our race has declared that it would be an undesirable thing for civilization if ever such an amalgamation did take place. We who comprise the Labour Party do not object to the Chinese or Japanese merely on the ground of colour. It is an economic question with us. Those who have preceded us, and ourselves, have succeeded in establishing a certain standard of comfort which is in the interests of the community generally, and in the interests of civilization.
– The Labour Party have not a monopoly of that view.
– I do not suppose that we have, but we hold that view, and seem to hold it mote strongly than do members of other parties, because we always vote to maintain it. To allow these people to come here will be to lower the standard of comfort and civilization throughout Australia. Senator Playford may say that it is not the intention of the Government to do that. The honorable senator might prognosticate the probable life of the present Government from a consideration of that of previous Governments.
– No Government can do what is proposed here without the consent of Parliament.
– We might be guided by the history of the States Parliaments. Some sudden agitation might arise, as the result of which the democratic or Labour Party might find itself in a minority, and with a strong majority opposed to it. What would happen with this class of legislation in such a case ?
– It would be perfectly safe.
– If there were no such legislation in existence the dominant party could’ pass it.
– The objection I have to the passage of a mere resolution by both Houses of Parliament is that only the mover of a resolution has the right to speak more than once upon it. If is not dealt with in Committee.
– It is in accordance with our practice to deal with resolutions in Committee.
– We have not dealt with resolutions in Committee. Only the other day we considered’ a most important resolution in relation to the Eastern Extension Company, but we did not deal with it in Committee.
– We dealt with the Capital Sites resolutions in Committee.
– If we had dealt with the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company’s agreement in Committee, I venture to think that the motion proposed would have been discussed at greater length, and we might, perhaps, have succeeded in carrying certain amendments upon it. The fact remains that a resolution might be given notice of one day and moved the next. It would not have to pass through a number or’ stages in the same way as a Bill. A Minister might bring forward a resolution, make a speech upon it, and if he had a majority behind him>; prolong the sitting sufficiently to carry it in one day. That is an important objection I have to the proposal. I shall, perhaps, have something to say on a similar question when the companion Bill to this is before the Senate. In the meantime, I earnestly hope that honorable senators who take the view that if the Government is sincere in trying to mollify the susceptibilities of the Japanese they should do so in a proper manner, will vote against this measure, because, in the words of the Minister who has introduced it, it is only a “ farce “ after all.
– I did not say it was a farce.
– Then the honorable senator said it was a “ subterfuge.”
– No ; I referred1 only to the test as being a subterfuge.
– That is the commencement), middle, and end of the whole thing. All that the Japanese object to is the European language test, and the proposal in the Bill for dealing with this is4. in the opinion of the Minister, a subterfuge, a trick, or a device to delude some one.
– They know all about it.
– If they know all about it, they will not be mollified in any way by this legislation.’ They will probably protest even more strongly against it than against the previous legisla/tion on the subject, because it is an insult to their intelligence. This should induce honorable senators who sympathize with Japan to vote against the Bill. I remind honorable senators that the legislation already passed1 was passed by this Parliament in a modified form to meet the susceptibilities of Japan, and at the request of the British Government. We rejected the colour test, and adopted the practice of the United Kingdom with regard to such legislation.
– No; the policy of Natal.
– It must, I think, be admitted that there are some good points in this Bill which serve to cover up the dangerous provisions. But the Government could very easily remedy what defects there are in the principal Aci: by the introduction of an amending measure which’ would enable it to be administered more successfully. I direct the/ attention of Senator Dobson to the fact that the Minister in charge of the Bill declares that the language test is a subterfuge, and to satisfy those of us who desire the exclusion of these races the honorable senator contends that there are important provisions in the Bill which will enable the Government to keep out Japanese and Chinese more effectively than they can do under -the existing Act. That is really the virtue of the Bill, according to Senator Playford. In view of the opinions held by honorable senators in
Opposition, and by supporters of the Government, I think it is likely that the Bill will be rejected.
– The legislation which we are now being asked to pass has a lesson for the members of the Federal Parliament, but I doubt whether they are capable of learning it. It is the practice of some of our parties to get a principle into their heads, and then to forget that everything lies in its application. Nothing will suit a certain party but the carrying of every principle to an extreme. Nothing can bring the Federal Parliament into more disgrace and disrepute than to have to go back upon its previous legislation. We pass laws in one session, and, finding that we have made mistakes, have to alter them in the next. We probably discover that we have forgotten the laws of humanity, the principles of Christianity, and have paid no attention to the comity of nations. This can be seen by the Bill which we are now asked to pass, in order to amend the mistakes we have made in the past. There are other Bills of the same character to come before us. We have a companion Bill to this, in which we shall be asked to rectify certain mistakes made in previous legislation, because we insisted upon pushing a principle too far. We have passed a measure to provide for the deportation of kanakas. I refer to the matter only incidentally ; but in that measure we absolutely ignored the principles of humanity and Christianity. We made no provision for exceptions, and yet every Prime Minister who has considered the question since - and I believe three of them have done so - has admitted that these people must be deported in accordance with the principles of humanity and Christianity which we ignored in passing the law. I have no doubt that whatever Government may be in power when action is taken under the measure, will see that these people are not deported without clue regard to principles which we should ‘have thought of when passing the measure dealing with the subject. We had no excuse to offer in this instance, because we knew perfectly well that the Japanese objected to what we were doing. We knew that they made protest after protest against their being included with other Asiatic races. Events which have since transpired have shown that they were perfectly justified in the position which they took up.
They have come to the front in such a manner amongst the nations of the world that the Government admitted a few days ago that something ought to be done to placate the Japanese. What they have proposed to do, however, is an absolute farce and subterfuge. I wonder that Senator Playford was not ashamed to introduce such a Bill. I understood that the Prime Minister proposed that the word “ European,” as used in the principal Act, was to be struck out. In this Bill it -is proposed that the word shall be struck out, hut it is not proposed that the test may be applied in the Japanese or Chinese language, but in a “ prescribed “ language, and that, until a regulation is macle prescribing the language, a European language, as under the existing law., is to be continued as the test. Senator Playford has told us that it is not the intention of the Government to prescribe any language whatever.
– Not this year.
– I understand that the object of the Government in introducing this measure was to have some regard for the feelings of our allies by striking out the word “ European,” to which they objected. But, while they strike it out with one hand, they put it in again with the other in the very next sentence.
– It is like a Punch and Judy show.
– It is exactly like a Punch and Judy show. I have heard Senator Playford describe the language test as a subterfuge, and the honorable senator has also stated that he prefers the colour test. Does the honorable senator know what his leader thinks about the matter? Does he know what Mr. Deakin said when introducing the Bill?
– I have his speech here.
– Mr. Deakin, by scores of interjections, denied the statement made many times in another place that the language test was a subterfuge. In every possible way the Prime Minister contradicted that statement, and now his colleague charged with the responsibility of introducing the Bill to the Senate seems to be absolutely ignorant of what his leader has said.
– I can tell the honorable senator what the Prime Minister said -
Our control is exercised by means of the application of an education test, which is neither ,’he most convenient form of exclusion, nor that which is most readily appreciated elsewhere. It involves a certain amount of indirect action, although from the very first day that it was adopted until the present time, it has been directly and consistently employed, and by this time its purpose is everywhere understood.
– The honorable senator is not in order in reading from the debates, in another place.
– It is because the British nation has 300,000,000 coloured subjects that objection was taken to prohibiting the admission of persons into the Commonwealth on the ground of their colour, and it was decided that it would be better to propose an education test. That test is, neither a farce nor a subterfuge, lt does exacttly what we desire to do, but in a proper way, having regard to the comity of nations and the feelings of other people. If one believes that some other person is a little untruthful and inaccurate, he is not allowed to call him a liar, though he might like to do so. But he is, permitted to do so in more polite language. Senator Playford declares that an Act which appears on the Commonwealth statute-book is a subterfuge, and now he deliberately asks us to enact a greater subterfuge. While we are to be asked to proclaim to the Japanese people that we shall make an attempt on paper to do what they desire, in -the next sentence we are to be asked to nullify it. There is but one reason which induces me to vote for the second reading of this Bill. It is to insert a provision to enable the Government to enter into an arrangement with the Japanese Government, as they have asked us, to do. It is because the Bill enables us to do that- that I am going to vote for it. Everything else in it is worse than useless.
– That has all been done since the 1st October, 1904.
– My honorable friend, with the numbers at his back, can s.it there smiling j but does he mean to say that every Act of Parliament that we pass is to be treated as the Immigration Restriction Act has been? Does he mean to say that after we have passed an Act for the exclusion of aliens a Ministry is to make arrangements with a foreign Government as to the terms under which they shall be admitted ? We are now told that the Watsor Government made an arrangement with Japan under which students,, merchants, and tourists can come into Australia. Why did we not think of this matter when we were passing the Act ? It would have been much more suitable if what has been described had been done under the authority of Parliament. It is such loose and stupid legislation that I protest against. I object to the provision in this Bill by means of which we are to strike out the section of the principal Act which enables a Chinaman who has formerly been a resident of Australia, and has been visiting China, to come back with Bis wife and family. It is a wise thing to enable such a man. to bring his wife with him.
– We have stopped the operation of that section for years.
– A more inconsistent thing was never done. I have read statements over and over again from the supporters of the White Australia policy that one of their objections to alien immigrants was that they did not bring their wives with them. Yet when these Chinamen go home and bring their wives, back, the Government is to’ have power to determine whether they shall be admitted or not. The Government can easily make a regulation providing that if a Chinaman is married he shall bring from the British Consul in China a certificate to the effect that the woman whom he is bringing with him is really his wife. I can see no reason for altering the section. I desire to say nothing more about the Bill except that I look upon it as a farce, -with the exception of the one clause to which I have called attention. And is that clause to be in the Bill as a mere make-believe ? Is it intended to enter into an arrangement with the Japanese Government ?
– The arrangement has been, made, and is in existence.
– My honorable friend is really bluffing. He is turning himself into a farce as a Minister. Does he not know that the Japanese have had an arrangement with the State of Queensland whereby Japanese to the extent of two or three thousand were to be allowed to enter that State? Does he not know that the Japanese Government do not desire that the working men of Japan shall come here? Have not they intimated that much to the Government? Have they not said that they will look after their own immigrants, and not allow them to come to Australia? But when they are asking for a treaty, the Minister tells us that they have had it all the time.
– It has been in existence since the 1st of October, 1904.
– Does that satisfy the Japanese authorities?
– As far as we know, it does.
– As far as I know, it does not. The very thing that the Japanese have asked for is apparently provided in the Bill, but the Government is not going to carry it out. I never heard of a more extraordinary thing than to strike out “ European “ in order to insert a provision enabling an immigrant to be tested in any language, and at the same time say that the new provision shall mean “ European “ after all.
Senator STEWART (Queensland).While, no doubt, there are some good provisions in this Bill, still, on the whole, I frankly confess that I do not like it. As honorable senators are well aw.are, the education test was in the first instance a compromise, suggested to us, I believe, bv the Home authorities, as one which would in all probability meet the wishes of Japan, China, and Asiatic peoples generally. It was only accepted in deference to the opinions expressed by the Home authorities. But now we are asked to go a little bit further. We are asked to eliminate the word “ European “ from the Act, while putting it into a regulation. What could we gain by that change? We are told that Japan is displeased by our legislation. But we have no evidence of that fact. We have not a tittle of evidence to show that Japan has ever expressed the slightest disapprobation. I have read articles in the newspapers, and reported interviews with Japanese Consuls and other persons, who said mat Japan felt hurt at the attitude of the Commonwealth, but there is no direct evidence that she feels in the very least degree insulted. Before dealing with .an important matter of this kind, we should have some clear, straightforward intimation from Japan herself - through the Imperial authorities, of course - that she disapproves of our legislation. When we have that intimation clearly expressed, it will be time for us to decide in what way we can frame our Act so as to make it less offensive to Japan. I cannot see the slightest need for any change. But I can see in this proposal a very great danger, which is not apparent on the surface of it, but which, I believe, is there all the same. Section 3 of the principal Act says that any person who, when asked to do so by an officer, fails to write out, at dictation, and to sign in the presence of the officer, a passage of fifty words, may be excluded. The fifty words’ test is distinctly provided for. The amending Bill says “ not more than fifty words-. “
– I explained all that.
– The explanation is not satisfactory to me. Does the Minister mean one word, or two, or ten, or twenty ? To this new provision is linked a further one, that no regulation shall have force until it has been passed by both Houses of Parliament ; and until it has been laid before Parliament and passed, the present law with regard to European languages remains in force. Thus Ave have this position - that instead of a test of fifty words being imposed, three words will be quite sufficient. A Japanese may come along, and the only words which he may be required to write are “ Yes-No.” That is an extremely dangerous provision. I cannot think that the present Government would sanction anything like that, but we do not know how long the present Government will live. We may have again a coalition of protectionists and free-traders. We might have a Government under whose regime Japanese and other Asiatics would be admitted. I do not think that any Government would dare to do that, or that Parliament as at present constituted would allow it. But we know that there has been, and there will be. pressure brought to bear upon the people of Australia, to alter their legislation with regard to aliens. Here would be a splendid opportunity. Why eliminate the word “ European “ at all? I am sure that every member of this Senate has read the old tale about the camel and the tent. At first the camel got his. head into the tent, and pushed until he had gained an entrance for his neck and forelegs, ultimately forcing in his whole body and, turning the legitimate occupant outside. The proposed amendment is the beginning of the introduction of the camel into the tent. The camel, as represented by Japan, says,: “I am not pleased with the word European ‘ : take it out. for it offends my delicate sensibilities. - put it into n resolution, where it will be so hidden, that I cannot see it. but. for heaven’s sake, take it out of the Bill !” We agree; and next the camel says : “ You must take .the word out of the resolution, where it is just as offensive as in a Bill.” When the word is taken out of the resolution, the camel says : “ I want to get right into your country.” Thus all opposition, is broken down step by step ; the camel knows that if he seeks to achieve his purpose all at once, he will fail, but comes, to the conclusion that if he proceeds by degrees he may succeed. There are, as I intimated, several provisions in the Bill which are an improvement on the original Act, and those provisions I intend to support. The Senate ought Jo pause before consenting to any alteration in the clause which imposes the language test, because it is a most serious matter to whittle away the safeguards provided in the original Act. The people of Japan know perfectly well that we do not desire to have them here, and Senator Dobson, who, I suppose, knows the mind of the Japanese, being in close sympathy, and probably contact, with them, tells us that they are not anxious to come to Australia. If we do not want the Japanese, and they are not anxious to come here, why this trouble about the paltry matter of the word “European”? It is not the Japanese I am afraid of, but the probability, or even the possibility, of having a Government in power some day who may be only too- glad of an opportunity to introduce large numbers, not only of Japanese, but also of Chinese and Indians.
– Chinese are much better citizens than, Japanese.
– I do not want either ; I do not want any coloured people here.
– Neither do I.
– We must be very careful how we tinker with the Act. I cannot understand why the Government have introduced a measure of this kind. What is. the pressure which has been brought to bear on the Government? I have read a number of articles dealing with the subject, but these have been written by people who are opposed to the idea of a White Australia - who are the enemies of the principal plank in our national platform. Why should our democratic Government truckle to such people? Will the amending Bill make any difference so far as concerns the keeping out of the Japanese ? The Minister of Defence has told us that if we pass the Bill we shall stand in exactly the same position as before. If that be so, why amend the Act? To talk about Japan being offended seems to me to be pure bunkum. Japan does not trouble about our education test ; she has very much more important matters in hand. By tinkering and whittling away the safeguard in the Act, we may place ourselves in the hand of a future Government who may be absolutely opposed to the White Australia policy, and who may, during a period of laxity in supervision, introduce large numbers of coloured aliensI specially direct the attention of honorable senators to clause 3, and ask them to be extremely careful in. passing it as it standsIf no one moves an amendment in that clause, I shall do so.
– Strike it out altogether.
– I should be very glad to have this clause struck out, and to allow the section of - the principal Act to remain in force.
– Very good reasons ought to be advanced before we interfere with the Immigration Restriction Act, and, so far as I know, there is no particular urgency for the Bill ‘before us. There has certainly been no demand from the country for any alteration in the present law. I have a very vivid recollection that at the last election the mandate received by Parliament was undoubtedly to continue the immigration laws as passed by the first Parliament.
– Was there no demand for any amendment?
– I do not know that the amendments proposed would prove acceptable to the country, and, in my opinion, the original Act is much the preferable. Under the law as it stands we know exactly the position, whereas clause 3, with the loopholes it presents, may prove more dangerous than we at present imagine. The Act has worked satisfactorily in keeping undesirables out of Australia ; and that I take to be the first and most important object. The statistics that have been collected undoubtedly prove that, by the operation of the present law, many undesirables have been excluded.
– Does the honorable senator not think that some of the amendments in the Bill will assist to make the present law more stringent?
– I do noi think so. In my opinion, none of the amendments are of sufficient importance to justify our interfering with the present law.
– Is there not an advantage in the increased penalties?
– I admit that, if the second reading be passed, I shall support the amendments to increase the penalties, and to extend power to the police under the Act; but, at the same time, I would rather that the present law continued.
– Then there is the amendment which provides that holders of exemption certificates shall not be permitted to introduce their wives.
– There are one or two little amendments which may possibly meet with approval, but, nevertheless, I prefer the present law. The electors have given no indication that they desire any change.
– There is no change of any great moment in the whole Bill.
– The amendments are of sufficient moment to make me suspicious, providing, as they do, so many loopholes. It is all very well to talk about technicalities as to the number of words dictated, and so forth ; but the proof of the success of the Act is the fact that none of the undesirable people referred to have been permitted to enter the Commonwealth. It is only so much bunkum to talk about the harm such an Act may do, even to our own countrymen. White men have not been kept out of Australia by the operation of the Immigration Restriction Act. In the year 1903 over 41,000 men entered the Commonwealth, as against thirteen coloured men, and the latter were not admitted on the language test, but because they were only temporarily here on business. The possible benefits of the Bill are more than counterbalanced by the probable dangers; and for that reason I should prefer to see the measure defeated. It is strange that Natal, and other portions of the Empire, where practically the same language test is applied, have not been asked, either by the Home Government or by any foreign Government, to make any alteration. What is the reason for proposing to strike out the word “European”?
– The object of the amendment is not to abolish the language test, but to extend it so as to include all languages. The test under the Natal Act is [ think, applied in any language.
– In view of the fact that Australia ought, in the eyes of the Home Government, to be regarded as a much more important Possession than Natal, I submit that if any umbrage has been taken at this kind of legislation, Ministers ought to take us into their confidence. I am inclined to think that some communication has passed which has not yet been made public.
– Does not the honorable senator know that in the Natal Act the test is based on the English language, and not on an European language?
– That is another reason why the Natal Act should be altered.
– The honorable senator does not recognise that while the English language was allowed to be used, it was a case of that language only, but that directly the use of an European language was allowed, it debarred the Japanese.
– The Government must have been subjected to some influence before they decided to introduce this measure. It cannot have been exercised from within the Commonwealth, because, with the exception of the Employers’ Federation and the Chambers of Commerce, we know that the public opinion is in favour of the law as it stands. I wish to elicit what has impelled the Government to take this course. In Western Australia a Very suspicious incident occurred very recently. Secret despatches were received from the Home Government in opposition to its Pactories Act. I am under the impression that a similar communication has been addressed to the Government of the Commonwealth, but that it has not yet been made known.
– I know nothing about it.
– It is rather a remarkable coincidence that the Home Government should communicate with the Government of a State on a somewhat similar question, and should not enter into communication with the Government of the Commonwealth when they were about to legislate on a somewhat similar question. We know that it was only because certain restrictions were imposed upon Asiatics, particularly Chinese, the Home Government interfered with regard to the Factories Act ,of Western Australia. There is one thing which the Senate should resent, and that is that it is called upon to legislate at the whim of a defunct Government. We all know that the Balfour Government interfered more or less in these affairs, and now that it has gone, I believe that the Liberal Government, led by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, will view this question from a different stand-point from that of Mr. Chamberlain or Mr. Balfour. We might reasonably expect that the Government which brought about the influx of Chinese to South Africa would interfere as far as they possibly could with the Commonwealth Government and the States Governments in regard to domestic legislation. I am inclined to think that this Bill is the outcome of an intrigue, or whatever name may be applied to the proceeding. In view of the late period of the session, it would be very foolish on the part of the Senate to legislate on this subject. The measure has not received that amount of attention which it deserves. But that is no fault of the Senate, because it has been kept waiting for work during the whole of the session. From time to time it has been obliged to adjourn simply because it had no work to do. If an alteration of our law were deemed to be called for, the Bill could have been introduced here months ago, and if it had been it could have been dealt with more properly than it can be now. The country has not asked for this legislation. So far as we could measure public opinion at the last general election, the people were directly opposed to any tampering with our White Australia legislation. If this Bill is not directed towards that end it means nothing, but is, as the Minister said, a subterfuge. I do not think it will reflect credit upon Parliament to enact a subterfuge. I think that we shall be discharging our duty to the country by throwing the Bill into the waste-paper basket. I intend to vote against the second reading, but if the Bill is taken into Committee, I hope to submit such .amendments as will bring it more into harmony with the wishes of the people of Australia than it is now. In the first Parliament we framed our legislation on this subject in order to please the whim of other persons. We are now told that it is not satisfactory, inasmuch as section 3 of the Act gives offence. That is not the fault of the party to which I belong. We endeavoured to frame the measure in an honest way, but we were defeated in our efforts. We were told that if we were to accept the proposal of the Government, which practically came from Mr. Chamberlain, that would be satisfactory, that the Home Government would not be embarrassed in their international arrangements, and that we could carry out to the full our policv of a White Australia. We were obliged to submit to their representations; but now we are asked to alter what they then proposed for our acceptance. It should be remembered that the only persons who are likely to be satisfied with this Bill are those who opposed the enact- ment of our White Australia policy in the first Parliament.
– Nobody opposes that.
– f am afraid that my honorable friend has forgotten what the real issue between the two parties, was at the last general election, and that was really whether or not our legislation on the White Australian policy should be allowed to remain upon the statute-book. We should do nothing now to minimize the victory which we then secured at the polls. For the last two or three years, honorable senators on the opposite side, as well as certain newspapers in Australia, have been howling against this legislation. Are we going to give them a justification for making that unreasonable howl ? If it were for no other reason. I should vote against any tampering with our Immigration Restriction Act. which, on the whole, I contend, has been more satisfactory in its results than will the alteration nowproposed. The time is not opportune for altering the law, and, therefore, I hope that the Senate will reject this Bill.
– I confess to very considerable difficulty in working up any enthusiasm even in supporting the measure, but its introduction may be fairly justified, because - without in any way desiring to damn it with faint praise - -it is, 011 the whole, an improvement upon existing legislation. Indeed, it was quite refreshing to hear Senator Dobson in his righteous indignation proclaiming most vigorously against the Bill; but his fierce denunciation lost all its force when we learned that it was his intention to vote for its second reading. The principal Act and this Bill have been described here as measures of a deceptive and fraudulent character, as a complete subterfuge; in fact, no denunciation in this direction appears, to have been strong enough to satisfy certain speakers. I think they went a little too far in that direction. It is quite true that many of us would have been more satisfied if the colour test had been enacted in our law. As a State Minister, it was my duty on two occasions to introduce a similar measure, but only to suffer defeat at the hands of a body which used to meet in this magnificent chamber. The reason why the colour test was not inserted was because it was represented to us? by the British Government that we could achieve all we desired bv following the lines of the Natal Act, and prescribing an education test. These representations were publicly discussed. The object of our legislation was well known. A measure, prescribing the colour test, was sent from New South Wales to the old country to receive the Royal assent, but it was represented that it could not be submitted to Her late Majesty, because it was felt that it would create international difficulties if racial distinctions were drawn, particularly as regards portions of the British Empire and allied Powers.. These representations were made to the States Governments by Mr. Chamberlain, who suggested that we could achieve our object by administration. Every one, including the Japanese, knew the object of our education test.
– It was fully discussed at the Imperial Conference.
– Undoubtedly the matter was public property. What I feel a little resentful about is, that some of my honorable friends have seen fit to denounce a measure which has been eminently successful and effective. It cannot be doubted for a moment that the education test has realized the highest anticipations. It cannot be doubted that it has achieved everything that a colour test could have achieved. If that be so, and seeing that everything has been done in broad daylight, why need we lash ourselves into a fury, as one honorable senator has done, in denouncing a measure which has achieved all that we desired?
– The honorable senator referred to does not desire to achieve anything.
– I should be one of the first to denounce the present proposal if I thought for a moment that it would weaken the White Australia policy. I do hot believe that it will. I know that no alteration can be made which will relax that policy in any way, unless by the consent of the people of Australia and of their representatives in Parliament assembled. Senator de Largie surprised me by one or two of the statements which he made. The honorable senator declared, for instance, that this Bill is being introduced to satisfy a whim of a now defunct Government - referring to the Balfour Administration. The honorable senator may have greater knowledge in this connexion than I possess, but certainly I am not aware that any representations were made by the last British Government to the Australian Administration on this subject. If they had been, we should certainly have been made acquainted with them.
– I know that secret despatches were received by the Western Australian Government in connexion with a similar question.
– If I remember rightly, that was in connexion with the Western Australian Factories Act.
– The principle was the same, because what was objected to were the restrictions imposed on Chinese.
– But they affected persons already in the State.
– Senator O’Keefe reminds me that the Act referred to dealt with aliens already within the State.
– The principle was the same.
– No, because the persons affected had become citizens of the State.
– That is so, and this measure deals with the admission of persons whom we denominate as undesirable immigrants. We have the assurance of the leader of the Senate that no representations on this subject were made to the Commonwealth Government by the late British Government. The motives of the Government in introducing this measure are obvious. It is introduced in order that we may remove from the principal Act a provision which appears to be offensive to a certain allied and friendly power. Senator de Largie also said that he had noticed that those- who supported the measure were in agreement with honorable senators on this side, who have for their object the weakening of the White Australia policy. I have to tell the honorable senator that the Prime Minister of Australia, who introduced this measure, and is its most prominent supporter, is the leader of the White Australia policy in Victoria ; the man who raised that standard, and who, on every conceivable occasion, has upheld it. A more staunch supporter of the policy does not exist in the ranks of the party to which Senator de Largie belongs.
– Is not the Bill an attempt to placate the opponents of the White Australia legislation?
– I do not think that it is. Senator de Largie must admit that not only Mr. Deakin, but many members of his Cabinet, are amongst the staunchest supporters of the White Australia policy, and he charges them with treachery if he suggests for a moment that they would be parties to the enactment of any legislation which would have the effect of weakening that policy. Senator Stewart has stated that there is no necessity for this Bill, and, further, that never at any time has there been any protest on the part of a friendly power against the existing legislation. The reference was, of course, to Japan, and the honorable senator must surely have forgotten what has taken place in this Chamber, and also the correspondence on the subject. I have read some of the correspondence, and I know that the Japanese Government never at any time attempted to deny the right of Australia to exclude from her shores all whom she pleased.
– - What restrictions do the Japanese place on Australia?
– They do not deny that they impose certain restrictions on the people of other nations, but at the same time they do not deny the right of a people like ourselves to exclude whom we please from our shores. They have opened their correspondence on this subject with that admission ; but they say, “ We, as a friendly and allied power, feel that this measure, in its present form, is an offence to us,” and they point out exactly wherein it is offensive. During my own term of office in the State Government of Victoria I know that protests made by the Japanese Government to the Imperial authorities were transmitted to the various Australian Governments. Honorable senators must be aware that even before the principal A:t was introduced into this Parliament, and when it was only spoken of, a request was made on behalf of the Japanese Government that it should not contain some of the offensive features which, according to their view, were contained in certain States Acts dealing with immigration. I have here a very ably written pamphlet by Senator Pulsford, in which the honorable senator has brought together some of the protests and representations that have been made in connexion with this legislation. I shall read a few lines in support of my statement, and in order to satisfy Senator Stewart that a protest against this legislation has already been made. In a letter from the Japanese Consul, dated 20th September, 1901, referring to a speech made by Mr. Deakin on the Immigration Restriction Bill, the following statement is made, in conclusion -
I have the honour to point out that extracts from the speech I have quoted above - read in conjunction with your own declarations on pages 4565 and 4653 of *Ilansard** - make it clear that my request that the Japanese might be treated in the same manner as the European nations, has not been of any avail, and that the Bill is unmistakeably and professively aimed at the Japanese, upon grounds which must form the subject of the strongest possible protests should it be massed.
On the 10th October the Consul once more addressed the Prime Minister in these terms -
I notice with great regret, that the third reading of the Immigration Restriction Bill has been passed by your Honorable House of Representatives, providing for an educational test “ in an European language,” to be applied to intending immigrants.
– Is that an official letter?
– Who authorized the Consul to write that letter ?
– The Japanese Government.
– Certainly not.
– He refers to the fact that he has been in direct communication with his Government on the subject.
– He had no right to address the Government of Australia directly. His communication should have gone through the British Government.
– There is no doubt that he did address the Government of Australia directly. He further said, in his letter of the 10th October -
With reference to the statements made that there has been no protest against the same provision of similar legislation when passed by the States of New South Wales, Western Australia, and Tasmania, and that such provision has not been found to cause trouble in any one of these places, I crave permission to say that the absence of protest against the State legislation should neither destroy the right to protest against Federal legislation of the same character, nor weaken its force. And the circumstances existing at the time when the State legislation was under discussion have considerably changed, showing more need for the protest at the present time than there was then.
Subsequently the Japanese Consul addressed the Governor-General in similar terms, and, amongst other things, he said -
My communications, however, were not fortunate enough to produce the desired effect ; inasmuch as the educational test decided upon is racial pure and simple. In addition to this, the subsequent insertion of the word “ European “ in an amendment on the clause which provides for the imposition of penalties on masters and owners of ships, emphasises the intention of the Bill to make racial distinctions.
He continues further in that strain, but the point I am making is that protests have been made against the principal Act before its introduction on the second and third reading, and a final protest to the GovernorGeneral. I point out that the objectionable feature in the Act was held to be that the education test was to be a test in a European language. It is now proposed that the European language test shall be eliminated. Under this measure power is asked to make regulations to prescribe the test, but they are not to be brought into force on the mere if se dixit of the GovernorGeneral in Council, but are to be submitted for the approval of Parliament. Parliament will, therefore, have to accept the responsibility of saying whether the proposed test will achieve all thai the principal measure was intended to achieve. It. is idle to suppose that the Prime Minister, who has been mainly moved on the representations of Japan to eliminate this objectionable feature from the principal Act, will be party to the reimposition of a European language test. The idea in proposing regulations to prescribe a test is to have a test which shall not be regarded as of a racial nature.
– There is no intention to prescribe such a test.
– It is clear that the European language test will not be prescribed again.
– It is prescribed in the verv next clause of the Bill.
– Of course the European language test remains until the proposed new regulations come into force.
– And the “until” is never to come.
– It will occur on the Ides of March.
– Senator Dobson is apparently not prepared to assist the Government in their desire to remedy the evil complained of.
– Why do they not do it in the Bill ?
– T. do not feel that I can take any fair exception to the proposal of the Government in this connexion. They give us the assurance that they will prescribe regulations, and will submit them to Parliament. In the circumstances, I think there is a reasonable justification for the introduction of the Bill, and I propose to support its second reading, in the full hope and belief that its operation will in no way relax or interfere with the settled policy of Australia, so far as its population is concerned.
– Like the last speaker, I think we should not lose sight of the fact that the principal Act, which this Bill seeks to amend, has largely accomplished what it set out to accomplish. It has not only prevented a large number of Asiatics from coming to Australia, but it has served as a warning throughout Eastern nations that the ports of Australia are closed to them; and that has been efficacious in practically stopping numbers of Asiatics from coming to our shores. We have a great deal to thank the authors of that Act for. Australia owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Parliament which passed it. Certainly I should not hesitate to vote against any Bill which I thought would have the effect of opening our doors, or of weakening in any way the bar we have placed against alien immigration. But I am afraid that, in the criticism of this Bill, attention has been directed almost exclusively to the proposed change in the language test, and that honorable senators have lost sight, to some extent, of many faults in the existing legislation which this Bill proposes to remedy. Experience of the working of the existing Act has shown that it is by no means perfect. And it is not wonderful that that should be the case. When we remember that its provisions have been tested in the Law Courts, and that there are interested persons who are willing to spend their money to take cases even to the High Court in order to find a flaw somewhere, it is not wonderful that defects should have been found in the law. And there are such flaws that, I venture to say, if amendments are not framed to meet them, and if the Senate and another place do not pass those amendments, the breaches in the wall will, in the beginning, admit a tiny trickle of Asiatics, that will before long swell to a large stream. Take, first, the question of the education test. Is it not a fact that the education test has been found to be faulty, and that at least three Chinamen have been added to our population because of the faulty application of that test?
– That is not a tremendous number.
– That is only a beginning. The case has been taken to the Law Courts, now that Asiatics and those who are interested in bringing them here have learnt that there is a flaw in the law. Does not my honorable friend think that others will try the same breach in the wall ? I am certain that they will.
– Cannot that flaw be remedied by regulation?
– We cannot override an Act by regulation.
– Why justify the Bill because flaws have been found in the Act?
– The honorable senator is jumping to a conclusion. He asks, why justify the amendments made in this Bill because flaws have been discovered ? I have not set out to justify all amendments. I am merely pointing out flaws in our existing legislation; and I say that there is a flaw in the provision which is the very crown piece of that legislation, namely, the education test. There is another one. We have provided in the Act that the captain of a ship who lets a prohibited immigrant escape from his vessel shall incur a penalty. The minimum penalty was fixed at and the maximum at .£100. Now, all the States of Australia have had experience of what was known as the poll-tax, under which so many Chinamen were allowed to come in on payment of £1 00 each. The experience was that there were hundreds of Chinamen who were prepared to pay .£100 per head to come into Australia. It appeared to be a good bargain, from their point of view. In every steamer coming from Singapore, when that law was in existence, there were Chinamen who were prepared to pay £100 to enter Australia. But under our present Immigration Restriction Act we provide that a Chinaman can arrange with the captain of a vessel to refund him the amount of the penalty. The Chinaman can come in, provided the captain will connive at his escape, and give him facilities for escaping. Suppose a Chinaman comes to Australia on a vessel that way, and manages to evade the Customs officers. Then what is to happen? He escapes from the vessel. The captain is taken to the Court, and is fined £5. He pays the money, and that is the last of it. It is true that the captain pays .^5 for each immigrant, but he has received the ^5 in advance, and is not, therefore, out of pocket. In some cases recently, fines even lower than £5 have been inflicted.
– Very often we cannot get at the captain, and therefore we have made the agent liable under the amending Bill.
– How many cases of that kind have occurred ?
– There have beer* dozens of cases. I myself have asked several questions on the subject in the Senate. I point out to those honorable senators who intend to vote against this Bill that they are going to allow that state of things to continue. They are going to allow it to remain possible for captains of ships to connive to land Asiatics in Australia at the rate of £5 per head. In other words, they are indirectly going to allow a poll-tax of £5 per head to be imposed instead of one of ^100. The amending Bill increases the minimum penalty recoverable to ,£100, and makes it recoverable not only from the captain of a ship, but from the agent.
– But the Bill weakens the language test.
– I am in favour of making the language test more effective, but I am not going to throw away these valuable provisions for strengthening the law indirections where I can plainly see that if needs to be strengthened.
– The question is whether we can get these extra provisions unless we accept the proposed modification of the language test.
– That is for the majority, to say. Another matter came under my notice some time ago. I have taken a good deal of trouble in trying to secure the effective administration of the Immigration Restriction Act. My experience was this : A half-caste came to me in Western Australia, and gave me valuable information as to how Chinamen were being smuggled in by various boats coming to Fremantle. I passed that information on to the police authorities, and it led directly to five stowaways being discovered on one steamer. I afterwards took the same information to the Minister of External Affairs. In conversation with the police authorities, one of the detectives pointed out to me some of the practical difficulties arising under the Act. One of them was this : He got information that several stowaways had beenlanded, and were working in a certain vegetable garden in Perth. He was taken there by the half-caste informer to whom 1 have referred, and he saw the men working in the garden. He questioned them,. and found that they could not speak a word of English. He felt absolutely confident that they had escaped from a vessel ; but he had to go to get a warrant for their arrest, and in the meantime they became suspicious, and escaped. By the time he had obtained the warrant .for their arrest they had left the place, and were not to be found. In that way a few more Chinamen were added to the population. A difficulty of that kind would be remedied by the Bill now under consideration. Am I going to assist to reject this Bill when we can remedy defects of that kind bv means of it? ‘
– That detective was a man who did not know his work.
– If he had dared to arrest those Chinamen without a warrant he would have been liable to civil damages. A policeman in this very State applied to the Premier of Victoria, only a few days ago, for the refund of £400, being the amount of damages which he had incurred in an action brought against him in the civil court for arresting a man without a warrant.
– Without reasonable cause.
– In the cases I have mentioned the law provided that the police bad to have a warrant before making an arrest. This Bill, however, makes a policeman an officer under the Act, and gives him power to arrest a man on suspicion of being a prohibited immigrant. I draw attention to another flaw in the existing Act, which allows any Asiatic coming to Australia to make a claim on the ground of domicile. It does not matter how ancient the claim may be. He may claim that his great grandfather was here when the first Chinamen came to the diggings in Victoria. If he can by any means - and these Asiatics are gifted with a powerful imagination - prove domicile, no matter how ancient or flimsy may be his case, he may claim exemption from the test. I have been informed that some applications for admission on the ground of domicile date back to the eighties, when certificates were issued by the States Governments galore to any Chinaman who chose to ask for them. They were issued indiscriminately without photographs, and without the hand imprints under the Bertillon system, which we now have in operation. The original Act is altogether too far-reaching. We are drawing it very much closer by means of this Bill. We are making the provisions as to domicile very much more stringent, and preventing that abuse from being practised in the future. Then, again, there was another difficulty with which some honorable senators are quite familiar. When an immigrant had been convicted under the old Act, the captain of the ship which brought him to Australia was not compelled to take him away again. There was no power by which the’ captain of a vessel could be compelled to take away an immigrant whom he had improperly brought to this country. That flaw has been met in this Bill. I know that, in drawing attention to these valuable provisions of the Bill, I shall probably cause a loss to the Government of the votes of some honorable senators opposite. Some of them who have had their attention concentrated on what they thought to be a little bit of a concession to Japanese sentiment may have lost sight of the fact that there are in this Bill provisions which make our immigration restriction law far more effective than it has been in the past. It seems to me that, in all the instances which I have pointed out, there is absolute need for an early alteration of the Act. Many of these flaws have only been discovered during the last twelve months. But the stream of Asiatics who have been finding their way into Australia in consequence of these defects has been increasing, until at last attention has been directed to the weakness of our legislation.
– How is it, then, that the number of Chinese in Australia is decreasing ?
– The number is decreasing because, notwithstanding the flaws which I have pointed out, the general provisions of the Act do not allow a sufficient number of Asiatics to come in to make up for the number going back to Asia, and the number who die. But still a considerable number of Chinese and other Asiatics have been admitted into the Commonwealth because of flaws in our existing legislation. The stream will increase, because Chinamen and other Asiatics are just as keen- as any European races to follow up the advantage when they have learned how to drive a coach and four through an Act of Parliament. The time has arrived when we should make this Act as. perfect as possible. I now come to the language test, and my opinion is that no alteration is necessary. I attach little or no importance to the attempt made by Senator Pulsford and one or two others to work up asort of Japanese bogy to frighten the people of theCommonwealth. I really think that the honorable senator has been trying to ingratiate himself with the Mikado, in the hope that he may be decorated with the order of the Rising Sun or of the Chrysanthemum ; if pertinacity meets its reward the honorable senator ought, at the least, to be decorated with a chrysanthemum. Any Japanese who were offended by the previous Act must, if he has any common sense, be just as much offended by the amending measure. 1 cannot think “that a Japanese will be mollified because he knows that he is prohibited by regulation instead of by Act of Parliament. However, I cannot see that the suggested alteration will in any way weaken the test, or that it is more than an alteration of the verbiage of the Bill. The Government may think the amendment will mollify Japan or some other nation; but, if so, they give those nations credit for very little penetration. First of all, the whole secret of the success of the existing Act lies in the administration. If we had a Government prepared to say that they would not administer the Bill, and they had a majority prepared to keep them in office, Asiatics could be admitted wholesale.
– Such a Government need only to decide not to apply the test.
– All that would be necessary would be to instruct the officers not to apply thetest, and the Act would become a dead letter. But the success of the Act has always depended on the White Australia sentiment behind it ; in fact, the people, by a tremendous majority, are heart and soul in favour of itsrigid enforcement. I am convinced that the amendment proposed will not allow this or any other Government to so administer the Act as to enable a solitary Asiatic to find his, way to our shores. A Government that dared to administer the Act in such a way, even with this amendment, would not have the pleasure very long of administering any Act; and, therefore, I am not much concerned about the amendment. If it mollifies Japan, well and good, but, if not, we shall have to take the consequences. I realize, however, the very great value of many of the other provisions of the Bill, and, for that reason, I shall vote for it. It will remedy faults which have been found to exist during the administration of the present Act, and, making our White Australia policy more effective, will enable us to exclude the few stray Asiatics who find their way through the hole which was unwittingly left when we first built the wall.
– Senator Best read a letter which he said contained the official representation from the Government of Japan.
– No, I said the letter was from the Japanese Consul.
– The honorable senator said that the letter was sent by some one representing Japan to the Commonwealth Government, with regard to the necessity or desirableness, of making an alteration in the Act; but every official communication on. such a subject from a foreign power to the Commonwealth must come through the Imperial Government, because there is no other channel. As to there having been no official communication, I have proof in the fact that on the 14th November last the representative of the Government informed us that none had been received. If honorable senators will turn to page 4969 of Hansard for this year, they will see the following : -
Senator STEWART (for Senator Staniforth Smith) asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
Has the Government received any communication from the Secretary of State for the Colonies asking the Federal Parliament to alter the Commonwealth Immigration Restriction Act in so far as the Empire of Japan is concerned, with a’ view of removing the alleged objections of Japan to the present provisions of the Act?
Was not the present Act passed at the instance and desire of the then Secretary of State for the Colonies?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
That proves that up to date no official communication from the Japanese Government had ever reached the Commonwealth Government.
– And the letter referred to by Senator Best was dated 1901.
– A Consul has no authority to make any such official representation.
– Any such letters written by a Consul are, so far as we are concerned, so many private letters ; and therefore the Government were perfectly right when they asserted that no official communication had been received. That not only disposes of the argument as to any official communication, but is also incidentally an effective reply to those who say that the Commonwealth Parliament, in passing the Immigration Restriction Act, flew in the faces of Japan and other nations. We did not do anything of the kind. The desire was to pass this legislation in a perfectly honest and straightforward way - to show on the face of the Act that the intention was to exclude all coloured people, without respect to nations. Instead, however, we were induced to insert an education test at the special request of the then Tory Government of the United Kingdom, which finds so much favour amongst honorable senators opposite, who are so loud-mouthed in denouncing this Act and its administration. I differ from Senator Pearce in the view I take of the amending Bill. Senator Pearce is of opinion that the good provisions outweigh the bad provision to abolish the European language test - that many of the amendments close up gaps in the existing law, and will tend to make the latter more effective. I admit that, from my point of view, there are some good provisions in the Bill, but my opinion is that these are entirelyoutweighed bv the widening of the language test. ^Although under the existing law there may be some gaps through which a few undesirable aliens may trickle into the Commonwealth, we must remember that if we widen the language test we shall create a gap through which they may enter wholesale. No provision which will enable us to prevent the entrance of the few will make up for provisions which may . bring about the admission of the multitude. It is the fixed desire of the people of Australia to keep the Continent white - to preserve it for a nation of our own race and colour. In that, the people of Australia are perfectly justified : and we have no right to weaken deliberate legislation in such a manner as to permit of a wholesale influx of Asiatics. It is admitted by both friends and opponents of the immigration- restriction policy, generally, that the Act mainly depends on administration for its effectiveness. Suppose, for a moment, that we had in power a Government, the leading members and the majority of the supporters of which were opposed to the White Australia ideal, and in favour of opening, the door wide to immigrants of all races and colours.
– They could carry out their desires under the present Act.
– But they could not do so as easily as they could under the amending Bill.
– Just as easily. If the test were made in an Asiatic language, an undesirable Japanese could be tested, for instance, in Hindustani.
– The fact that a test in an European language is provided is a clear and unmistakable indication of our opinion.
– Our Acts of Parliament are not read by the light of our opinions, but by what appears in the Acts themselves.
– Everything lies in the administration.
– That may be so; but the administration must be in accord with the expressed indication of the Act, and so long as the test is made in an European language it means that Australia intends to admit only those who speak an European language.
– - Some Japanese can speak English.
– Very likely ; but the fact that the test must be in an European language indicates that the immigrants we desire are those who have an European language as their mother tongue. The provision in the Bill affords no such indication ; and any Government would, of course, be justified in claiming the power to prescribe any language.
– But, according to the Bill, the prescribed language must be fixed by resolution in Parliament.
– Why does the Constitution place so many safeguards in regard to the passing of Acts of Parliament ? It is simply in order that the will of the people shall not be lightly changed, but that full opportunity shall be given for discussion. Regulations laid on the table mav escape notice, and if they are not negatived within a certain time they have the force of law. There are no safeguards of first, second, and third readings, and so forth, as in the case of a Bill.
– The regulations have to be passed by resolution of both Houses ; they do not attain the force of law by effluxion of time. v
– But what is that compared with those provided in the case of ordinary legislation. The experience of Parliament proves that regulations, once they are framed by a Government, almost generally escape attention.
– “Under this Bill, each House must be asked by motion to agree to a regulation, so that it could not possibly escape notice.
– Will the Minister consent to embody the regulation in the Bill, so that it can be fully discussed in Committee, and we can. vote afterwards either for or against the third reading? I have no particular fault to find with the present legislation. In my opinion, it is fairly satisfactory. If, as Senator Pearce has pointed out, a few undesirable immigrants have been smuggled through in one way or another, it has been mainly through lax administration. “ All that we want to make the present law as effective as any one could desire is a little more watchful administration. If that is secured, I feel that the Act will be perfectly satisfactory and effective in achieving the object for which it was, passed. Again let me ask who has made a demand for an alteration in the existing law ?
– The honorable senator’s own Government.
– My Government have not asked for anything of the kind.
– The present Government are doing so.
– Unfortunately, I have not a mortgage over the present Government.
– The honorable senator has.
– I do not belong to the present. Government, and I do not claim that they belong to me.
– That is all nonsense.
– Because I am giving an independent support to the present Government, it does not imply that I am going to saddle myself with the responsibility of any legislation which they may choose to introduce, that I do not hold myself absolutely free to vote against any legislation which thev may introduce if I consider it bad.
– The Bill has been accepted by the party to which the honorable senator belongs.
– It must have been accepted by the caucus.
– Senator Fraser is greatly concerned about caucuses. ‘How many of them does he hold ?
– Do not kick over the traces,.
– The honorable senator holds caucuses with men who are not members of Parliament. He goes to little sectarian organizations outside, and holds, caucuses with them, and, dominated by their opinions, he comes here and wishes to dominate Parliament. Who has. made a demand for this measure? Honorable senators on the other side say that it is made by the Government to which I belong. The only Government to which I ever owed any allegiance was the one led by Mr. Watson.
– And he approves, of this Bill.
– He was careful to say that he was acting on his own responsibility.
– That is not generous.
- Mr. Watson said that he was speaking for himself, and the members of my party who are in his confidence will be able to say if I am not speaking the exact truth.
– Several of his followers, voted against the Bill in another place.
– Yes, and I hope that several of his followers in this place will vote against the Bill. The only demand for an alteration of the Act has been made by a few interested persons who mainly represent the wealth, the conservatism, and the reactionary principles advocated by honorable senators opposite. Over and over again there has. been a howl raised by honorable senators representing those opinions, both inside and outside Parliament, against this, class of legislation, although, as I have shown, it was enacted in its particular form at the request of the late English Conservative Government. What was the animating move? Was it a humanitarian feeling ? Was it a desire that absolute justice should be meted out to broad humanity, to whites and blacks alike ? Nothing of the kind ! A pretence of that kind may have been made, but the real reason was a desire to flood Australia with cheap labour, so that a little more profit might be squeezed out of suffering humanity.
– That is the absolute truth. At the bottom of the hearts of the opponents of this legislation has been a desire to flood Australia with cheap labour, to have it handed over to a few big nabobs with their army of coloured slaves at their behest and disposal, so that they might increase their profits and pose as the almighty kings of the country.
– The honorable senator is suffering from a nightmare.
– That was right at the bottom of the whole crime. Senator Fraser no doubt considered it a first-class thing that the sugar planters in Northern Queensland should be supplied with a plethora of coloured labour, so that they might enjoy a higher rate of interest, so that they could create a happy country, where every man would have the right to flog his own nigger. That has been their ideal all the time, but it is not the ideal of the people of Australia, I am proud to be able to say, and they have determined that it shall never reach fruition.
– The honorable senator must have joined the new radical party which has been formed in “England.
– I am pleased, indeed, that there is a new radical party, because, in my own opinion, England has suffered enough obloquy under the thumb of a reactionary Government.
– Does the honorable senator think that has anything to do with the Bill ?
– Undoubtedly if it has not, then the interjection had nothing to do with the Bill.
– The honorable senator ought not to take notice of interjections.
– It is pretended by honorable senators opposite, and by the party outside whom they represent, that no one wishes to allow Chinese or Japanese labourers to come into Australia, but that all they desire is to remove from the present Act certain provisions, which are alleged to be offensive to Japan. That is not the animating desire of their party. Their desire is to open wide the gate, to let coloured aliens come in at their own sweet will, and the sooner Australia understands that the better it will be. Knowing that that is their desire, how could I, or any one else, be justified in assisting them to open that gate?
– Had not the honorable senator better express his own opinions, instead of misrepresenting those of everybody else?
– The honorable senator will not allow the whites to come in, let alone the blacks.
– I shall show Senator Fraser that he is mistaken when the Contracts Immigration Bill is reached. Senator Dobson says that I am misrepresenting the opinions of certain persons. On a score of occasions I have heard the honorable senator say that we should’ allow coloured labourers to come in wholesale, at any rate in the northern portions of Australia.
– The honorable senator never heard anything of the sort.
– Undoubtedly I did, and by-and-by I shall take an opportunity to remind the honorable senator of the statements which he is now denying.
– Senator Fraser always insisted that black labour was required in Northern Queensland.
– Where the whites cannot work.
– And where is that place?
– This evening we had some honorable senators objecting to the selection of Dalgety as a site for the Federal Capital, because it was too cold a place for whites to live in, but now they say that another part of Australia is too hot. What sort of arguments are these ?
– Why does not the honorable senator attack the Government for bringing in the Bill ?
– I am. Both the Act and this Bill are subterfuges. It is admitted that they are. We are asked to say to these people, “We will allow you to come in if you can pass a certain language test,” when that is not our object. We have just as much objection to the Japanese coming in if they could pass the language test as if they could not, and so has Senator Playford. Why not be honest?
– I wish we could, but we cannot.
– Why can we not?
– How can we?
– Does Senator Playford think that the Government in England would dare to flout the expressed will of the people of Australia, if the latter had only the courage to embody their opinions in an Act of Parliament? I do not for a moment believe they would.
– To be strictly honest, we ought to adopt the colour test; but we are told that the British Government would not then allow the Royal assent to be given to the Bill.
– There is no halfway house to honesty. A thing is either dishonest or honest. If this is not an honest Bill - and it is not - it is a dishonest one.
– It is just as honest as the Act of1901.
– Both measures are tarred with the same brush.
– Some of the honorable senator’s statements are correct.
– I must ask honorable senators not to interrupt, as it only tends to lead the speaker astray.
– If the Act is not intended to allow the Japanese to come in, it is only an aggravation of the offence in the original Act. We are pretending to remove a restriction from the Japanese, and yet the Minister, in his second-reading speech, and by frequent interjections, has told us that we are going to do nothing of the sort. Well, what is the use of pretending that we are going to do it ?
– We are making no pretence.
– We are not doingit. The honorable senator does not understand the Act.
– I understand it a little too well to suit the honorable senator. He says that we are going to placate Japan.
– Who says so?
-The Minister says so.
– Honorable senators on both sides have said that the original Act is offensive to Japan, and that this Bill will remove the cause of offence.
– And so is this Bill.
– Why is the honorable senator going to vote for its second reading ?
– On account of the clause which allows the Government to make an arrangement with anybody. That is all.
– I am going to vote against the Bill, because I believe that the sacrifice of principle which we are asked to make, and some of the concessions which it gives, is too great a price to pay for its one or two desirable provisions. Suppose that, in order to placate Japan, we were to remove the offensiveness of the provisions in the existing law, and that the Japanese were to come in under the cegis of a Government which was not in sympathy with the White Australia ideal, what would be the effect in the country ? It would be exceedingly bad for the country if the Japanese should come, here in any number, because our ideal, I take it, is to keep Australia white, and any admixture of coloured races would be exceedingly bad for that ideal. We want to keep our race pure, because the highest scientific authorities in the world are agreed, without exception, that the admixture of these races is bad. I intend to quote one of the authorities before I finish my speech.
– Never mind that ; we are all agreed on that point.
– I do not think that the honorable senator is agreed about that, otherwise he would not have been so eager to allow coloured races to come into certain portions of Australia.
– I have heard the honorable senator advocate here that the coloured races should be allowed to come into Australia.
– Under strict regulations, as in Queensland.
– But the honorable senator woul d allow them to come in ?
– Under strict regulations.
– If the honorable senator would not allow any one to come in with absolute freedom, as we did, then the system of immigration would only be a modified form of slavery.
– We do not want them in this State.
– The honorable senator wants them in other portions of Australia. I wish he would forget his petty provincialism, and recognise that he is sitting in the Parliament of the Commonwealth, and that Victorian interests are not going to be allowed to prevail over those of the rest of Australia. If we are ever to build up a great nation here, it is essential that it shall not be a nation of Eurasians or a piebald nation of any other kind, but a nation of our own race and colour, who, in the hour of need, will be prepared to stand side by side and fight together as one united people.
– The party to which the honorable senator belongs is not willing to allow even our own people to come in here.
– I shall deal with that matter when we come to consider the measure proposed in connexion with the introduction of contract labour.
– They stopped General Booth’s proposal at any rate.
– Senator Fraser is saying something which he knows to be absolutely incorrect.
– I know that it is correct.
– I ask the honorable senator not to interrupt.
– There is no member of the party to which I belong who is not prepared to welcome with open arms every white man who comes to this country as a free man. Another essential in the building up of a great nation in this Commonwealth is the maintenance of the standard of living of white people. We must maintain a high standard of living, and we know that if the great bulk of our people, the majority of whom are working people, have to compete for a living with coloured races of all kinds, it will be impossible for them to do so. I hope to see our standard of living raised higher and higher instead of falling lower and lower, as apparently some honorable senators desire. If we are to maintain a high standard, we must encourage clean living. We must have good moral and physical conditions, and I ask how we are to accomplish that if we allow the Japs and the Chows with their thousand and one stinks and abominations, to come in here? I use the words advisedly, because any one who has seen the Japanese and Chinese quarters in some of the towns of Australia - and we need not go further than Melbourne to see them - will know that there is nothing in them but stinks and abominations. Honorable senators need not go more than 300 yards from the building in which we are assembled to be assured of the truth of my assertion. From one end of the country to the other, Australia is overrun by immoral women, imported by Japanese bullies from Japan. From Thursday Island right round the coast to Western Australia, and even in the heart of the Continent, on the gold-fields of that State, they are to be found.
– And in Cairns.
– There are plenty of them in Cairns. No place is free from them. This is the sort of thing which those who favour alien immigration would like to encourage. I say that we want moral and clean-living in Australia, and if we permit these people, who have not the moral sense of white people, and none of the moral conscientious obligations of white people, to come in here, it will be impossible for us to maintain in Australia the standard of clean moral living which we should like to maintain.
– It is no sin according to Japanese morality.
– As Senator Dawson reminds me, the sort of thing to which I refer is quite common in Japan, and is not recognised as being immoral. It is quite a common thing in that country for young girls to hire themselves out for a number of years.
– Their fathers hire them out.
– Their parents hire them out, or they hire themselves out, for immoral purposes, and they are exposed in cages, as they are in the Commonwealth also, to tempt people, in order that they may earn a dot for themselves which will enable them subsequently to marry and live happy and respectably ever afterwards.
– Does the honorable senator think that white men can afford to throw stones in that matter?
– I do not.
– I say that, bad as some white people undoubtedly are, they have never descended to the filthy practices to which these people have descended.
– I think it is a scandal that such remarks should be made.
– Senator Pulsford regards it as a scandal that remarks which are absolutely true should be made about the Japanese people who come here, whilst the honorable senator is not one bit ashamed to say them about the people of his own race, because he has said that the people of our own race cannot afford to throw any stones in this respect. Of what use is it for us to blink at the facts ? There may be first-rate and good people in Japan, but they are not of the class who come here. If the honorable senator desires that the youth of the Commonwealth shall be tempted as they might be, by seeing Japanese women painted up and exhibited inside wire-netting, I wish him joy of his aspiration.
– Is that to be seen in these States?
– The honorable senator must have been travelling, about a bit. I have never seen anything of the kind.
– It is not to be seen in South Australia.
– The honorable senator must have been travelling around with his eyes shut. From a health point ‘of view it is equally important that we should keep our race clean. The worst scourge in Northern Queensland at the present time is what is commonly known as the eartheating disease, the technical name for which is ankylostomiasis . That is the worst pest which has been introduced into Queensland, and it has been brought into that State by these Asiatic people. It was absolutely unknown in the Commonwealth until these people came here. Apparently some honorable senators do not object to subject the little children of Northern Queensland to the contamination of that awful disease.
– That is only one of the diseases which they have introduced.’ There is also leprosy.
– I proposed to refer to that.
– Does not the honorable senator know that white people have nearly decimated some of the South Sea Islands by the diseases they have introduced there?
– I do, and the more shame it is that it should be true.
– Does the honorable senator really think that these remarks have anything to do with this Bill ?
– I respectfully submit that they have. I am pointing to the evils which must follow from the introduction of these people as a reason why this Bill should be opposed, because I consider that it increases the opportunities afforded them to come here. I. therefore, respectfully submit that my remarks are perfectly in order.
– They are perfectly disgraceful.
– I should like to ask whether Senator Pulsford is in order in saying that my remarks are perfectly disgraceful ?
- Senator Pulsford is not in order in saying that, but Senator Givens must recollect that he is making a very severe attack on the Chinese and Japanese.
– I am very pleased to hear, sir, that you think I have made a severe attack, because I was personally of the opinion that I was erring on the side of mildness.
– I said nothing as to whether the honorable senator’s statements, were correct or not.
– We want to keep this Commonwealth free from the physical and moral leprosy which apparently some people would like to see inflicted upon us.
– Would condone, anyway.
– Undoubtedly, they do condone it. There are people in this Commonwealth who are prepared to sacrifice its well-being in every respect if they can secure people to work for them at a low rate of wages, and under conditions which will insure them larger profits. I can produce a printed report of the proceedings of a conference held in Northern Queensland, from which it will be seen that one man went so far as to say that he believed that God Almighty created the South Sea Islanders, so that the planters of Northern Queensland might make profit out of them.
– “ Suspicion ever haunts the guilty mind.”
– There is no suspicion about this, because the man’s actual words can be quoted in this Chamber.
– “ Exceptions do not make the rule.”
– I am afraid that these exceptions are very widely spread, and these opinions find advocates in. almost every quarter of the Commonwealth, and even amongst honorable senators in this Chamber.
– On the opposite side, not on this.
– No, on the honorable senator’s side. The verv first speech which Senator Gray made in this Senate was in advocacy of niggers being allowed to come into Northern Queensland wholesale.
– Under regulations.
– “ Under regulations !” What a salve that mus,t be to the honorable senator’s conscience. These regulations mean nothing more nor less than semi-slavery. If we allow these people to come in here wholesale, the result of such a policy will ultimately be the dragging of our own people down to the level of these aliens. There is a point of view from which I do not think honorable senators have considered this question. If this Bill is not a mere subterfuge it will result in making the entry of Japanese into the Commonwealth more easy. If that be the result, we may find that we are permitting the entry into the Commonwealth of an advance guard of what may in the future be a hostile nation. We may be admitting an advance guard to spy out the nakedness of the land, in order to allow of the easy entrance of a Japanese hostile force, if in future Australia or the mother country should have any quarrel with Japan.
– We have already done that, I think.
– I believe that it is a. fact that they have taken advantage of the presence of some of their countrymen here to secure plans and sketches of every one of our forts.
– Moonshine ! The honorable senator is dreaming.
– I am not dreaming, and I say that officers of our Defence Force have been exceedingly lax in their duty, inasmuch as they have employed some of these people as cooks in the forts. They have been allowed to wander about the fortifications, and this has occurred right round Australia. It is possible that the Japanese have sent educated military officers here, and have induced them to take positions as cooks in this way in order to obtain just the information to which I have referred. Such things have been known before, and the matter is one which deserves consideration.
– Thev know the outside passage to Thursday Island.
– As Senator Dawson reminds me, as the result of the employment of these people in the pearlfishing industry of Torres Straits, they are now acquainted with every passage through the Great Barrier Reef, which, in the absence of such knowledge, would have proved an absolute safeguard to Australia. We have heard a great deal from some honorable senators about the offence our Immigration Restriction Act has been to Japan, and have been told that we should not apply any such severe restrictions to the Japanese. But it is curious that those honorable senators have not said a word about the (restrictions which” the Japanese imposed upon Australians visiting their country. They have not said that the Japanese will not permit a foreigner to take up and own a bit of land in Japan, or to engage in business except under special restrictions and in but a few places. We have not been told that the Japanese impose far more restrictions upon Australians going to Japan than we impose on Japanese coming to Australia.
– There are any number of Australians going to Japan without let or hindrance.
– -They go there as visitors only, and the Japanese can come here as visitors without let or hindrance. Japanese have come here, and have engaged in business in Australia; though some of it is filthy business, I admit. Australians cannot go to Japan to engage in business there, and we have more right to be offended with Japanese legislation than they have to be offended with ours. I believe that the people of Australia generally are prepared to concede to Japan the fullest right to impose any restriction she pleases upon the immigration of foreigners into that country. I believe that the Japanese will be wise in imposing such restrictions. I believe that they will be found necessary for her well-being and national existence. One of the highest authorities who has ever expressed an opinion with regard to the future of the Japanese nation has advised them to impose severe restrictions upon immigration. I refer to a letter written in 1892 by the late eminent philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer. I understand that Senator de Largie has already quoted his letter, and that it appears in Hansard, Herbert Spencer showed how dangerous it would be for Japan to allow unrestricted immigration of alien races. That advice, coming from such an eminent authority, is equally applicable to Australia. The same danger faces us with regard to allowing alien blood to mix with the white race.
– Japan is acting upon Herbert Spencer’s suggestion now.
– And she is quite right to do so. It is one of the wisest things which she can do. I believe, therefore, that Japan will readily concede to us the same rights as we concede to her. We have heard something concerning representations made to Australia by Japan, and I do not know that she has ever made any official representations to us concerning this matter. The official representations that have been alleged have been so much noise and bombast from the opponents of this sort of legislation in Australia. One or two isolated Japanese here and there may have written something which would give colourable support to the ideas of honorable senators opposite, but the Commonwealth Government has never had a line of remonstrance from the Japanese Government on the subject. If the Commonwealth has received such communications it has been deceiving this Parliament, because, in answer to a question bv me on the 14th November, the representative of the Government replied that no such representations had ever been madeIt has been said that Japan has proved herself to be a strong Power, equal to any European Power. Senator Pulsford has been particularly prominent in putting forward that view. He argues that we should be careful how we deal with a strong Power of that sort, and that we must avoid offending her susceptibilities.
– I have never said anything of the sort. I have never taken that ground.
– I do not wish to misquote the honorable senator. He said, at all events, that Japan has proved her humanity and kindliness in different ways, and that we should treat her as we would treat any of the great Powers of Europe. I do not hold that view. If it be true that because Japan is a strong Power, and has proved herself equal to any of the great Powers of Europe, because she has conducted war in a civilized manner, because she has not outraged any of the canons of civilized warfare - though for my own part I consider that all warfare is an outrage upon all ethical canons - if it be true that these are the reasons, why we should not be offensive to Japan, I ask, is not that tantamount to asking us to yield to force what we will not yield to right? Is it not tantamount to asking us to yield to Japan because she is a strong Power, without considering the ethics of the question ? Why has riot Senator Pulsford gone out of his way to ask us to make concessions to weaker Powers, such as he asks us to make to Japan, if he does not argue that we should yield to force? We should make the concessions, if they are right, whether the Power to which they are made is strong or weak.
– Hear hear; I quite agree with that.
-Why treat Japan differently from the way we treat the people of India? We should, in fact, be much more ready to placate the natives of India, to whom the nation to which we belong owes a certain amount of obligation, than to make concessions to Japan. I could not allow the second reading of this Bill to be passed without expressing the opinions which I strongly hold with regard to it. I believe that the highest duty that we who are charged with the destinies of this young nation, have, is to protect it against an influx of coloured aliens. The prosperity and well-being of this country depend upon the policy 06 this Parliament. A heavy responsibility rests upon us; and before doing anything which will have a tendency to cause a departure from the high national ideals which this Parliament has set mp for itself, we should be. convinced of the absolute and urgent necessity of making the change recommended. I am not convinced of it. Therefore, I shall vote against the second reading of the Bill, and shall do all I can, if the measure gets into Committee, to make its provisions more stringent rather than to widen the means of permitting the entry of coloured Asiatics into Australia.
– I may say at the outset that, while I am generally in agreement with my honorable friend, Senator Givens, who has just resumed his seat, and with others who have addressed themselves to the question of the desirableness of strictly enforcing the White Australia policy, and while I would assist in every possible way to that end, at the same time I confess that I am absolutely unable to foilow them when they declare their intention to’ vote against the second reading of this Bill. I think that Senator Pearce’s position is the right one. And just here I should like to say that I believe that every member of the party to which I belong agrees to stick as closely as we can to the policy of excluding all undesirable immigrants, Asiatic or otherwise, from Australia. I did not understand Senator Pearce to say that he intended to vote for the second reading of this Bill, because it had some good provisions, in it, whilst admitting that it also contained bad provisions. I understood his position to be that he was not prepared to sacrifice the good provisions in the Bill because he did not like some bad ones. If an honorable senator adopts the principle that he will vote against the second reading of any measure because it has some bad provisions in it, he will find himself voting against the second reading of almost every Bill introduced in the Senate. Throughout my parliamentary experience, I have never seen a Bill of any importance submitted by any Government that did not contain some objectionable feature. The parliamentary method of getting rid of the bad provisions of a Bill is to adopt the second reading, then to deal with the measure in Committee, and to eliminate the objectionable features at that stage. For that reason, I intend to vote for the second reading of this Bill. It is unmistakable that since the Immigration Restriction Act was passed the administration of it has shown a number of loop-holes and blemishes which were not perceived when the measure was placed upon the statute-book. We now know from experience where mistakes were made, and we propose to remedy them. That is a common-sense way to proceed. But it appears that the whole discussion has centred around the language test. According to Senator Givens, Senator de Largie, and Senator Higgs, the bad provisions of this Bill relate to that point. I agree with them in that respect, and in Committee I intend to vote against any alteration of the test. But, at the same time, I shall vote for any provision of the Bill which effects an improvement in the principal Act. I need not delay the House bv pointing out what the defects in the existing legislation are. Senator Pearce has indicated them in a very effective manner. One of them is, I think, of very great importance. It is a defect which we ought to be prepared to take any amount of time to discuss adequately. If we have to come here at 10 o’clock in the morning, and sit on Mondays . and Saturdays to do our work thoroughly, we ‘should not neglect this part of it. We, who represent the smaller States, have had a great difficulty to contend with, because our States cannot stand a great strain upon their resources. They have been continually complaining of the expense to which they have been put. Under the present Act, some persons commit an offence every time they touch our shores, and the line imposed is an encouragement, rather than a discouragement, to break the law. The Bill provides, however, that an offending company, or those responsible, must provide a passage back for the undesirable immigrant, and deposit a stated sum in order to recoup the State for any expense that may have been incurred. That provision in itself is a great protection, and absolutely necessary in the smaller States. The variation of the language test appears to me remarkable, if not humiliating, to the Federal Parliament j and I must express my astonishment that the present Government should have introduced a provision which they declare will not relax in one iota the stringent provisions of the Act. The only reason given for the amendment is that a particular nation, which has proved its power on the water and in the field, is particularly sensitive, and that in order not to offend its pride it is desirable not to refer to it as Asiatic. Senator Playford, and those who support him - I refer particularly to Senator Best - have not furnished us with a tittle of - evidence, or quoted any authority, to show that the test in a European language has worked any evil. No attempt has been made to prove that the proposed amendment will strengthen the While Australia policy ; there is only the one excuse, which I regard as, to a large extent, a pretence, that the Japanese people are extremely sensitive about being regarded as Asiatics, and that, therefore, it is necessary to alter a satisfactory law in order to meet their views. We have not been told that this is done at the request of the Japenese nation, as expressed in any official communication. As a matter of fact, a challenge to show that any such communication has reached Australia, has not been responded to. What is the reason for the break-neck rush with this measure at the tail end of the session ? One is led to believe that there is some justification for the suspicion of Senator de Largie, that there is more in this matter than appears on the surface. Up to the present, the sensitiveness of the Japanese Consul is about the only fact which has been laid before us in support of the amendment ; but, apparently, that Consul did not speak on behalf of his Government, or, on behalf of the people of Japan, through his Government. If we are to take the touchy nature of the Japanese into consideration, what about the Chinese or the Indians, the latter of whom belong, to the British Empire? Honorable senators have said that the variation of the test means practically nothing ; indeed, one honorable senator described it as a farce, and the Minister declared that it was a subterfuge, and perhaps both are correct. The intention may be. as indicated by the Minister, but at the same time there is a very great danger in the amendment. Is it intended by the amendment that some other language, than an European, is to be used as a test?
– All that is proposed is to add more languages - not to omit European languages.
– The leader of the Government says that the intention is only to add some other Asiatic language to the European language.
– The Government will never do that.
– Then what is the use of the amendment? If the amendment is not to be acted upon, it might as wel I be put into the waste-paper basket, which is, perhaps, the best place for it, although I have no particular grudge against the basket. The wording of the clause conveys the idea that it is an intention to prescribe languages other than those provided for in the principal Act; and, before we proceed any further, it is the plain duty of the Government, if they have any particular language in their mind, to let us know what that language is. I quite agree with those honorable senators who hold that the proper course would be to set forth in the Bill what the other language or languages are to be, so that we may have an opportunity to discuss their merits.
– That opportunity is given under the Bill.
– The Bill merely says that the language has to be prescribed.
– And the language cannot be prescribed until approved by resolution by bosh Houses.
– The clause, as presented to us, lends a very strong colour to the idea that this amendment is a mere pretence. If the Japanese language is contemplated, I should have a very strong objection. Some people may elevate Japan to a high pedestal of civilization, and place it on an equal footing with European Powers, but I, for one, do not. Personally, I view the influx of Japanese with a great deal more alarm than I should the influx of three, times the number of Chinese. It is very difficult to collect information of a satisfactory character as to the relative merits or demerits of Chinamen or Japan ese. I have travelled from Thursday Island in a Chinese boat, the white officers of which all protested that Chinamen are the most trustworthy and reliable men possible, but that a Japanese cannot be trusted out of sight. On the other hand, the white officers on a Japanese boat gave a certificate of character to the
Japanese with which nobody could quarrel, but declared that a Chinaman cannot Le trusted as far as he can be thrown by his pigtail. However, some friends of mine have recently been peregrinating in Japan and China, and they say that they are prepared to trust a Chinaman at any time, but that they button up their pockets very closely when they come into contact with a Japanese. As to regulations, my experience of some years leads me to the conclusion that it is much better to make all the provisions desired in a Bill itself. Regulations ore the most deceptive things imaginable, and are mostly a dead letter. Frequently, when they are brought into active operation, they are used for purposes for which they were not originally intended. Mention has been made of the introduction of Japanese into Queensland under certain regulations, and it is true that Japanese labourers were admitted to work on the sugar plantations. There was a regulation providing that they had to be under engagement for three years, and also an agreement that the Japanese Government should send out an inspector or overseer, who would be responsible for their return to their own country. The Japanese came, but they remained in Queensland, and absolutely flooded one of our best industries, namely, pearl -shelling, which is still in their bands at Thursday Island and thereabouts. Numbers of white men were previously doing very well in the industry, but the last time I was at Thursday Island the only white man employed in any way in connexion with the business was an artisan who supervised the repairing of the boats by Japanese. So much for regulations and agreements. The statement that Japanese workmen do not desire to come to Australia is all humbug. There would be no need for an Immigration Act at all if it were not for the fear, that Japanese would come here and work for less wages, and under worse conditions, than do Chinamen. We have no desire to see them here. They do not hold bur ideas of civilization or morality, of what is a living wage, or a fair standard of comfort. There is absolutely no possibility of any assimilation between either the Chinese or the Japanese and ourselves. We Have declared our determination to have a White Australia. We have a policy imprinted in concrete form on our statute-book, and I see no reason why it should be departed from at the invitation of this, or any other Government.
The straight, honest course is to keep the test as it is, and to pass the rest of the Bill, which remedies the defects in the principal Act.
– Unlike some previous speakers, I think that this Bill is necessary in order to close up a number of loopholes in the Act, which have made themselves apparent to every one within the last year or so. I welcome the Bill, because it is a very fair attempt on the part of the Government to remedy defects under which more undesirable immigrants have got into Australia than was contemplated by the Parliament. The chief benefits of the measure may, I think, be classed under three headings. One of its chief benefits is that agents as well as captains will be liable. Under the Act, it is only the captain of a vessel who is liable if a prohibited immigrant gets into the Commonwealth. The Bill makes the agents also liable, and it provides, in clause 12, that the cost to which the Commonwealth may be put in keeping a prohibited immigrant until he is deported shall be borne by the master, owner, agent, or charterer of the vessel from which he has escaped. Another benefit must be apparent to those who are anxious to see our White Australia legislation kept intact, and that is the power which the police will have in the future to arrest undesirable or prohibited immigrants who have escaped from vessels. The Minister will also be authorized by the Bill to take greater, care in issuing permits to those persons who have been domiciled in Australia for some time. Hitherto, persons who have received permits have returned to their own country’, where they have practised a fraud against the Commonwealth by giving them away or by selling them, and thus allowing undesirable immigrants to enter who otherwise could not have gained admission. I do not intend to speak at any great length, because I think that there is a general desire to make as good progress as possible with the Bill to-night. The main objections to the Bill seem to me to centre round the proposal to alter the language test by substituting for the words “an European language,” the words “any prescribed language.” Senator Dawson has just made a very vigorous speech against this proposal, and has said that he intends to vote for the second reading, but would like to see that part of the Bill deleted. I am not particular as to whether it is deleted or not, because, in my opinion, it is absolutely harmless from the White Australia point of view. I confess that I cannot quite see why the proposal was ever made. I can understand the desire of the Government to close existing loopholes in our legislation, but I cannot see that, after all, there is any appreciable difference between the present test and the proposed test, because the Minister has said, and the Bill makes it clear, that no Ministry would have any power to prescribe regulations until the prescribed language which they wished to substitute for an European language was brought before both Houses.
– Not in substitution for, but in addit’ion to, a European language.
– The effect of the proposed amendment would be exactly the same. The discussion of the whole question would be reopened, and it would be argued whether we were wise in continuing to offend the susceptibilities or sensibilities of Japan, or China, or India.
– Not necessarily, because the regulation might be laid upon the table and overlooked.
– I do not think that even Senator Matheson imagines that any Government would propose to make a drastic alteration in a very important part of our White Australia policy - would lay a regulation upon the table without acquainting both Houses of the fact.
– Regulations are altered every day, and laid upon the table, without any one here ever knowing anything about them.
– If the honorable senator entertains that fear I am ready to help him to insert in the clause words which would make it imperative on the part of the Minister to see that such regulations were brought before each House.
– Will the honorable senator vote for a straight-out colour test, rather than a language test?
– If the honorable senator could give me fair evidence that a colour test, would be assented to bv the Imperial Government. I should hold up both hands in its favour, and take the consequences.
– We can never know until we try.
– Before the honorable senator entered the Senate this question was threshed out at very great length, and reluctantly a number of us consented to the adoption of the language test instead of the colour test, because it had been shown to us by those who had had experience in State Parliaments, in trying to get similar legislation assented to by the Imperial Government, that there was no hope of our getting that assent. I would ask the honorable senator to consider whether, in view of the almost certainty that it would be disapproved bv the Imperial Government, it would not be dangerous to enact a straight-out colour test.
– We should be no worse off then than now.
– Yes, we should, because this Bill is making some important amendments. It would hang up everything else.
– We have had three or four years’ experience of the working of the education test; and, apart from certain irregularities which have crept in, if we pass this Bill, even without the amendment which has been most strenuously objected to, we shall make the law almost as perfect for our purpose as we should do if we were to enact a straightout colour test. I do not think that there is very much danger to be feared from offending the susceptibilities or sensibilities of japan. I am not very particular as to whether that portion of the Bill is retained or deleted. The Government, I suppose, have good reason for proposing to take power under regulation to substitute at some future time a prescribed language for a European language. “ Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof “ is a very old saying, and I think it is sufficient for us to fight against a proposal of that kind when it is submitted. It has been made plain that we shall have an opportunity of discussing the regulation before it can get the force of law. We are face to face, however, with certain amendments of the law, which are absolutely necessary to put a stop to that small trickle of undesirable immigrants to which Senator Pearce has referred. Senator Stewart certainly put his finger on the weakest spot in the Bill when he pointed out what seemed to me to be an error in drafting :
Any person who fails to pass the dictation test : that is to say, who when an officer dictates to him not more than fifty words in any prescribed language fails to write them out in that language in the presence of the officer:
I cannot think that it was the intention of the Government to leave it open to an officer to ask the intending immigrant to read out only two or three or six words. If Senator Stewart will move an amendment to remove that doubt, as I understand from an interjection he proposes to do, it will have the support of myself and, I believe, of a majority. I shall support an amendment which has for its object that the education test shall be the writing to dictation of not less than fifty words.
– In the past, the trouble has arisen from the officer dictating a few words more or less than fifty. “ How would it do to say that he shall dictate not more than fifty words or less than twenty words ?
– I think it would be better to say that intending immigrants shall write not less that fifty words, or, if the Minister likes, not less than thirty words, but the clause might prescribe a minimum and a maximum number of words to be written to dictation. In its” present form, the provision is not satisfactory to me, and I think it will not commend itself to a majority of honorable senators. I welcome the Bill for the reasons I have given. I trust that the second reading will be carried, and we can deal with it in detail in Committee. Before I resume my seat, I direct attention to an amendment circulated by Senator Matheson, which I regard as very reasonable. I have looked at it somewhat hurriedly, but I do not see that it conflicts in any way with the principle of the Bill or the policy which I know the Government favour. I, therefore, hope that they will see their way to accept it.
– I have given this Bill very careful consideration, and I propose to support the second reading. As Senator Pearce has pointed out, a large number of clauses in it are absolutely necessary to correct faults in the principal Act. It is purely on that account that I intend to support the second reading. The most important clause from the Ministerial point of view is undoubtedly clause 3. I do not think that any honorable senator, who has referred to this clause, has omitted to point out that it is a farce and a subterfuge.
– Why vote for a farce?
– I propose to apply exactly similar epithets to the clause, but I point out that the words “ farce “ and “ subterfuge “ might with equal propriety be applied to section 3 of the principal Act. There is no doubt that it is equally a subterfuge, and this clause, which is proposed in substitution for it, will equally fail to give satisfaction to the Japanese, to whose feelings so much reference has been made.
– The honorable senator should not call it a subterfuge. It is substituting one indirect test for another.
– It is stating that a certain test is going to be applied, when we know that it is not going to be applied, or that it is to be applied in a sense which cannot be discovered from the wording of the section. It is interesting to refer to the debate in 190T, when the principal Act was amended by the introduction of the words “ an European “ language. As originally introduced, the test was to be applied in the English language, and Sir Malcolm McEacharn, for some reason not apparent in his speech, moved that the word “English” be struck out, and the words “an European” substituted for it.
– “English” is the word in the Natal Act.
– That is so, and it is the proper word to use. Speaker after speaker addressed himself to the amendment proposed, and directed attention to the fact that it would be bound to create great dissatisfaction in the minds of Japanese, Chinese, and Indians. They pointed out also that if we adhered to the word “ English,” no one could take any objection, because English is the language of this country, and in view of the trouble and expense to which we go in educating our people, we should Be perfectly entitled to object to any considerable immigration of persons ignorant of the language of the country.
– But the honorable senator is assuming that the test was intended to let them in, whereas no one else assumes that.
– The Government supported the amendment moved by Sir Malcolm McEacharn, and the words “an European” were substituted1 for the word “ English.” A reference to the debates will also show that Mr. Deakin, in speaking generally on the Bill, called attention to the fact that it was merely a tentative measure. He said that if it was found to be ineffectual to keep out the people we wished to exclude, it would be competent for us to introduce a much more severe measure. He also pointed out very properly that if we introduced a more severe measure in 1901, it would have to be reserved for the Royal assent, and a very undesirable delay would occur. He therefore asked Parliament to pass the principal Act purely as an experiment, to decide how far the education test would be successful ; and he promised that if it were found not to be successful he would be prepared to submit some more stringent measure. What is the position to-day ? We find that the Government desire an alteration. That alteration must be one of two things. It must be to make the measure more stringent or to relax the severity of its provisions.
– It might be neither one nor the other.
– Or, as Senator Playford suggests, it might be a subterfuge. I intend in Committee to move that we return to the verbiage of the principal Act as originally introduced, if we are going to make any alteration in the verbiage at all. I was prepared to vote against clause 3 in its entirety, but the Minister of Defence called my attention to the fact that there is a slight variation proposed in the verbiage of the original Act in reference to the fifty words prescribed as a test. In the principal Act, the absolute number of fifty words is prescribed; the test must consist of neither more nor less than fifty words… and obviously that has given rise to difficulties. It is proposed in this Bill that the test should comprise not more than fifty words. It has been suggested that we should say : “ Not less than fifty words,” but either of those phrases would be acceptable to me. But when I come to the proposed alteration, providing for a “ prescribed “ language, I consider that that is most objectionable. As some honorable senators have pointed out, it removes from the Bill to regulation, the prescription of the language, and gives the Minister a power which I think we should not give him. There is, of course, the rider that Parliament is to have the right to veto any regulation proposed by the Minister, but that is a right inherent in Parliament. I shall in Committee move an amendment providing for a return to the words of the principal Act as originally introduced, and requiring the test to comprise not more than fifty words in the English language. No one can pretend that such an alteration of the principal Act will give any offence to the Japanese.
– It would be the means of admitting a lot of them.
– And a great number of Chinese also.
– How would it?
– Most educated Japanese can speak English very well.
– I do not believe that Japanese and Chinese who are sufficiently educated to read and write English would dream of coming here as immigrants. There may be some point in the objection which honorable senators take to what I propose, and in that case-
– The honorable senator is going to back down.
– I might back down ; but in any case;, I would prefer to go back to the use of the words “ an European,” as in the existing Act as being infinitely superior to what is proposed in this Bill. My reason for desiring that there should be no alteration in the verbiage of the principal Act is that when I was in England 1 received a note from Lord Carrington asking me whether a report which had reached his ears to the effect that the Government intended to take steps to relax the restriction on the immigration of Asiatics was true. I told him that I did not think it was in the least likely that the Government would do anything of the kind, and, further, that it was not likely that the Federal Parliament would support them if they did. It is clear to me that, although, as honorable senators have pointed out, this Bill does not necessarily relax the restrictions which may be imposed upon the admission of aliens, it can be so represented, and I am certain that it will be so represented in England. We shall lie told that the Federal Parliament and Government have backed down in deference to Senator Pulsford and other proJapanese members of this Parliament, and that we have abandoned our policy of a White Australia. There is no doubt in my mind that that is the representation which will be made.
– Senator Pulsford says that he believes in a White Australia.
– That is a side issue. Whether the honorable senator believes in a White Australia or not, he certainly advocates the introduction of these coloured races. I desire now to explain the amendment of which I have given notice.
– The Bill to follow this proposes the omission of the provision to which the honorable senator’s amendment applies.
– I am perfectly well aware of that. That is absolutely the most objectionable part of both these measures. There is another Bill with which we shall have to deal shortly, and in that measure it is proposed to strike out entirely paragraph g of section 3 of the principal Act, which prohibits pers.ons coming into the Commonwealth under contract, unless proof is given to the Minister that they possess special skill which is required in the Commonwealth. The effect of striking that provision out is that if these measures are passed, the new provisions will apply to non-Europeans, as well as to European contract labour. I hold the very strongest views on this subject. I believe that in no circumstances, whatever should contract labour be admitted into Australia, where the people of these non -European races are concerned. I have no objection whatever to the proposed new Bill, in so far as it refers to contract European labour. The only way in which I can deal with the difficulty confronting me is by moving in this Bill an amendment to provide for striking out paragraph g of section; 3 of the principal Act. The amendment I intend to propose in Committee is to strike out the whole of paragraph g of that section, with a *view to insert a provision under’ which we shall regard as a prohibited immigrant any person of a nonEuropean race under contract or agreement to perform manual labour within the Commonwealth.
– Only just now the honorable senator was objecting to the term “ European,” and yet he proposes it in his amendment.
– I do not object to the term “European,” but I have indicated the amendment I intend to propose, in order that Senator Pulsford may study it. I propose to make it absolutely impossible for any person to come into the Commonwealth under a contract if they belong to a non-European race. If it is necessary to relax the contract clauses of the principal Act that British and European immigrants may be allowed to come into Australia, 1 see no objection to that. But under no circumstances whatever, if I can help it, shall a member of an Eastern race come into Australia under contract.
– Do not pearlers come here under contract now ?
– They are allowed to come under regulations framed in connexion with the Immigration Restriction Acf.
– Those regulations can be cancelled. The matter can be dealt with when we get into Committee on the Bill. I merely wished to call attention to the fact that I intend to propose an amendment, and to indicate what its effect will be on the principal Act.
– Whilst I yield to no member of the Senate in my desire to see Australia remain a white nation - and in that regard I was particularly careful to note the conditions under which Chinese and Japanese work and live whilst I was on a recent visit to the East - I see no substantial reason to vote against the second reading of the Bill. I believe that it is an improvement upon the principal Act. But when we get into Committee, I intend to exercise my right to vote against clauses making alterations in the principal Act which I think had better not be made. One of those has relation to the language test. But there are other alterations in the law made by the Bill which, in my opinion, are decided improvements. For instance, in the existing Act, captains of vessels landing prohibited immigrants in Australia are liable to be fined any sum from £1 to ^100. In the majority of cases, captains offending in that direction have been fined sums varying from £1 to £5. This Bill imposes a fine of £100 for the first offence. Under those circumstances, captains of vessels will be very careful, when passengers embark in the East, to see that the provisions of the Australian Immigration Restriction Act are rigidly observed. During the time that I and a member of another branch of the Legislature were in the East, we were informed by various people that Chinamen landing in Australia were worth to those who took the risk of running counter to the law at least $1,000, or about ,£100 per head. That risks are taken - I do not say by ships’ captains, but by some persons- is evidenced by the publication of information in the daily newspapers, to the effect that there is hardly a vessel trading between the Commonwealth and the East that is not found to have stowaways on board on the voyage to Australia. Evidently some persons hold out an inducement to
Chinamen to come to these States. That is further proved by the fact that on many occasions numbers of Chinamen have been rejected by the Customs authorities. The Bill before us makes it compulsory for a ship’s captain who brings a prohibited immigrant to Australia to pay for his keep while he is in the Commonwealth, and also compels those who are responsible for such persons coming here to take them away again, or to provide their passage money on some other vessel which will take them to the place from which they came. Under the present law Chinese and Japanese can come into Australia, and if they feel so disposed, can return to their own countries to-morrow. The present Bill provides that if they return within five years thev receive no permit to come back again. That provision is a decided improvement upon the present law. Whilst I was in Hong Kong a peculiar case was brought under my notice. The firm of Butterfield and Swires, shipping agents for the China Navigation Company, was suspicious that certain Chinese merchants were trafficking in naturalization papers and certificates. They deputed a boy - all Chinese are called boys by white men in the East? - to go to a certain Chinese merchant in Hong Kong, and obtain from him, if possible, a paper which would enable any Chinese other than the one justly entitled to the document to come to Australia. The boy succeeded in obtaining the paper, and there was a prosecution before the Hong Kong Courts. It was disclosed in evidence that the Chinese merchant in question had his safe full of the naturalization papers - clearly proving that there is a large traffic in such certificates. I would suggest to the Minister that the alteration should be made in the issue of certificates. At the present time I understand that when a Chinese desires to return to China, or a Japanese to Japan, the authorities take a photograph of him with an impress of his hand. The certificate contains particulars of his height, any peculiar features, if any in his appearance, and generally a full description of him, as well .as his hand print. That certificate is given to the Chinese when leaving Australia, and the authorities keep a copy of it. If the certificate were not issued to the Chinese when leaving the country, there would be no chance whatever of his selling it when he arrived at his destination, and consequently there would be no possibility of illicit traffic in certificates. I understand that the United States Acts were similar to ours until about two years ago. They then ceased to issue to the Chinese a certificate containing a photograph, but kept that in possession of the authorities. If that were done here it would considerably minimize the difficulties the authorities experience in detecting persons who attempt to come in under various pretences. I suggest that the Government should look into that subject, with a view to adopt the American system. I do not wish to delay the second-reading stage of the Bill, but in Committee I intend to exercisemy right in regard to certain alterations of the existing law, and especially in regard to the language test. The clause of this Bill is couched in such language that I think it leaves some doubt as to what is intended, and it is possible that the Courts may interpret it in such a way that it would not be palatable to those who desire to see Australia remain a. white nation.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section 3 of the Principal Act is amended -
by omitting the whole of paragraph a and inserting in lieu thereof the following paragraph : - ” (a) Any person who fails to pass the dictation test : that is to say, who, when an officer dictates to him not more than fifty words in any prescribed language, fails to write them out in that language in the presence of the officer.”
– It has. been said that this Bill is not an honest measure, which declares our intention in a straightforward way. In my opinion we should make no invidious distinction between nations, beyond declaring unmistakably that those we welcome into Australia must be of our own race and colour. In order to test the question, and, at the same time, not deprive any other other honorable senators of the opportunity to submit an amendment in this clause, I move -
That alter the word “who,” line 5, the following words be inserted : - “ is an aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific, excepting New Zealand.”
If that amendment be carried, I shall, of course, move the omission of the subsequent words of the paragraph. The effect of the amendment is that we shall declare the aboriginal natives mentioned prohibited immigrants within the meaning of the Act. These are the only people there is any necessity to exclude, and inthe amendment I follow the phraseology of the Naturalization Act. in which the same natives are denied the rights of citizenship within the Commonwealth.
– Theamendment, if carried, will kill the Bill.
– I do not think it would be an awful calamity for the Commonwealth if we did kill the Bill. I should think that, with a liberal, progressive Government in power in Great Britain, assent would be given to a piece of straightforward, honest legislation. Even if the Royal assent were refused, the result would merely be that the present law would remain in force.
– A faulty law.
– The present law is not so faulty as the law would be if amended in the way proposed by the Bill. If we strike out the word “ European “ in connexion with the language test, there will be nothing on the face of the Bill to indicate the intention of Parliament. In the view of honorable senators, who have given considerable study to the subject, the present law is at least quite as good as would be the amended law. I commend the amendment to the good sense of the Committee, as providing an honest means of declaring our intention, without reserve or subterfuge.
– I intend to vote against the amendment, because I recognise that if it be carried it will mean the loss of the Bill. With the object of killing the Bill, Senator Givens voted against the second reading, whereas I voted for it, in order that defects in the original Act may be remedied. Senator Givens cannot claim originality for his proposal, because an exactly similar amendment was submitted by the Labour Party in the first Parliament, and dropped by them for very good reasons. I was one of those who advocated the abandonment of the particular amendment, in order that we might get the present Act on the statute-book.
– The amendment was defeated.
– But it was again submitted by Senator Charleston, and certain members of the Labour Party, including Senator de Largie and myself, voted against it, as I should do again under similar circumstances. Our action has been justified by the re-election of Senator de Largie, whereas Mr. Charleston is not now a senator. I do not vote against Senator Givens’ amendment because I am less a believer that he is in a White Australia, or in honest means of legislation in the carrying out of that principle. I recognise, bowever, the limitation put on our legislation by the fact that we are under the control of of another Parliament.
– But the Act has now been obtained.
– Senator Clemons was one of those who were prepared to vote for this amendment when original)’ proposed.
– And who did vote for it.
– Yes, because the honorable senator, knew well that its adoption would mean the hanging up of the Bill, and the wrecking of the then Government.
– I knew nothing of the sort.
– We are now called upon to vote on the amendment of Senator Givens, and are thus placed in an unfair position by one of our own party. We are willing to accept the Bill as presented, in order to save provisions of value to the Commonwealth.
– There is one aspect of the case which has not yet been touched upon. When this question was fully discussed on the former occasion, to which reference has been made, there was no alliance between Great Britain and Japan.
– There was a treaty.
– If there was a treaty at that time, the alliance was entered into after the discussion of the amendment. On that occasion it was suggested by the Imperial authorities that, in order to secure our object, it would be better to provide an education test, instead of drawing the direct colour line, and that was done. Subsequently Great Britain became more closely associated with Japan, and the alliance has recently been ratified in stronger terms. Under the circumstances, I ask, what chance would there be of the Imperial authorities now assenting to a Bill containing such a provision as that proposed by Senator Givens?
– We have a law on the subject.
– I am very much surprised to hear that interjection from Senator Drake, because it seems to indicate that he intends to vote for the amendment.
– The honorable senator should not draw that inference.
– The honorable senator was a member of the Government which urged the Senate, in the interest of a great policy, not to imperil the fate of the Immigration Restriction Bill by including a straight-out colour test.
– Because we had no legislation on the subject then.
– The position is very much stronger in that respect to-day than it was then. The Imperial Government has entered into a stronger alliance, or treaty, with Japan than was in existence at that time. ‘ What would be the result if we were to pass this amendment? The Royal Assent would be refused to the Bill. Therefore certain improvements upon our existing legislation which are contained in its provisions would be lost. I intend to vote against the amendment, because I r’.o not wish the Bill to be lost, and not because I should not like to see a straight-out colour test adopted. I hope, however, that the time is not far distant when we shall receive an intimation from the Imperial Government that they would not dissent from a measure in which that test was embodied.
– As a matter of common straightforwardness I intend to support the amendment. I would point out to Senator Pearce that the alternative existing now is not the same as that which existed before. We now have legislation which will preclude the entrance of Japanese if it is rightly administered. The worst thing which could result from the defeat of the Bill would be that we should have to fall back on the existing law.
– I voted previously as I intend to vote tonight, s.imply because I hate sham and subterfuge. Feeling as I do, I often wonder if honorable senators have contemplated what the feelings of Australians would be if the Japanese Diet were to pass an Immigration Act similar to our own. I should at once say to the Japanese that it would be better to state in a straight-out clause that they wished to shut us out.
– What does it matter whether they be kept out by a language test or by a colour test?
– I suppose every one is agreed that the education test keeps out the Japanese just as rigidly as wow: this amendment ; but, in my opinion, as I said four or five years ago, the one way is honest, and the other is dishonest. Some honorable senators who profess a desire to be honest have said that they cannot afford to run a risk ; but I would point out to them tha: the risk is very much less now than it was before, because the present Act would remain in full force. It may be said that the Act has not been entirely successful in its operation, but I venture to think that it has been quite as successful as could be expected. I defy any one to name an Act of Parliament which has been passed in any country, and which, within a short space of time, has not been evaded to some extent. Honorable senators opposite may think that the Act has let in persons whom we would wish to keep out, but I think they will also admit that it has been fairly successful in its results. I do not profess to say whether the Royal Assent- would be given to the Bill if it provided for a colour test. When we were dealing with the original Bill, in 1 goi, I did not consider that question, and no one in that Parliament could have said with certainty that the Royal Assent would not be given.
– A very strong hint was received that it would not be given.
– I do not know of that hint having been given, even now. If the Royal Assent were refused the Bill would be lost, but if it were granted we should have an opportunity of showing that we are not afraid to say exactly what we mean. A large majority in each House has decided to keep out undesirable immigrants, so let us try to be honest and to keep them out, especially when the risk we run in an endeavour to be decently honest is almost nothing.
– The position to-day is very different from what it was in 1901. At that time we wanted a measure to keep out undesirable immigrants, and we were told pretty plainly that if we passed a Bill with a provision for a colour test it would not be allowed by the British “Government. If we were to adopt a colour test now and the Bill were assented to, we should be able to exclude these aliens by direct legislation ; but if, on the other hand, it were not assented to, our legislation would remain in full force.
– It is faulty.
– I admit that it is faulty, but the Bill has been so widely drawn that it really amounts to very little, and there is the prospect that it may undergo some amendment here. This clause really contains the only provision which I should like to see passed, because offence has been given by the use of the term “ an European language “ in our Act.
– To whom has it been given ?
– Never mind.
– Why dees the honorable senator make a statement which he cannot substantiate, and which no one has yet attempted to substantiate?
– I think the honorable senator knows as well as I do that objection has been taken to the use of the term “ an European language.” We can attain exactly the same end by substituting the words “ any prescribed language.”
– I think it is hardly fair for an ex-Minister, who was, to a large extent, responsible for the placing of the Immigration Restriction Act upon the statute-book, to make a statement which he cannot prove, which he makes no attempt to prove, but which he disposes of in a light and airy way by saying : “ I think that the honorable senator knows as well as I do that the education test has given offence.”
– I know that the use of the word “ European “ has. been objected to.
– Can the honorable senator state, from any knowledge which he has gained as a Minister, or from Senator Playford, that any protest has been made against the use of this phrase by the Japanese authorities or by any other Asiatic authority ?
– Yes; I have given the proof many times.
– The honorable senator has given the authority for his statement, but it merely consisted of a letter which was sent by the Japanese Consul to the then Prime Minister. There is absolutely nothing official. Responsible Ministers have been asked whether any official protest has been made on behalf of Japan, and the reply has always been “ No.” I ask the Minister in charge of this Bill now whether there is anything of the kind ?
– I know of nothing.
– The Minister says distinctly that he knows of nothing
– Surely there is something official about the Consul’s statement.
– We can get no official information from Japan except through the British Government.
– The Japanese Consul might give his personal views, but he might do so in order to please Senator Pulsford.
– He said that he had been instructed by cable from his Government.
– I prefer to accept the statement of a responsible Minister of the Commonwealth. He is bound to give the Senate ann information of the kind if the Government are in possession of it, but honorable senators heard Senator Playford just now” state that they are not in possession of any information of the kind. When Senator Drake was a responsible Minister of the Commonwealth, he did not furnish us with any such information. 1 question whether the honorable senator has any now. I believe that he is merely repeating statements made by others, and submits no proof of the accuracy of those statements.
– Is the honorable senator in favour of the retention of the word “ European “ ?
– I am.
– Then I am prepared to vote for the amendment.
– I am not concerned in the way in which Senator Drake will vote. If the honorable senator chooses to go astray that is his own look out.
– If the clause is to be destroyed, I would prefer to do it in that way to doing it in the other way.
– There is this difference in the method of destruction : iri my opinion, ‘the result of carrying the amendment moved by Senator Givens will be to destroy the whole Bill, and there is a lot of merit in this measure. If the other method is adopted, we shall destroy only a provision which is a danger to our White Australia policy, and will still be able to take advantage of what is meritorious in the Bill. Senator Drake took a responsible part in the establishment of the White Australia policy. He should be proud of it, and should be prepared to do all he can to see that it is not weakened in the slightest degree. There are certain limits beyond which they are not permitted to go by the Imperial authorities. Memories have been revived, and I can remember very well when an amendment in the very words now proposed by Senator Givens was submitted in this Chamber, and we supported it. Every amendment- of the kind was also cheerfully supported by some honorable senators then in Opposition. Not because they were in favour of a White Australia, but in order to kill the Bill.
– Does the honorable senator apply that remark to me?
– I do not think that it is applicable to Senator Clemons, because from its inception, I believe, the honorable and learned senator said that he was in favour of a White Australia policy.
But I know that honorable senators on the Oppositon side, and on this side, assisted members of the Labour Party to carry those amendments. We were in this ridiculous position, that sometimes the Government won by the aid of the votes of the Opposition senators, and sometimes we won by the aid of the same votes, until I believe that the word “ that “ was about the only word left in the clause, and ultimately we decided that the test should be in “an European language.”
That is the history of the provision. Senator Symon, who was leader of the Opposition at the time, made no secret of the fact that he would vote for a similar amendment to that now proposed, because he was entirely against the Bill.
– I think the honorable senator is mistaken.
– I do not think that I am. The amendment which he has moved will not attain the object which Senator Givens desires, but it is very likely that it will have the effect of killing a Bill of which advantage might be taken to remedyblemishes in the existing Act. The best thing we can do is to pass such provisions of this measure as we consider urgently necessary for the amendment of the principal Act, and we can strike out the reference to a prescribed language and adhere to the wording of the principal Act in this respect. The use of the phrase, ‘ ‘ a prescribed language,” is, in my opinion, open to very grave danger, though it is apparently safeguarded in this Bill by the provision requiring the approval of Parliament for any regulation prescribing the language, and permittingany such regulation to be vetoed by either House. We might have an unsympathetic Administration prescribing a language in a regulation which, if it had to be approved by Parliament, might not be agreed to.
– The Administration could allow of the admission of alien immigrants under the present Act.
– As a matter’ of fact, the Administration does not do so. There is no arrangement made by which we admit aliens to settle in our midst, and become citizens of the Commonwealth.
– Might I ask whether we have a leader of the Senate, and who is the Minister in charge of this Bill?
– I do not know why I should be so impertinently alluded to by the honorable and learned senator. It is simply disgraceful that I should be referred to in such a way. Has the honorable and learned senator no eyes with which to see me?
– I cannot hear the honorable senator.
– I have no wish to take part in the discussion unnecessarily.
– It is notmy intention to be in any way insulting to the honorable senator, and if he thinks I have been, I willingly withdraw what I have said; but he has remained dumb, and I think that he should really lead the Senate, and tell us what the Government think of an amendment which every one who desires well to the Commonwealth should repudiate. The Minister must know perfectly well that he cannot listen for a moment to the amendment now before the Committee. Why does he not say so, instead of sitting there dumb?
– Why should I?
– The Minister apparently forgets that in almost his first sentence, in moving the second reading of the Bill, he explained that it was a sham and a subterfuge, and in that way practically invited Senator Givens to move his amendment. In the circumstances, had I not the right to ask whether the honorable senator approves of the amendment, which appears to have been moved at the suggestion of the Minister?
– I can assure the honorable and learned senator that it was not.
– I was concerned only with respect to the arrangements which have been made, and the Minister has said that what I propose has been done, and the clause I have suggested is not wanted. I admit that what Senator Pearce has said has a great deal of sense in it, but I should like to know whether the Minister approves of the amendment.
– It is absurd of Senator Dobson to speak as he has done. The honorable senator has said that he knows that I am bound to oppose the amendment, and that I cannot possibly do anything else, and, if that is so, why on earth should I get up and say so? The honorable and learned senator knows that the Government cannot accept the amendment.
– I should think not.
SenatorPLAYFORD. - Then why is it necessary that I should get up and say so?
– Because the honorable senator half invited it.
– I did not. I sat here as quiet as a mouse. Every member of the Committee possessed of common sense must know that the Government are necessarily opposed to the amendment.
– The honorable senator might say why they are opposed to it.
– Because, if it is agreed to, it is almost certain that the Bill will be rejected elsewhere. Honorable senators are well aware that when the original Bill was being considered, I stated that I voted for the language test, not becauseI believed it was the best means to deal with the matter, but because 1 believed it was necessary that I should vote for it if we were to have any Immigration Restriction measure at all. I told honorable senators, in moving the second reading of this Bill, that I objected to the language test, and would prefer that the matter should be dealt with in a more straightforward manner. I do not propose to take up the time of the Committee unnecessarily, if Senator Dobson does.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).I objected to the original Bill, and voted against it, as I should do to-morrow. I have voted for the second reading of this Bill because I believe that it proposes an improvement upon the principal Act. I desire to point out why I believe that if the amendment now proposed is, agreed to we cannot expect that the measure will receive the Imperial sanction. On the 14th May, 1901, Mr. Chamberlain wrote to the Governor of Queensland that he would not assent to the Sugar Works Guarantee Bill, because -
In the first place, it embodies a disqualification based on place of origin - practically a distinction of race and colour. Any attempt to impose disqualifications on the base of such distinctions, besides being offensive to a friendlypower, is contrary to the general conceptions of equality which have been the guiding principle of British rule throughout the Empire.
The reference to “a friendly power” was at that time a reference to Japan, just as it is to-day. Nothing whatever has transpired to show that the policy of Great Britain in this respect has been altered, and there can be no doubt that if we accept this amendment the Bill will notreceive the Imperial sanction.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania).- I desire to say that it is very much to be regretted that the settled policy of the Empire, the policy adopted by Natal, and also by the Commonwealth, should be characterised by the Minister in charge of this Bill as a subterfuge. I hope that the honorable senator will not, in future, speak in such terms of Acts which this Parliament has passed.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Senator PLAYFORD laid upon the table the following paper : -
Regulations under the Defence Act, 1903-4. -
Financial and allowance regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Statutory Rules, 1905, No. 77.
Motion (by Senator Playford) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence to take into consideration the advisableness of asking the Senate to meet on Monday. It is generally understood that we are likely to be kept here until Friday week. If it is possible, by meeting on Monday, or even on Saturday,’ to have the prorogation on Thursday of next week, that course would meet the convenience of a large number of honorable senators in preference to keeping them here until the Friday.
– I will consider the matter, with the greatest of pleasure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.21 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 December 1905, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1905/19051212_senate_2_30/>.