8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented : -
Northern Territory. - Ordinance No. 1 of 1920.- Tin Dredging.
War Service Homes Act. - Land acquired for War Service Homes purposes at-
Goulburn, New South Wales (three notifications ) .
Mayfield, New South Wales.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives, acquainting the Senate, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act, of the appointment of the following members of the House of Representatives to that Committee : - Messrs. Atkinson, Bamf ord, Gregory, Mackay, Mathews, and Parker Moloney.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with amendments.
Consideration by Senate.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will the Government, to expedite final parliamentary adoption of a Customs Tariff, arrange to have the several divisions of the proposed Tariff submitted to the Senateas soon as each such division has been respectively dealt with by the House of Representatives!
– Careful consideration has been given to the proposal of the honorable senator, but the difficulties in the way of its adoption appear to be insuperable.
Public Service Bill
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
With a view to the due apportionment of the work of the session between Senate and House of Representatives, will the Government cause the proposed Bill to amend the Public Service Act to be originated in the Senate?
– The apportionment of work between the two Houses of this Parliament is now under the consideration of the Government.
Mb. Justice Powers’ Increments Award - Professional Officers’ Award
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Is it “ efficiency “ in 5th Class duties or “ efficiency “ 4th Class -
Is the standard of efficiency uniform throughout the whole of the class, or -
By what means is the standard determined -
– The answers are - 1 to 5.The only matter involving interpretation is “ eligibility by efficiency.” “ Efficiency” is defined as special qualifications and aptitude for the discharge of duties in the 4th Class, in accordance with the particular requirements of the Department concerned.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Cashing of Bonds of Commonwealth Public Servants
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to cash the War Gratuity Bonds held by its employees, before the end of 1920?
– Yes, in those cases where the employees desire cash.
Number of Australian-born and
British-born - German Residents of Rabaul.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
In replying to a question of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, on the 10th March, the number of natural-born Australians of enemy descent interned during the war was given as thirty-one. This was taken from a prepared list of natural-born subjects interned, but proper account had not been taken of those who had been released at various periods, and whose names were not on this list. The files of all such natural-born internees have now been gone through, and the above figures may be taken as accurate.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 23rd April, vide page 1486) :
Clause 3 (Prohibited immigrants).
Progress reported. (Consideration resumed, page 1519).
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria - Vice-
President of the Executive Council) [3.10].- I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This measure is for practical purposes a continuation of the main regulations under the War Precautions Act with regard to the issue of passports. It provides that any person over sixteen years of age, on leaving the Commonwealth, must have a passport. Because of the action now taken in nearly every other country in the world in the detention of people under passport regulations it would he very difficult for any one to travel from this country to any other without a passport. In that regard, therefore, itwill be largely a matter of convenience. Persons entering Australia will he dealt with underthe Immigration Act. This Bill deals mainly with the issue of passports which will prove a convenience to any Australian travelling abroad. A passport will last for two years,butthereare provisions in the measure which permit of itsextension to meet the convenience ofthe public.Clause 4 deals with arrangements whichmay bemadewith foreign countries in regard to transport. It provides that where there is a mutual understanding thereshall be freedom of intercoursebetween different countries, exemptions may be granted. Though the provisions of the Bill are intended to apply only to afew persons there is no doubt that itspowers are very farreaching. It is not likely, however, that they will be used to the full extent. The measure will be administered as sympatheticallyaspossible.Clause 5 provides that any person entering Australia who is required to be in possession of a passport shall, if required, giveup his passportto an officer before leavingthe vessel by which hehas entered the Commonwealth. The passports of British people and of other races who are deemed desirable will be immediately stamped,so that they will besubjecttonofurther disability than that imposed by having a check upontheir entry here. Clause 7 makesit a legal offence for the master of a vessel to dischargeany , alien seaman who signed on outsidethe Commonwealth, and who has not lodged his passport with anofficer asprovided for under this Bill. We have evidence that many undesirables are coming to Australia who have signed on as seamen outside the Commonwealth, and whose entry here it is deemed wise to check. Thus the responsibility is placed upon the master of the vessel by which they travel to protect the Commonwealth. Clause9 provides that any person who, for the purpose of obtaining a passport, makesany falseor misleadingstatement shall be guilty of an offence, thepenalty for which is £100, or imprisonment forsix months. Probably there willbe a difference of opinion in regardtothe necessity forthe issue of passportstosome personsleaving Australia. But it cannot bedeniedthat inthe present condition of affairs it will be a distinct advantage for people goingabroad to be fully armed withwhat is practically a credential whichwill facilitate their progressin any otherpart of the world. Of course, legislation of this character calls for sympathetic administration. Upon the otherhand, where foreign countries debarour own people fromentering them withoutpassports, weshould stand,at least,upon the samefooting. Where, however, no suspicion is involved,full power is conferred by the Bill topracticallyabolishpassports. The desireall the time is to facilitatethe movements of the travelling public. This is thesecond occasion upon which the Bill has been before the Senate, and it is generallyrecognised thatit is largely ameasure for considerationinCommittee.If honorable senators are not prepared to proceed with the debate upon itssecond reading to-day I amquitewilling toagree toan adjournment.
-When we get control of them,it will probably cover all theislands of the Pacific, andparticularlythosewhichareliabletoforeigninvasion.
Debate (on motion by Senator ‘Gardiner) adjourned.
– -This is another old friend upon which we had many long debates last session. It is based uponthe recommendations made by theCommitteeappointed during the war period to deal with the registration of aliens.A number of honorable senators were members of that Committee, and this measure will perpetuate very many of the restrictions that have hitherto obtained in regard to the registration of aliens. It provides that no alien shall be permitted to enter this country without registering and without giving full particulars in regard to his movements. Ninety-five per cent. of the persons who come to the Commonwealth, even though they be aliens, will be subjected to no inconvenience beyond that of registration. Those who come here merely for business purposes can obtain an exemption which will enable them to travel round Australia, provided that they do not make Australia their permanent abode. When, however, they become permanently domiciled here we think either that they should become Australians by naturalization, or that we should be apprised of their movements in this country. It will thus be seen that in regard to the majority of aliens, registration will be quite a formal matter. There is abundant power under the Bill to grant exemptions from registration where it is clearly proved that an alien who has lived in the Commonwealth has behaved well. There is no desire whatever to harass him. But it is anticipated that under this measure we shall be able to keep something like an accurate record of aliens who live in Australia, and who should become Australians. Clauses 7 and 8 deal with the manner of effecting registration. The former provides -
An alien resident in the Commonwealth shall effect his registration by properly completing a notice (in triplicate) in accordance with the prescribed form, and by attending in person with such notices before the aliens registration officer nearest to his usual place of abode.
Aliens who are resident in Australia today will not be required to register. They were registered during the period of the war, and will not have to duplicate the work of registration. The measure is intended to apply only to aliens entering the Commonwealth for the first time.
– Will there be a Committee appointed to deal with them in each State?
– No. The work of registration will be done chiefly by Customs officers or by State police, though, of course, it must come before an aliens registration officer. The measure is a very simple one. There may be one or two debatable clauses in it, but it is chiefly a Bill for consideration in Committee.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
In Committee (Consideration re sumed from page 1517) :
Clause 3 -
Section 3 of the principal Act is amended -
by inserting after paragraph (gc) the following paragraphs: - “(gd) any anarchist or person who ad vocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law, or who is opposed to organized government, or who advocates the assassination of public officials or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization which entertains and teaches any of the doctrines and practices specified in this paragraph;
– It is proposed to alter the existing Act by inserting after paragraph (gc) the following paragraph, among others -
Any anarchist or person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth, or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law, or who is opposed to organized government, or who advocates the assassination of public officials, or who advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property, or who is a member of, or affiliated with, any organization which entertains and teaches any of the doctrines specified in this paragraph.
We have got on very well for a long time without restrictive legislation of this nature, but we have now in office a Government, members of which imagine it to be their duty to inquire not only into the good conduct of people in Australia, and to maintain law and order, but to inquire also into the political opinions of every person who comes to this country. Those who believe in the use of this authority will, no doubt, consider the Bill to be necessary, but, according to my view, the security of a Government rests upon the liberty enjoyed by its people. Let us consider the person first mentioned in the proposed new paragraph, namely, an anarchist. When I consider all the “ ists “ there are, I am almost inclined to believe I am an anarchist myself, or at all events I would be if my temperament were as mild as the average educated anarchist, whose belief, I understand, is that the people of every community should bo so good as to require no government at all.
– But this refers to the particular brand of anarchist who would kill every person who does not share his belief.
– As I read the Bill the anarchist will be a prohibited immigrant, just because he is an anarchist. And so also will every other person who advocates the overthrow of the government of any other country. It may be necessary, at times, to deal drastically with certain classes in our own community; those persons, for instance, who favour the overthrow of the Commonwealth or State Governments ; but in view of the fact that more than a half of our population is under Labour Governments in the States,I might well be anxious that any persons in favour of overturning those Governments should b.e excluded.
– But the people in this country have very effective bullets.
– I know they have, and I remind honorable senators opposite of the developments in Queensland during the past eighteen months. It looks very much as if organized force is being employed there to overthrow the State Labour Government, and it is possible that, if this Bill is passed, we shall place in the hands of the Queensland Government a weapon which may be employed in a manner little dreamed of by those who are supporting the measure. On. more than one occasion of late there has been a demonstration in force against the Government of that State. But the point I wish to make is that even if drastic legislation is necessary to deal with any one who interferes with the established government of this country, surely we are not setting up as the protector of other nations, by declaring that any person who believes in the overthrow of the established government of any country shall be deported from Australia. That is my interpretation of the clause. What on earth have we to dowith the opinions of any people concerning the systems of government of other countries?
– Then, why did you pass the Home Rule resolution?
– This Bill may be intended for Home Rulers particularly, in order to get rid of them ; but I remind honorable senators opposite that the idea of selfdetermination for all nations is growing, and nothing that is done by this Parliament will prevent Home Rule for an independent Ireland.
– There is nothing in this Bid to prevent persons who believe in Home Rule from entering the Commonwealth.
– But the Government will ‘have power to deport them.
– What for?
– If they believe in the overturning of the Government of any other country.
– If they advocate the overthrow of a Government by force.
– They may be deported if they are opposed to any government, even if they took action against the organized government that was responsible for the butchering of the Armenians. In fact, this Bill is merely an attempt on the part of the Government, accustomed to power vested in them under the War Precautions Act, to use force contrary to our conception of law.
– The people you have mentioned just now, the Turks, are debarred from entering Australia for other reasons.
– And under this Bill the Government are seeking power to remove those who may be in the country. If, for more than one hundred years, we have got along so well without restrictive legislation of this kind, why should the Commonwealth Government now set itself up as a schoolmaster to inquire into the opinions of all the people who may come here ? We have succeeded admirably with less restrictions than in any other country in the world in developing a Democracy that has become law-abiding. I wish our people were less so. I say that quite candidly. I wish we had, in Australia, a people who, when Governments deliberately use power contrary to law, or who, in the exercise of their powers, strain the law, would deal with them.
– Why did you help to pass other restrictive legislation ?
– I suppose that, when associated with my honorable friend opposite, I helped to pass many measures upon which he may now have something to say against me ; but my reply is that, if during the war I helped to pass any restrictive legislation, its purpose was to protect Australia against its enemies, and for that legislation I take full responsibility. Apart from that, I have one particular objection to restrictive legislation, and whatever attempts may be made in this direction I hope to leave this country with more liberties than I found it. .1 am strongly opposed to that type of statesman who aims at setting up his standard as the one that shall be followed by the whole community. When I see the Government and their supporters deliberately taking upon themselves the responsibility of restricting citizens and saying how far a man shall go, it is time we raised our voice in strong objection.
– Did not the honorable senator assist in imposing a poll tax of £100 on the Chinese? .
– As that was imposed many years ago, and before I was in public life, the honorable senator must know that I did not assist in that direction; but if I had done so I would have been proud of it-. But there was a particular reason for that, and the tax was not imposed to restrain particular individuals, but was done in a wholesale way to prevent a danger to the whole community by a race which we have long since ceased to refer to as an inferior people. The legislation referred to by Senator Guthrie was passed about forty years ago to prevent an ill-paid people - I shall not refer to them as the members of an inferior race - coming to Australia. If those restrictive measures had not been provided, the employing class of this country would have filled every available position with the cheap labour of other countries. Because of that grave menace to Australia, very wise statesmen in those days imposed a poll tax to make it unprofitable and difficult to import cheap labour. Their intentions at that time were also supported by a sentimental desire to preserve a White Australia, but this legislation has no distinctive line of that character, but aims, perhaps, at the best feature of our civilization. This legislation has been drafted, not in the interests of the country, but in the interests of those heaven-inspired lawmakers who believe that their particular duties and functions are to restrict the liberties of the people in every possible manner. The Bill provides that the Government shall have the power to deport people who favour overthrowing by force the established government of any civilized country, and I venture to say there are Governments in other countries that ought to be overthrown by force. How pleasing it would have been if force had been employed in Germany before the Avar, instead of waiting, by a process of evolution, to remove the monarch of that country who was responsible for the terrible slaughter that took place. If there had been a person in Australia who favoured the: application of force to overthrow the German Monarch, and this Bill had become law, he would have been deported. The Turk is not finished with yet, and should there be any one in this country particularly interested in destroying the Turkish system of government, he would be presented - with a deportation order and removed from the country. I have heard it stated - I am somewhat doubtful in quoting the remarks of others - that when a mau is convinced that everything is wrong unless he is there to manage it himself, he will either end his days on a throne or in a lunatic asylum. I do not know in which direction the Minister is leaning.
– Turkey would not come under the provisions of this Bill, as it is not a civilized country.
– The interjection of the Minister will cause honorable senators to pause before they give this Government additional powers. According to the Minister, the Government can say that any country is not civilized.
– I was drawing the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that he was gliding away from the modifications the clause provides.
– I am not particularly concerned in the modifications as the measure is a pernicious one, and I wish to deal only with a few generalities. I suppose the Government have already counted the numbers, but I am submitting a few reasons why this clause should not be passed. The Minister is of the opinion that he can read something into the clause that I cannot. It provides - (gd) any anarchist or person who advo cates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country.
If aperson advocated the overthrow of the established government of Turkey, for instance, he could be deported from the Commonwealth .
– Order ! . The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I direct the attention of the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) to three words, “any anarchist or,” at the beginning of paragraph (gd), which I think should be deleted, as the clause in its present form is too comprehensive. Supposing, for instance, PrinceKropotkin or Leo Tolstoi were here, they could be deported from the country.
– Not because they were here, but if they did something.
– No; it does not mean that if such persons do certain things, but it reads “any anarchist.” There are men who in their belief are anarchists, but who differ very widely from the persons described in the latter part of the paragraph, with which I am in full concurrence. I am against the inclusion of the word “ anarchist,” because it is too all-embracing.
– You need not waste time ; the word is of no value, and I am willing to drop it. Those referred to are included in the following words.
– There are people who may have anarchistic beliefs, but who, otherwise, are reputable citizens. I move -
That the words “ anarchist or “ be left out.
Amendment agreed to.
Senator GARDINER (New South
Committee to read this paragraph carefully before passing it. It runs now: “ Any person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth, or of any State, or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law “ - then pay particular attention to this - ‘ or who is opposed to organized government, or who advocates the assassination of public officials. . . “. What does “ opposed to organized government “ mean there? I should like to be in power just prior to an election with such an Act as that on the statute-book.
– It means “ by force or violence.”
– No; the conjunction “ or “ appears between the two phrases. The two things are not necessary to bring a man within the law. I could imagine the honorable senator being opposed to the government of a very distinguished personage at Rome. If I were in the Government, and wanted to keep the honorable senator out of this country, I could do it by means of this provision, because Icould claim that he was opposed to that form of organized government. The sacredness of organized government depends, not on the fact that it is organized, but on whether it is justifying itself. The only thing worth bothering about with regard to protecting Governments is whether they are worth protecting.
– It should not be shifted by force or violence.
– Not if it is bad ?
– Even if it is bad. You have not tried to shift this Government in that way.
– The only thing to justify force is a chance of success, which we have not had yet. At the end of the 18 th century a Government in France was removed by force. During the 17th century a Government in Great Britain was removed by force. Quite recently, in Russia, a Government was removed by force, and the whole of the press of Australia, including the Nationalist press, congratulated the revolutionaries. In Germany, recently, a Government was removed by force. The removing of Governments by force is one of the safety-valves of the community
– Not in a democratic community.
– In any kind of community.
– This country is different from Russia and other countries.
– It is only different so long as power is kept in the hands of the many, and out ofthe hands of the few. When I see a Government putting out its hands to take what it can catch here, and grasp ‘what it earn reach there, and when I see behind it followers who imagine that everything is all right with the world and withus, I say that everything isnot all right.Theremust be an alertness, an energetic intelligence, to maintainthe libertiesof theworld. WhenI see the doorbeing shut upon people whowould come to this country, I must point out that it would shut out any Russianwho participated in the overthrowof theCzar’s Government,and any supporter of the Czar who now wanted tooverthrow the present Russian Government. The provision is absurd, unnecessary, and uncalled-for. I do not know whythe time of Parliament should be taken up in passing it. How much worse off would we be if it was not passed? Whom will it keep out? Possibly, on some occasion or other, an agitator to whom the press has given some notoriety. The full majesty of the Commonwealth lawwill come down on that individual,and keep him out of the country. So far as dangerous men are concerned, there can be no dangerfrom those people to a democratic State if it acts intelligently. I was reared as a boy in the belief that where the Britishflag flew, never a slave could breathe, and that Britain was the landthat offered a home to the outcast from therest of the world. Evidently, those sentiments strike a chord of memory and sympathy in the breast ofthecasehardened Senator Reid . Thosewereth e thingsthey fed uson, but theglory of thewhole business was that it was part of our make-up. The British people survived all the influence which those outcasts may have brought into their midst. I am one of those sentimentalists who believe thatby force aloneonecando very little. The causethat rests on force is doomed, whether it is an Australian democratic Government or the tyrannical Government of another country.
– That shows the wisdomof the Bill, which is prevention.
– To prevent the advocates of force from coming into this country ?
SenatorGARDINER. - I do not know of any one who would do any harm if he came into this country. If the Czar of Russia were not dead,I should not mind giving him a job to-morrow if he came along. This is a country which has scope and room and wealth, not only for two orthreeright-thinking people,because I take it that that is all the Government wanthere,but for all the revolutionaries that ever lived, if wehad them all here at once. With our brightsunshine, and the ease with which a living can be made here, this place opens up quitea new prospect to men fromall countries. I move -
Thatthe words “or who is opposed to organized government “be left out.”
We have an organized Government here, and if I went toNew ZealandI might under this Bill be prevented from returning to the Commonwealth because I am opposed to that organized Government. They do not want me here, and they would try to keep me out. I am pointing out what might happen under this clause so that honorable senators opposite will not be able to say that they were not informed as to the abuse which might arise under it when, later on if they pass this kind of legislation,the Senate and the Parliament become the laughing stock of the community.I submitmy amendment to makeitquite surethat the fact that a man is opposed to an organized Government should not be considered an offence in anyperson desiring to come to this country.
– The Bill does not say “ Governments,” but organized government.” Let the honorable senator read the clause properly.
– I am discussing a Bill which I am trying to understand, but Senator Guthrie is interjecting concerning a measure about which he iknows absolutely nothing.It is proposedby thisclauseto make apersonliable to exclusion from the Commonwealth if he is opposed to the organized government of any country in the world, though it might be uncivilized government. The words to which I take exception are not only absolutely unnecessary, but will tend to much mischief if they are agreed to. The Government, under their Protectionist policy, are proposing to keep the goods of other countries out of the Commonwealth, but under this Bill they propose also to exclude the people of other countries, so that the Commonwealth may be held by William Morris Hughes and Company and those who agree with them. Any one who is opposed to the present Government is not to be allowed to come into this country.
– “Organized government “ includes the Opposition.
– Under this clause the Government might prevent the admission of any person into this country simply on the ground that he is opposed to the organized government of any country. I realize that thi3 measure is a heritage of the war. The Government have for some time past been exercising practically all power under the War Precautions Act, and in almost every case have misused its provisions. Finding that their powers under that Act are nearly at an end, they have introduced this Bill under the pretence that it is a measure to keep out undesirable people, but in reality because it is a measure under which they can keep out any one with whom they disagree. With the last two years’ experience of the Government, I am not in the least disposed to agree to any provision vesting them with power that is not so clearly worded that any step taken beyond the law will be immediately obvious. I ask honorable senators not to treat mv amendment as one submitted by the Opposition. Evidently this Bill was drafted by some one who had a mighty big opinion of himself and a very small opinion of every one else.
– That is not fair to a public servant.
– I attack Ministers, who are responsible for the public servants. Senator Guthrie is not fair to Ministers when he says that this Bill is the work of a public servant.
– The honorable senator said that it was.
– I said nothing of the kind. I used the expression “ some one,” and in that way desired to refer to a member of the Government.
– The most important recommendations adopted in the Bill were made by senators who were members of the Aliens Committee.
– I should like to know who those senators are. If I were a Minister administering this measure, and they took a trip to New Zealand, I should be tempted to prevent them coming back to the Commonwealth. We may expect that treatment to be served out to those who will persist in passing legislation of this kind.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I think not, sir. I was speaking to clause 3, but I have for some minutes been speaking to my amendment. If you rule that I have exhausted my time since I moved my amendment, perhaps you will inform me at what time I did move it.
– That makes no difference. The honorable senator has been speaking for fifteen minutes.
– Gould I not speak to my amendment? »
– Yes; the honorable senator may rise again to speak to the amendment.
Senator O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) T3.59]. - I shall certainly support the amendment. I do not think that the Government can have carefully considered the- wording of the clause, or they would see that it is so wide in its present form as to be liable to abuse. It is all very well to tell us that their intentions are good, but the measure will be administered according to the exact wording* of its provisions. If we take the case of Russia, we shall find that some two or three years ago an organized Government there was opposed, and the opposition was not only applauded by press and public, but official congratulations of the Allies were sent to the men who opposed that organized Government. Under this Bill the people who were complimented upon their action by the Allies on that occasion would be prevented from entering the Commonwealth. A year or so later soldiers of the Allies, including Australian soldiers, were sent to upset the organized Government which had then been established in Russia.
– It was because there was no Government there that they were sent.
– There was a Government established by the will of the people.
– Not by the will of the people.
– They administered the government of the country most successfully, too. Australian soldiers went to assist the Allies in suppressing the organized Bolshevik Government in Russia, and under the strict reading of this clause those men could be prevented from coming, back to Australia. That illustration shows. the abuse to which this clause is liable. I do not accuse the Government of intending anything of that sort, but we should be careful in, passing a measure of this kind to see that no abuse may arise under it. If any one advocated the substitution of a Republican form, of government for the existing form of government, that would be opposing an organized Government.
– This Bill does not deal with that at all.
– I take the case of the National party in South Africa, consisting of 45 members, and constituting the largest political party returned at the recent elections there. They are opposing the organized government there, and desire to substitute for it an entirely different form of government. I refer honorable senators to the case of Ireland, where four-fifths of the elected representatives, with the people behind them, desire to substitute an entirely different form of government from that at present obtaining in Ireland..
– They do not oppose organized government; they want it in another form.
– Are the Republican members of the South African Parliament and the members of the Republican party in Ireland to be classed as people opposed to organized government and prohibited under this Bill from entering the Commonwealth.
– No. But if they wish to oppose organized government by dynamite, yes. If an existing organized government is opposed by the expression of republican views there is no objection, but if it is opposed by the expression of republican views plus the use of dynamite, those concerned in the opposition in that form would come under the prohibition of this clause.
– I am not dealing with the first part of the proposed new paragraph (gd), but with the latter part, of it. The first refers to persons advocating the overthrow of established government by force or violence, but the part of the clause to which I am referring refers merely to a person “ who is opposed t to organized government.”
– It means opposition to all government, not to any particular form of government.
– It was recently decided in a Court in Victoria that it is not a crime for any one to advocate a republican form of government in Australia or in any other part of the King’s Dominions.
– This Bill would not affect that.
– I admit that if persons ‘attempted to overthrow a Government by force in order to substitute another for it they would be guilty of treason. I have read the clause carefully and the second part of the paragraph with which we are dealing makes a person liable to exclusion from the Commonwealth merely because he opposes an organized government. If the Minister says that the clause will not apply to such persons he can have no objection to accepting the amendment.
– I should like to move a prior amendment to that submitted by Senator Gardiner.
– I ask leave to withdraw my amendment temporarily.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn
.^- I move -
That the words “ who is opposed to “ be left out.
If my amendment is agreed to the proposed new paragraph, (gd) will read -
Any person who advocates the overthrow by. force or violence of the established government of the Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all forms of law, or organized government, and so on.
– That is a part of my amendment.
– The honorable senator will see that it is a prior amendment, because if I voted against the amendment he submitted I could not subsequently move for the omission of the words I desire to have left out. Mere opposition is not a crime. That is the point I wish to make. We cannot legislate against something which we may conclude is in a man’s mind.
– I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether the amendment is a prior one to that which I have withdrawn ?
-I rule that it is. I would point outthat if Senator Senior had not submitted his proposal in this form, he could not have moved it at all. Senator Gardiner will have an opportunity of moving his amendment at a later stage.
– Not if the Committee decide that these words shall stand.
– That is , so.
– Then I am to be debarred an opportunityof obtaining a vote upon my proposal merely because I was informed that Senator Senior had a prior amendment, although that amendment commences exactly where my own proposal commenced.
– -The general purportof this clause isto prevent the use of force SenatorGardinerratherastonished me by his declaration that, in Queensland,there isacollection of forcesgathering with theobject of abolishing the existingLabour Government there. That is the statement which he deliberatelymade.Personally,I am strongly opposed to any section of the community - capitalistic or otherwise - bringing force tobear upon Parliament with, a view to unfairly influencing its action. Attempts in that direction have been made here upon several occasions - attempts to which, I am sure, no honorable senator is prepared to submit. Senator Gardinerwould beone of the first toresent dictation by any outsidebody, andto tell its members to goto awarm place. But it is not the politicalopinions of any man to which exceptionis taken in this measure. An individual is at perfect liberty to advocate a republic in pre- ference to a monarchy,or a limited monarchy in preference toanautocracy. Puthecannot say,”Let us kill the b-King.”Under thisBill,oppositiontogovernmentmeansthe public advocacyoftheabolition of all formsof government by meansofforce. Surely persons who advocate these methodsought not to be welcomed here. Senator Gardiner would vote forthe imposition of a poll-tax upon so-called inferior races for economic reasons, and I would do the same.
– But provision is made for all that the Minister has said in the previous portion of the clause. Why repeat it?
– I am not seeking to repeatit. Iam prepared to welcome to Australia any person whois willing to respect ourstandards of living, and to assistinmaintainingour institutions. NewZealand, America, andindeed, everyadvanced country has already adopted similar legislative proposals. Here we have abeautiful continent containing only asmallpopulation, and if we do not protect itby some such means as are provided in this Bill, it will become the dumpingground for the undesirables of all the nations of the world. It goes without sayingthat a measure of this character should beadministered with common sense. I do not knowofany class of legislation which is not liableto be abused. But no Governmentwill desiretogoafter a mans scalpunnecessarily.Senator Gardiner statedthe other daythat, under thismeasure,George Washington would have beendebarred from entering theCommonwealth. I have yetto learn that George Washington was an advocate of the destruction ofall forms of government. As a matter of fact, when trouble arose throughthe British King orderingtroops to America he left his farm for the purposeofdefending hiscountry. Nothing in this measure is designed to preventthat sort of conduct. Other cases of a thousand yearsagohavebeenquoted.But none of the weapons used against the British Governmentis as efficaciousas is the referendum withadultsuffrage. That is the mosteffective method by which the willofthepeoplecanbe expressed . lt is quite idle toattempttoapply the conditions which obtain in Russia to acountrylike Australia. Of course, if we run people into a dead end, weshall certainly havean explosion.Theclass ofpeople whoadvocate theoverthrowof allformsof government, whodo notregard the ballot-boxasaneffectiveweapon ofreform, landwhoarepreparedtodrop abomb into a public Department, areno good to any country, and neverwillbe.
– Why not introduce a Bill to deal with that class of people ?
– This measure will deal with them. I know that some members of the Industrial Workers of the World, who were found guilty after what we may fairly assume was a fair trial in this Commonwealth, were men who were “wanted”” in America, and who had been practically dumped here. This Bill is not an attempt to interfere with the liberties of the people. It is designed, rather, to exclude from our midst the off-scourings of nearly every other country; because in the near future they will be unable to enter New Zealand, the United States of America, or Canada. The Commonwealth, therefore, will offer the best field for the accumulation of persons who are obviously undesirable. I admit that, under Acts of Parliament, Governments can practically do anything; but no Government could continue to exist in Australia if it insisted upon twisting our statute law. It is impossible for this country to assimilate men who do not believe in any form of government whatever. We can tolerate advocates of all forms of government - even advocates of Soviet government; but to advocate a particular form of government is a very different thing from saying that because that form of government cannot be obtained peacefully it mustbe obtained by force - by the use ofbombs.
– I am perfectly honest in my amendment. I merely wish to strengthen the Bill.
– There is a very old saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth.” I have only one desire, namely, that the Bill shall accomplish the purpose forwhich it was drafted. I am prepared to consult the drafting officers, and if there be any weakness in it, to have it remedied. I am not one of those who wept when the Czar’s Government was wiped out of existence, though I recognise that it was not the advocates of the use of force who brought about that revolution. It was the result of the wholesale protest of the people who could employ no other weapon. I believe that if the inhabitants of that unhappy country had been able to express themselves through the ballot-box, they would have voted the Czar and his Government clean out of existence ; and that they would have been ableto reconstruct their form of government by peaceful means. They have not that weapon ready to their hands, and I am not going to apply the conditions that obtain in Russia to a country like Australia, where the people can do just what they may choose to do without the employment of any force whatever: Of course, I cannot guarantee the manner in which this measure will be administered - it is quite possible that Senator Gar- ‘ diner himself may have to administer it - but I do say that it contains nothing that is calculated to bring about the abuses which have been described.
.- The Minister’s point in regard to the employment of force is provided for in the early portion of the clause, and we are now considering the admission of any person who is opposed to an organized government.
– Not “ an organized government.”
– We are now considering the admission to the Commonwealth of any person who is. opposed to organized government - it may be the organized government of Russia or of Italy, or of America. In the course of his remarks, the Minister touched upon my reference a few days ago to George Washington. -I have here some of the opinions of Washington. Amongst other things, I find that he says -
I have never had a will of my own - wrote Washington - where a duty was demanded of me.
At a time when our lordly masters in Great Britain will be. satisfied with nothing less than the deprivation of American freedom, it seems highly necessary that something should be done to avert the stroke, and maintain the liberty which we have derived from our ancestors.
But the manner of doing it, to answer the purpose effectually, is the point in question.
That no man should scruple, or hesitate a moment, to use arms in defence of so valuable a blessing, on which all the good and evil of life depends, is clearly my opinion. Yet. arms, I would beg leave to add, should be. the last resource, the dernier ressort.
I should have mentioned Bonaparte, Cromwell,Pym, . Hampden, and many others who have figured prominently in the history of the world as being responsible for the overturning of organized government by force. Surely it is not contended that they would be undesirables in this country? If I were a Victorian - I am an Australian - I would make a pilgrimage to Ballarat to pay homage at the grave of Peter Lalor, because he dared to stand against constituted authority, and took his life in his hands in so doing. It is extraordinary that in the twentieth century any Government should attempt to exclude as immigrants persons who may hold certain opinions with regard to tyrannies existing in their own country. All that is necessary is already included in the portion of a clause which has been passed. I dislike the whole Bill, because I think it is most objectionable, and I submitted an amendment to place upon the Committee the responsibility for passing the feature of it of which I most strongly disapprove. I remind honorable senators, too, that the British Governmentcommenced the colonization of Australia by sending out a lot of dreadful people. I know we are supposed not to refer to that matter, because it revives unpleasant memories, but under the influence of our sunshine and freedom a very decentrace has teen established. It is absurd to think that our people will be contaminated by the introduction of any persons who may, for instance, favour the removal of the Bolshevik Government and setting up in its place a Government appointed by the Czar ; or if the Czar were in power again, of removing his Ministers and placing the Bolshevik Government in their place. All Governments exist by the will of the people.
– And Australia is governed by constitutional authority.
– Whether we appreciate it or not, it is a fact that the ballot has not done all we thought it would do. When questions are submitted for the opinion of the people, and when only one side is heard, the people have no opportunity of coming to a just decision. Under the influence of a corrupt press and a corrupt Government, which insure that only one section of the people shall be heard, the conditions are rapidly becoming favorable to the use of force; not the force employed by those enthusiasts who run up against armed authority, but the force that will remove the evil without personal risks. It is impossible to get that thought out of the minds of the people when restrictive legislation of this nature is introduced. It is not likely that the introduction of the wildest element in the world will corrupt the people of this country. On the contrary, with our undeveloped resources, a wise Government would invite people to come here, instead of passing restrictive legislation to prevent them. One would think that we occupied only a small garden instead of an immense territory, which, as regards its resources, is as yet practically untouched. I am satisfied that if the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) will read the clause again he will see that all that is necessary is already provided for. A man may be kept out of Australia simply because he is opposed to organized government. I do not think the Minister wants to do that, nor can I imagine any one wanting to do it; but if the Act ever goes before a Court of law the judicial decision will be, not upon the intention of Parliament, but upon the wording of the Act itself. Possibly some one may be kept out because he is opposed to the British Government. Let us imagine that a Sinn Feiner, who believes that Governments should rest upon the will of the people concerned, and accordingly is opposed to the British Government, seeking to enter Australia after this Bill becomes law. If the Minister is administering the Act and receives reports from his officers that a well-known Sinn Feiner, who, so far as his own country is concerned, deliberately wishes to overthrow any alien Government in favour of government by the people, he must keep that man out, though the would-be immigrant may be imbued with a patriotism so great that it impels him to. suffer exile rather than submit to a form of. government abhorrent to him. The Minister says that such a man must be excluded.
– I say nothing of the sort.
– Well, the Bill declares that he must be kept out. I urge the Minister to read that clause again very carefully, and see if it can bear the construction which he places upon it. He will realize that it has no relation to the other part of the clause, because it would, otherwise, be connected with “and” instead of “or.”
.- I think that if the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) will again consider the effect of my amendment he will see that it will strengthen the position, because the clause will then read -
Any person who advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the established Government of the Commonwealth or of any State or of any other civilized country, or of all formB of law, or organized government, . . .
The retention of the words “who is opposed to “ gives some ground for the construction that Senator Gardiner has put upon the clause, and I want to leave those words out.
– I will submit the clause to the authorities responsible for the draftmanship, in order that the intention may be made perfectly clear.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Senior’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived.
– I move-
That the words “ or who is opposed to organized government” be left out.
– The Committee have already decided that certain of the words mentioned by the honorable senator shall stand part of the clause. I cannot therefore accept the amendment.
– That is exactly what I said. Mine was a prior amendment.
Question - That the clause, as amended, be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . … . 11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 4 to. 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 consequentially amended, and. agreed to.
Clause 8. (Amendment of section 13b.)
– When Parliament was dealing with alien immigration it had not the courage to embody in its legislation what it actually desired, but it took a circuitous course of achieving its ends. I take it that this clause is to extend the period in which an examination can be conducted from two to three years; and I shall be glad if the Minister will explain what the clause actually means.
– Section 136 of the principal Act, when amended, will read -
The master of a vessel on which a prohibited immigrant, or a person reasonably supposed to be a prohibited immigrant, is, may, with the necessary assistance, take all reasonable measures to prevent the prohibited immigrant from entering the Commonwealth from the vessel in contravention of this Act.
It simply places the onus on the master of a vessel.
– I am afraid I was referring to another Act.
Clause agreed bo.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Senate adjourned at 4.47 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 April 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1920/19200428_senate_8_91/>.