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- Start of Business
- PROPERTY FOB PUBLIC PURPOSES ACQUISITION BILL
- THE FEDERAL COMMANDANT : KANAKAS
- POST AND TELEGRAPH BILL
IMMIGRATION RESTRICTION BILL
- BARTON, Edmund
- MCMILLAN, William
- BARTON, Edmund
- SOLOMON, Vaiben
- O'MALLEY, King
- SOLOMON, Elias
- PAGE, James
- EWING, Thomas
- MCLEAN, Francis
- MCLEAN, Francis
- COOK, Joseph
- QUICK, John
- FORREST, John
- HUGHES, William Morris
- HUGHES, William Morris
- PATERSON, Alexander
- O'MALLEY, King
- WILKINSON, James
- REID, George
- CHAIRMAN, The
- DEAKIN, Alfred
- GLYNN, Patrick
- Procedural Text
- SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT
Thursday, 26 September 1901
Mr McMILLAN (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There is no doubt that any British subject can get into Japan as a free citizen, without any stigma being cast on his colour or his race.
Mr J C Watson - He is restricted to one quarter.
Mr McMILLAN - We are creating an anomaly, and, in my opinion, a very mean position for ourselves as British subjects. I am not denying the necessity for this legislation, although I do not agree with many people that it is as imminent a danger as they think ; but I say most emphatically that this is the first of a series of Acts which must bring us face to face sooner or later with the particular tie which binds us to the mother country. For instance, if I may digress, there is a general idea amongst colonial statesmen that we ought to be able to make independent treaties even with foreign countries. That is another question which is in the near future. But I would ask the Premier--
The honorable member meant the present leader of the Opposition. He continued - to seriously consider that it may be better to suspend the operation of this Bill until it is known what the action of the British Government will be. Nobody can say at this moment whether it will be allowed or disallowed. I think it will be more courteous, more dignified, and equally independent if we allow sufficient time to the British Government to give a clear-cut opinion on this question before they allow the Bill to come into operation.
Mr.Wilks. - Hansard ought to be burned.
Mr BARTON - No doubt some people regard it as a seditious and scurrilous publication.
Sir William McMillan - Since then the British Government have given us rights in regard to immigration.
Mr BARTON - The description given of that speech by the leader of the Opposition, who is now at one with the honorable member for Wentworth upon this question, is as follows : -
With reference to the speech of the honorable member for Burwood (Sir William McMillan), I do not think it is unfair to say that it was a speech of a character which suggested that, if there was any considerable party in this House actively opposing the Bill, the honorable member would be found at the head of that party, in a very bitter and determined opposition to the proposal of the Government.
The attitude of the leader of the Opposition at that time was that a proposal of the character of that which has been made by the honorable member for Bland, went a great deal too far. In fact, I shall show that he was of opinion that a proposal such as that made in the following year also went a great deal too far. Nevertheless, within the last fortnight we find him taking up the mental attitude that a similar proposal in the Bill now before the House does not go far enough, and I am at a loss for the reason.
An Honorable Member. - He has had experience since then.
Mr BARTON - Honorable members may make all sorts of excuses for the leader of the Opposition, but that shall not deter me. At page 3,952 of the same volume of the New South Wales Hansard of 1885, I find the honorable member for Wentworth reported as saying -
We are brought in this debateface to face with the problem of our position as British citizens. We intend by this Bill, not merely to keep out coloured races who are aliens to ourselves, but coloured races who stand exactly in the same position as ourselves in every part of the world, and who seek the protection of the British flag.
That, it seems to me, is almost a prophesy of what the Secretary of State for the
Colonies said afterwards. The honorable member proceeded -
I take it for granted that we are not so silly as to be frightened at a very small fractional increase of the alien population ; but it is because we foresee, or think we foresee, that if we do not take these drastic measures, our population will suffer, and that this proportion will grow till it becomes a considerable integral part of the whole. That is the position I think we take up. That is our reason for doing it ; but what is it, after all, that allows us to do it ?
This is where my honorable friend was most impressive -
It is simply the fact that we are British citizens. If we were not British citizens, if with this enormous territory - because I am looking at it from the federal point of view -
The convention had not met then. The honorable member proceeded - with 8,000 miles of coastline, more or less, we were separated to-morrow from the mother country, it would be a much more serious matter than it is to attempt legislation like this.
I am afraid I very much agree with my honorable friend in that.
Mr Page - He has seen the error of his way since then.
Mr BARTON - We will see whether he has. He then said -
I should have been glad if the Premier had told us that some kind of diplomatic correspondence had been going on between the Home Government and ourselves during the last eighteen months.
He referred to the Hobart Conference held in the previous March, and being assured by my honorable friend that it was not referred to there, he went on to say -
Well, even so, it does seem to me that our position would have been a stronger one - and that this House ought reasonably to ask for it before we pass a Bill like this - if the opinion of the British Government had been obtained as to how this Bill will be met when it gets to the old country. I would point out that, if this Bill happens to be disallowed, we shall be placed in a very humiliating position.
Then he went on to put forward the suggestion that instead of the Bill coming into law on the 1st January, it should come into law only by proclamation. He continued -
Then the Government would have the power to hold over this Bill, at any rate, until we saw whether it was in consonance with the views of the British Government, and we should not have the humiliation of passing a Bill and letting it be known to the world, and then having it stopped by the action of the Home Government.
That attitude was confirmed on a later occasion, but before coming to that, I may be allowed to refer to a few of the intervening facts. In the interval there occurred a conference in England, and a speech then made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies has already been quoted in this debate. That speech was made with a view of pointing out to the assembled representatives of the British colonies, the difficulties of the British Government in assenting to certain classes of leigslation. The legislative power was not denied, but it was pointed out that it drove the British Government into a position of withholding, if necessary, or of not withholding the Royal assent- that it placed the Government in the dubious and difficult position that if they did that which their hearts prompted them to do, in giving full sway to the legislation of autonomous countries such as these, it embarrassed, and might embroil their relations with other powers, and that it was not right to place the British Government to the stress, or the' Crown to the painful necessity of assenting to such acts if other equable and effective means could be found for carrying out the popular will.
Mr McDonald - Is that Mr. Chamberlain's speech ?
Mr BARTON - That is what he said on the subject.
Mr McDonald - I should like to hear it quoted at length.
Mr BARTON - I would quote the whole passage if 1 had it by me.
Mr McDonald - I will get the whole of it.
Mr BARTON - At any rate, honorable members may take it from me that that is the construction which I think any reasonable mind would place on what the Secretary of State for the Colonies said.
Mr Kirwan - That was four years ago.
Mr BARTON - I admit that it was four years ago, and I shall come to the question of the lapse of time in a few minutes.
Mr Spence - There have been big changes since then.
Mr BARTON - There have been big changes, and I will, come to those also. That was the position in effect taken up by the representative of the then Queen's Government in England - that the Government ought not to be put to this painful necessity. I find I have the text of Mr. Chamberlain's speech here, and I shall read it. It has already been read in the course of this debate, but as an honorable member asks me to quote it again, I cannot well refuse his courteous request. Speaking of legislation in progress in regard to aliens, and particularly Asiatics, Mr. Chamberlain said -
I have seen these Bills, and they differ in some respects one from the other, but there is no one of them, except perhaps the Bill which comes to us from Natal, to which we can look with satisfaction. I wish to say that Her Majesty's Government thoroughly appreciate the object and the needs of the colonies in dealing with this matter. We quite sympathize with the determination of the white inhabitants of these colonies, which are in comparatively close proximity to millions and hundreds of millions of Asiatics, that there shall not be an influx of people, alien in civilization, alien in religion, alien in customs, whose influx, moreover, would most seriously interfere with the legitimate rights of the existing labour population. An immigration of that kind must, I quite understand, in the interests of the colonies, be prevented at all hazards, and we shall not offer any opposition to the proposals in tended with that object, but we ask you also to bear in mind the traditions of the Empire, which makes no distinction in favour of or against race or colour, and to exclude, by reason oE their colour, or by reason of their race, all Her Majesty's Indian subjects, or even nil Asiatics, would be an act so offensive to those peoples, that it would be most painful, I am quite certain, to Her Majesty to have to sanction it.
There he offers opposition, not to the exclusion of those whom we wish to exclude, but to their exclusion for the humiliating reason of their colour or their race, which, he says, is alien to the traditions and the whole policy of the Empire. Mr. Chamberlain went on -
Consider what has been brought to your notice during your visit to this country. I shall read the passage about the Indian princes, to which some honorable members seem prone to take a little exception. This speech was made dining the celebration of the Queen's Jubilee. Mr. Chamberlain proceeded -
The United Kingdom owns, as its brightest and greatest dependency, that enormous Empire of India, with 300,000,000 of subjects, who are as loyal to the Crown as you are yourselves, and among them there are hundreds and thousands of men who are every whit as civilized as we are ourselves, who are, if that is anything, better born in the sense that they have older traditions and older families, who are men of wealth, men of cultivation, men of distinguished valour, men who have brought whole armies and placed them at the service of the Queen, and have in times of great difficulty and trouble, such for instance, as on the occasion of the Indian mutiny, saved the Empire by their loyalty.
It is consistent with what the right honorable gentleman said, to mention at this point that I do not believe that any considerable proportion of gentlemen in the House would wish in the case of those Indian princes, to put them to the humiliation of such a test as is proposed in this Bill. Mr. Chamberlain proceeded -
I say, you, who have seen all this, cannot be willing to put upon those men a slight which I think is absolutely unnecessary for your purpose, and which would be calculated to provoke illfeeling, discontent, irritation, and would be most unpalatable to the feelings, not only of Her Majesty the Queen, but of all her people.
What I venture to think you have to deal with is the character of the immigration. It is not because a man is of a different colour from ourselves that he is necessarily an undesirable immigrant, but it is because he is dirty, or he is immoral, or he is a pauper, or he has some other objection which can be defined in an Act of Parliament, and by which the exclusion can be managed with regard to all those whom you really desire to exclude. Well, gentlemen, this is a matter I am sure for friendly consultation between us -
There is no hectoring there -
As I have said, the colony of Natal has arrived at an arrangement which is absolutely satisfactory to them, I believe ; and remember they have, if possible, an even greater interest than you, because they are closer to the immigration which has already begun there on a very large scale, and they have adopted legislation which they believe will give them all that they want, and to which the objection I have taken does not apply, which does not come in conflict with this sentiment, whichIam sure you share with us - and which the visiting Premiers showed they shared with Her Majesty's Government - and I hope, therefore, that during your visit it may be possible for us to arrange a form of words which will avoid hurting the feelings of any of Her Majesty's subjects, while at the same time it would amply protect the Australian colonies against any invasion of the class to which they would justly object.
There is the whole speech, with the exception of a few complimentary words at the end.
Mr McDonald - It does not refer to any outside subject. The right honorable and learned member said it did in the first place.
Mr BARTON - I say that it does. If honorable members have followed me they will see that Mr. Chamberlain said the Home Government sympathized with our determination to prevent the influx of these hundreds of millions of Asiatics, alien in religion and alien in customs, whose influx would most seriously interfere with the legitimate rights of the existing labour population. He understood that an immigration of that kind must be prevented, and stated that his Government would not offer any opposition to proposals intended with that object. He asked us to bear in mind the traditions of the Empire, and pointed out that to exclude, by reason of their colour or race, all Her Majesty's Indian subjects, or even all Asiatics, would be an act so offensive to those peoples that it would be most painful to Her Majesty to have to sanction it. He said that they, who had seen these Hindoos, could not be willing to put upon them a slight absolutely unnecessary, and calculated to provoke ill-feeling, discontent, and irritation. Then Mr. Chamberlain went on to say -
What I venture to think you have to deal with is the character of the immigration. It is not because a man is of a different colour from ourselves . . .
That, I think, extends to the whole class of these immigrants. Mr. Chamberlain went on to state further objections, and then referred to the Natal Act. What is the Natal Act? Section 3 provides -
The immigration into Natal by land or sea of any person of any of the classes defined in following sub-sections (prohibited immigrants) is prohibited, namely : - (The first sub-section is as prescribed in our own Bill) -
(a) Any person who, when asked to do so by an officer appointed under this Act, shall fail to himself write out and sign in the characters of any language of Europe an application to the Colonial Secretary in the form set out in the schedule.
That Act waspassed without special reference to British subjects, it was passed for the exclusion of Hindoos. It was as well known to Mr. Chamberlain as it was at the time to the Premier of Natal, Sir Harry Escombe, that the Bill was to be passed with that object. I will show presently that it was understood in that sense by my right honorable and learned friend, the leader of the Opposition in this House. The Natal Coloured Races Restriction Bill of 1896 was passed before the conference took place in London, but it did not receive the Royal assent. And why? Because it specifically professed to exclude people by reason of their race and colour. Whatever had been assented to in the past with regard to Chinese, it was felt by Her Majesty's Government that international complications were likely to ensue, if they would not necessarily ensue, by excluding people on a mere colour line. That is why the Bill finally passed by the Natal Legislature was spoken of as a proper one by the representative of the Queen's Government. The Coloured Races Restriction Bill, laying down a proposal very similar to that now wished to be laid down by the honorable memberforBland,did not receive theRoyal assent, and a preference for a class of legislation which would not create complications either within or without the Empire was sufficiently indicated by Mr. Chamberlain. If it was not sufficiently indicated then, why did the right honorable and learned member at the head of the Opposition, as Premier of New South Wales, bring down a Bill of precisely that character as soon as he came back from England? We must judge the way in which the conference with Mr. Chamberlain was regarded by the actions of those who attended it. Natal had passed her Act shortly before the conference met, when the Australian Premiers returned, my right honorable and learned colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs, as Premier of South Australia, brought in a Bill on the lines indicated, and although he did not succeed in carrying it, he fulfilled the evident understanding arrived at. My right honorable colleague, the Treasurer, as Premier of Victoria, brought in a Bill on the same lines, but the Legislative Council practically threw it out. My right honorable colleague, the Minister for Defence, then Premier of Western Australia, brought in another Bill on the same understanding, and carried it. I shall prove that that Bill is effective. The right honorable member for Tasmania, Sir Edward Braddon, as Premier of that State, also brought in a similar Bill, and if he is here when the division is taken, he will, I am sure, vote in accordance with an undertaking which he honourably made. Unfortunately Queensland did nothing. Sir Hugh Nelson soon after the conference went out of office. He was succeeded by Mr. Byrne, and we all know how inhis case a legislative and a patriotic career of high promise was cut short by death.
Mr McDonald - Sir Hugh Nelson signed the treaty with Japan.
Mr BARTON - I am coming to the Japanese agreement presently, and I shall show that from the time that agreement came into operation the departures of Japanese from Queensland have exceeded the arrivals. New Zealand passed a Bill on the lines I have indicated, and New South Wales only remains to be mentioned. My right honorable and learned friend at the head of the Opposition came back from the conference, as I have said, and brought in a Bill with reference to which I should like to make one more quotation of two or three lines from a speech made by the honorable member for Wentworth. It is to be found at page 5049, of volume 91 of the New South Wales Hansard. He said -
Whatevermay be the discussion upon the Bill which is to follow this, it seems to me very unreasonable, under all the circumstances, to provoke any lone debate upon this Bill.
That is to say, he clearly opposed the previous Bill, which was dropped so far as I can discover, because the Government of the day apparently came to the conclusion that the Immigration Restriction Bill, which they brought in upon the lines of the Natal Act and carried, would prove sufficient for the purpose. On that measure the honorable member for Wentworth made the statement which I have quoted, and expressed his own opinion in this way -
I feel myself exactly as I felt before.
We know how he felt before from the quotations I have made. The honorable member continued -
We might havea gradual, slow, insidious, immigration of an alien and undesirable people, or we might have immense hordes of these people coming in under certain conditions. I do not believe anything has arisen in New South Wales which should lead us to fear either of those two consequences at present.
Sir William McMillan - We are not legislating for New South Wales now.
Mr BARTON - I know that. I shall come to that point if the honorable member will give me time. I cannot deal with 100 questions at once.
Sir William McMillan - But do not forget that fact.
Mr BARTON - I shall no more forget it than I shall forget the honorable member's attitude on this question. The honorable member continued on the occasion I have referred to as follows: -
They may apply to the tropical parts of Australia, and it is in those tropical colonies that I think legislation should have been initiated.
That is where it was not initiated -
I should now prefer - although I do notsuppose the suggestion will receive any consideration - that this Bill of such a tremendously drastic character should be kept aside subject to proclamation by the Executive, if any real danger threatened our shores. At the same time i t does seem to me, as far as I can gauge public opinion, that the country is in favour of the measure which passed both Houses in the present Parliament, and that any lengthy discussion would at the present time be out of place.
That Bill was dropped, and one in accordance with the Natal Act was substituted. All I have to say further in regard to the attitude of my honorable friend the member for Wentworth is that I can thoroughly enter into and sympathize with the feelings and expressions of a publicspirited man who may be led to say even more than he means in the warmth of his advocacy of a great principle. That we have all done
Mr V L SOLOMON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - And it is because of that sympathy that the Minister is quoting Hansard
Mr BARTON - Does the honorable member think that in his own interests, or in the interests of any one else, Hansard should be a sealed book *? For what reason is it published except for reference and in order that the people may know what their representatives are doing 1 And who is to blame or interrupt me if I choose to draw a distinction between the attitude taken up by my honorable friend on one occasion and that adopted by him on another '!
Sir William McMillan - I do not.
Mr BARTON - I am sure the honorable member does not, so long as I couch my comment in perfectly inoffensive terms.
Mr V L SOLOMON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - But we are dealing now with Australia as a whole.
Mr BARTON - We are; but I think the honorable member sometimes forgets it. I will show that, although we are legislating for Australia, that fact does not alter the question involved, if the honorable member will allow me to reach my point in my own way. That is a liberty which I always give him. We know how the honorable member's leader treated an interruption last night. I was going to say that I cannot think that the honorable member for Wentworth said as little as he meant. I think he rather said more than he meant in some passages of his speech. I am not, however, going to be one of his captious critics. I have too much confidence in his integrity to admit of that ; but I do think that on the occasion I have referred to he gave reasons for hesitation with regard to measures framed in the spirit of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Bland which ought to appeal not only to his mind, but to the minds of us all on the present occasion. Let us see how the Immigration Restriction Bill got on in the New South Wales
Legislature. Tracing its history a little further, we come to the second reading, which took place on the 24th November, 1897. In moving the second reading of that Bill, my right honorable friend the leader of the Opposition in this House, first of all described the measure in terms so accurate that we need not go over the ground ; then he said he had put in an additional safeguard to that provided in the Natal Act. That is to say an additional safeguard that the applicant should know the particular language and not merely the particular form in the schedule of the Act, in which' he could be coached up. He put in the schedule, but left it open so that there might be a change. We have left this Bill open in precisely the same manner, so that the test passages may be changed, in order to defeat the tricks which have been foreshadowed by honorable members. The right honorable and learned gentleman then went on to say -
This Bill will become law if the committee pass it in the shape in which it is now.
The right honorable and learned gentleman had the conference in his mind -
If the committee alter it, then, of course, I .am not so sure of my ground.
He thinks differently now. He went on to say, urging a reason which I think applies on the present occasion, so far as it may apply at all with regard to this more stringent Bill-
We shall be in a better position to obtain a better measure if this Bill proves of little use.
It was urged the other day by the AttorneyGeneral that we shall be in a position to obtain a more stringent measure if this Bill is not utterly effective for its purpose, as I believe it will be. But that is the kind of statement that provoked the high indignation of the right honorable and learned member for East Sydney last night, although in the volume from which I am quoting, he is reported to have said the same thing himself.
Mr Reid - I was speaking for New South Wales
Mr BARTON - Of course; the right honorable and learned member was speaking for New South Wales. If I were to put the cart before the horse, I should get to that part of my argument now ; but surely my right honorable friend will have a little patience and forbearance. I am showing that these things were said, and I intend to show how they ave applicable to the present situation. The right honorable and learned member continued -
The position I took up was this : I found that we could not get the Royal assent to the Bill which we passed-
That was a Bill containing a provision similar to that contained in the amendment which has been moved by the honorable member for Bland--
It was represented to me that the Bill now before honorable members would be assented to-
As this one would be, and for the very same reasons - : -
It was also represented to me that it had been tried at Natal, and had stopped Indian immigration - the immigration of British subjects.
That was the point which an honorable member raised in an interjection just now.
The Premier of Natal himself gave me that assurance.
That ought to have been enough for my right honorable friend. It was enough for him then, but it is not enough for him now.
My position was this : Being unable to get the Bill that was wanted, after using ever}' possible effort, not by myself alone, I thought the next best thing was to make a trial of this ; but I made a most distinct statement that if this Bill did not achieve the object, we would come with irresistible force with a Bill which would.
A similar statement was made by the AttorneyGeneral last week, which excited the high indignation of my right honorable friend. Then, in the debate, from the report of which I have been quoting, an honorable member (Mr. Wood), foreshadowed an amendment, though not quite the same as that of the honorable member for Bland.
Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ha ve no doubt that he was prompted by a colleague of the Prime Minister.
Mr BARTON - At any rate, it is failthat I should give his question and the answer of the right honorable and learned member for East Syd ney. The honorable member for Parramatta, when I have quoted both, will not think that there is any reason for speculation as to Mr. Wood's motive. He asked -
Cannot the honorable member amend the clause so as to provide that the educational test shall only apply to coloured races, and the other subclauses to white and coloured people ? We have never assumed that it was necessary for immigrants to subject themselves to any educational test. A very large percentage of our immigrants who are absolutely " uneducated " have in many cases proved themselves to be the better class of immigrants.
To that question r,he right honorable and learned member replied -
With reference to this educational test, I must warn the House against seriously altering the character of this Bill, because if we do, I have no assurance that we will get the Royal assent. I am quite sure of getting the Royal assent if we do not alter it in any respect, and I am afraid if we did what the honorable member for EdenBombala suggests, we would imperil the passing of the Bill.
No such peril is dreaded by him now -
It has an appearance of equality in dealing with white and coloured races, which strongly recommends it to the Imperial Government as a Bill which they can assent to, and if we alter that character and bring back, to them, the objectionable feature that it applies only to colored, not to others, we may find ourselves just as far off as we were before. We have in the Bill itself a discretion which the officer must exercise as he is directed by the Government, and, as at present advised, I should not think the Government would give such instruction as would put any European through this educational test.
That was the proposal of the Government of which the right honorable and learned member for East Sydney was the head, and it was the same as that which has been loudly denounced by him as hypocrisy. He was perfectly prepared to be guilty then of what he would call, but what I do not call, hypocrisy.
Mr Reid - My Bill provided for the European, not the English, language test.
Mr BARTON - What difference does that make to the argument 1 Does the right honorable and learned member suppose for a moment that if this Bill went home, providing for the English language instead of a European language test, there would be any more risk of its being vetoed ? It would be even more acceptable from the point of view of some of the international relations of England if it did. I am prepared to risk that, however, because Bills providing for a European language test have been accepted by the British Government. That fact gives a further warrant to us that our Bill will receive the Royal assent if we provide for a European language test. I am prepared to avoid all risk whatever, and even though there may be some objection on the part of Japan, I am bound to take this step, because the people with whom we are dealing are not those outside the Empire. We are dealing with the Empire, and particularly with the mother country, and we want to frame our Bill so as not to embarrass her - not for the sake of outsiders, but for her sake and for our own sake. That being the attitude we take up, if I can find an equal assurance of the passage of this Bill by the substitution of the word " European," for the word "English," as in the course of events I do, I am prepared to forego my wish about the word " English," and adopt the word " European " instead, because the matter is not a vital one. Another objection was raised to the statement of my right honorable friend that the Government would not give any such instructions as would put any European through this educational test - that is to say, that the European would be allowed to come in. " If it is administered in that way," said Mr. Wood, " there will be no objection." To that the right honorable and learned member replied -
It is one of the recommendations of the Bill that it gives us scope to administer it in that way.
Mr. Wood.Would it not be equally objectionable in the eyes of the British Government ?
Mr Reid - The difference is that they have nothing to do with our administration of an Act, but they have something to do with the assenting to our Bills.
What did that mean'! That the care of the British Government was not to embarrass its relations with its 300,000,000 or 400,000,000 of coloured subjects, and perhaps provoke resentment from those to whom it owed gratitude for their stand in the defence of the Empire, and not to permit to pass measures calculated to cause trouble, much or little, between England and other nations. The answer of the right honorable and learned gentleman shows conclusively and rightly what the advantage of a Bill of this kind is - that the administration of our laws, once they receive the Royal assent, whether through the Governor-General or from His Majesty, is not a matter in which the Imperial Government meddles. But the question whether a Bill, on the very face of which are scored lines of offence against those it does not want to offend, is one with which the British Government will deal, because it is a trustee for the whole Empire, of whom the white subjects are only one-eighth, and the peace of the Empire lies in its hands. While it will not resist the legitimate aspirations of any white self-governing country to preserve itself as white and its race as pure as they now are, it only asks and urges that that country shall take the steps it considers necessary to effect its object in a way which will enable the mother country to give its assent with a light heart, and not with that heaviness of heart which maybe the precursor of a severance between us. I feel very strongly about this matter. It is true that on the surface this is a measure dealing only with method. Whether you exclude by saying on the face of your Bill that the Asiatic and the African shall not come in, or whether you exclude by imposing a test which renders you practically free from their incursions, is said to be a matter of method. So it is on its face. But what is the difference in essence ? In the one case you have it absolutely established that your Bill will receive consideration and will be allowed to come into operation. You have it also established that it involves no danger whatever to those relations of the Empire which are to us the guarantees of peace. What is the other case ? That both internally with regard to its own subjects, and externally with regard to those whom it does not and ought not to desire to offend, a Bill amended in the way now proposed has proved already tobe calculated to give offence. If you can get a good thing by one of two ways, one of which is peaceful, and marks also the duty which we owe to the Empire to which we belong, and the other of which is calculated tq bring about different results, why should we quarrel about the matter ? Why not let this Bill go as it has been framed 1 There has been an assurance that if it does not prove effective, further measures may be taken. The assurance has been given by the Secretary for State that if measures of this kind do not prove effective, further representations may be made, and more stringent provisions may be passed.
Mr Watson - We had that assurance in New South Wales.
Mr. BARTON.The assurance was given before the New South Wales Act was passed. If you come to the conclusion that these Acts are in themselves as reasonably effective as you can expect any measure of exclusion to be, why should you hesitate % If there is a difference between an Act which has not yet been tried, such as that proposed, and the series of Acts which have been tried, a difference which might amount to seven Chinamen or Afghans in a year, are you going to let that stand in the way, and light the Empire over those seven immigrants 1 I do not believe such a thing. I have too much confidence in this House to believe that it will be done. Let us look to the question whether these Acts do prove effective. Before doing so, I come to the question as to the difference between the position of the States standing alone, and the position of the Commonwealth. The position of the Commonwealth is this - that in respect to all powers of legislation which it has, it can pass Acts on this subject to apply to the whole six States instead of to one. The States have more numerous and in some respects larger powers than the Commonwealth : but on the question of immigration and emigration, there are what are called concurrent powers of legislation, the exercise of which by the Commonwealth will supplant to the extent of their operation any law of a State. We have to exercise that power. We are told that we shall be cut clown in our legislative freedom if we are not looked upon as being entitled to have a Bill with an amendment of this kind assented to whenever we like. I venture to think that that is a misunderstanding of the position, a perfectly innocent one, but amisunderstanding nevertheless. There is an ultimate power in the British Government of exercising its trusteeship for the rest of the Empire by vetoing any kind of legislation which makes against either the interest of other parts of the Empire, or prejudices its external relations. We have a great difference in our instructions I admit. In the instructions issued to the Governors of States in 1892 there was a list of subjects measures affecting which were to be reserved for the Royal assent. There is no such list in the instructions issued to the Governor-General, who has a very much wider power of discretion; but the Constitution says that, with respect to every measure which comes before bini for the Royal assent, he shall declare either that he gives assent under his discretion, that he withholds assent, or that he reserves the measure for His Majesty's pleasure to be made known. I think those are the words - we have the same words in other Acts - and we find them in our own Act unencumbered with the long list of powers of reservation, which are set out in other Acts, but accompanied by a general power of reservation which is given to the GovernorGeneral to exercise at his discretion. Now, what does this come to 1 There is an ultima ratio, one last step in legislation to be taken by any colony or State which remains a part of the Empire upon which a reservation is absolutely indispensable. If it is known from past history, or from the utterances of those who guide the course of the Empire, that a class of measure affects the interests 1 of fellow subjects of ours outside of Australia, or affects the relations of the whole of the Empire with other powers - and on this we have a most significant and distinct intimation - that is the class of Bill which must be reserved for the Royal assent. It would be impossible in an Empire such as ours, comprising so many free communities, to have a Governor-General in each of them with full powers of assent in regard to measures affecting the interests of the Empire at large, and that is the one respect in which we must be controlled. We cannot do anything that would tend to a disturbance of the relations of the Empire without the matter being first submitted for the Royal assent, and it follows that a measure containing the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Bland not only would be, but must be, reserved for the Royal assent. It is not for me to advise, or for the Attorney-General to obtrude his opinion, because in the absolute nature of the case, when a matter touches the Empire in its heart within, or on its fair face without, that must be regarded as a matter foi1 the head of the Empire alone to determine, of course, on the advice of those Ministers who are its trustees. That is the position in connexion with this Bill from which we cannot escape, and that is the position that makes it incumbent on me to say that I cannot assent to the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Bland. It is incumbent upon me to say even more ; and that is, that I will be no party to sending home a Bill containing such a provision for the Royal assent. If it were necessary for me to say more than that - but it is not - I should be prepared to use stronger terms still to indicate the length to which I would go rather than send home a Bill containing a provision such as that contemplated by the amendment of the honorable member for Bland. We have arrived at a very critical point undoubtedly. The difference between us, as I said, is described as a difference of method ; but while it is only a difference of method on the surface, in its core it involves our future relations with the Empire to which we belong. It is not so very long since the whole of these colonies were seething with a determination not only to be loyal to the Empire but to spill their hearts' blood for it. I am not going to be one of the first to believe that any of that spirit has evaporated. I have confidence in this House in many matters - much confidence, even if it have no confidence in me - but I must believe the assurances given to men like my light honorable friend, the leader of the Opposition, and acted upon in the case of Kew South Wales, and given to the other Premiers, and acted upon in the case of six out of seven of the States. That is proof that the assurances were believed, and. there is no point of difference between the pOsition of a State and of this Commonwealth when it comes to the lastresort - when a measure is presentd for the Royal assent, and when it has to be determined whether or not it is of a character affecting the material interests of the Empire. In that respect the State and the Commonweal th must be treated alike, except that, as we go along, affairs that are external to this Commonwealth, but internal to the Empire, will probably fall more and more into our hands, affording all the more reason why we should endeavour to walk abreast with the Empire, having no idea of turning round at the next corner and leaving it. As to whether a measure of this kind will prove effective, I shall now lay some figures before honorable members. Every one will admit that the information that, can lie obtained from Government sources is imperfect - I will admit that.
Sir William McMillan - Will the Minister say whether coloured British subjects are included in the figures which he is about to quote 1
Mr BARTON - Yes ; I understand so. The first thing to take account of is that these returns are complicated by the existence in all the States of Chinese Restriction Acts of. differing strength and potency. For instance, in New South Wales the Chinese Restriction Act provides that only one Chinese shall be brought in for every 300 tons of a vessel's tonnage, and the poll tax. there is £100 per head. In Victoria and in Queensland the conditions are less stringent. In Tasmania I think there is a light restriction, but in that State there is very little influx of this, character. I will deal with the Chinese first - although, unfortunately, I cannot put them out of the way by dealing with them.
I desire to point out that in New South Wales during five and a half years 739 coloured aliens were admitted. During that period, 328 Chinese entered, and 2,296 left the State - that is a little short of seven to one have left - and thus the departures have put the arrivals into a minus quantity every year. The influx of aliens, including Japanese, Assyrians, Indians, Afghans, Javanese, Chinese, and others, was 739, and there were 2,296 departures. The departures were the same as previously mentioned for Chinese, there being no record of departures except of Chinese. In Victoria, with a lighter restriction Act, and with no Immigration Restriction Act such as we propose, and such as exists in New South Wales, 1,500 more Chinese came in than left, the arrivals being 3,944, and departures 2,419. There being no general Immigration Restriction Act in force in Victoria, 5,489 coloured aliens entered the State, and 3,096 left, or, roughly speaking, an excess of influx over and above departures of 2,300. In Queensland the figures are more significant and startling still, but let it be recollected that there is no Immigration Restriction Act in that State. There is, of course, a Pacific Islanders Act in operation, and with reference to the kanakas it might save time if I mentioned at once that in the five and a half years which the return covers the excess of arrivals over departures was about 2,000. As to the Chinese immigration, under a light restriction Act 4,443 came in, and 3,244 left the State, giving an excess of arrivals over departures, roughly speaking, of 1,200. There was an increase of these aliens of about 4,000 during that period - that includes till. Now I wish to say something about the Japanese. With regard to the Japanese, an arrangement was entered into in 1S99 between the Queensland Government and the Japanese Government, and the matter stands in this way. I will take the figures for 1899 onwards. They show that during two years' and eight months 304 Japanese came into the State and 864 left, or a decrease, since Queensland has had this arrangement with Japan, of 560. It is quite evident that the influx of Japanese into Queensland cannot be the main point of dread or apprehension. In Western Australia they have not only a Chinese Restriction Act, but an Immigration Restriction Act, and the figures I have cover a period of three years and eight months, because the Immigration Restriction Act only came into operation in 1898. The figures in this case are complete, because they include the departures, and they give us some indication of how an Act of this kind will operate if it is fairly and honestly administered. Of course, it is of no use to pass an Act of any kind if is not to be honestly administered. In Western Australia, from the beginning of 1898 we find an influx of 525, and an outflow of 896, so that there was an excess of departures over arrivals of 371.
Mr Kirwan - What have the departures to do with the Act ?
Mr BARTON - They have nothing to do with the Act, except that the administration of these Acts generally shows that the country is discovered by the aliens to be not such a pleasant place to live in as it was before the Acts were passed, and perhaps that is the reason why the departures exceed the arrivals.
Mr Wilkinson - Was the influx of Japanese into Queensland, referred to by the Prime Minister, confined to those who came into the State under the treaty ?
Mr BARTON - I understand that it included all those who entered the State, and I may mention that within the last week or two, a report has been received from the Honorable John Douglas, Commissioner at Thursday Island, stating that there is a large decrease there, and that the Japanese are really disappearing. These figures which I have been quoting have been obtained from the various Customshouse officers at different ports - the only reliable persons, who can give information as to the entry of these persons into the States, and who have to administer the various Acts. I have taken the greatest trouble to get these figures, and I have not hestitated, inconcurrence w i th the Minister for Trade and Customs, whose officers have been applied to, to get the best and most reliable information. I think that my right honorable friend, the leader of the Opposition, will say that he has the most complete confidence in these returns.
Mr McDonald - They do not correspond with the Registrar-General's figures.
Mr BARTON - So much the worse for the Registrar-General's figures. I think honorable members will agree with me when I say that the Government has a right to believe that the officers of the Commonwealth who hold our commissions will treat us fairly, and that we are justified in relying upon them. If they give wrong information they know very well what will happen to them.
Mr Kirwan - If the Prime Minister had lived in Western Australia he would not say that the Act had proved effective there.
Sir John Forrest - Nothing of the sorb - look at the statistics.
Mr Kirwan - I have lived on the goldfields, and I know that the Act lias not proved effective.
Sir John Forrest - People cannot go there unless they go through the ports.
Mr BARTON - I am sure that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie will forgive me if 1 regard the testimony of the Minister for Defence, who has administered the affairs of Western Australia as Premier, and who has confidence in these returns as reliable corroboration of the figures. Neither the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, nor the honorable member for Kennedy, agree with me apparently, but it is open to them to combat my figures afterwards if they can. In Western Australia the number of Japanese who went into the State from the beginning of 1898 was 34, while 159 went out. During the same period 76 Afghans entered the State and 245 left it. Of Chinese, 334 came in, and 418 went out, and we will score these off, because they did not come under the Restriction Act. Of others 81 came in and 74 went out. That is at the rate of a little under two a year. In other words there was a dread influx in that case of seven in three and a half years. But in regard to every one of these races - Chinese included - where there is in operation a Chinese Restriction Act and an Immigration Restriction Act, as is the case in New South Wales and Western Australia, we find that the figures show a remarkable excess of departures over arrivals, which in respect of the Japanese really means that there are four or five times as many going out of the country as are coming in. In the case of the nondescript persons who cannot be classed under a distinct head we find that there is also a very large excess of departures over arrivals. These are the official figures, and we thus have it upon record that an Act of this kind does prove and has proved effective. But I did not think that Sir Harry Escombe, the Premier of Natal, was likely to be wrong. After the operation of the Natal Act, he told my right honorable friend opposite that it accomplished what was expected of it, and that it prevented an influx of the Hindoos, from whom the residents of Natal had most to fear. My right honorable friend opposite believed that statement at the time, and no doubt he believes it still. Into what further, then, have we to inquire in a case of this kind ? We have gone to the best source for information. From the figures I have collated it can be seen how legislation of the character proposed in this Bill operates with regard to the Japanese. Still, premising that New South Wales might not have kept a record of the Japanese departures, I am going to tell this committee how much that State has suffered from Japanese from the beginning of 1899, two years and eight months ago - or just at about the period that the Queensland Restriction Act came into operation. The total number of arrivals within that period is 54. I ask honorable members to recollect that this number has reference to a race in regard to which the official correspondence laid upon the table of every House of Parliament in the various States establishes the fact that their custom is not to remain here, but to come under agreement for two or two and a half years, and then to return to their own country. I have already given the figures in regard to Queensland, which show that during the same period that State has lost 864 Japanese, as against 304 arrivals. Therefore she is by 560 head clearer of Japanese than she was at the beginning of that period. In Western Australia 23 arrived, and 117 went out during the same period. In Western Australia, therefore, when one came in five went away. Whether we take the results of the operation of the Restriction Acts in New South Wales or Western Australia, or whether we take the operation of an agreement with a foreign power such as is offered to us by the Japanese Consul, we find that in every case there is an efflux and not an influx. I think I have said enough to show that a similar measure to that which is now proposed by the Government is admittedly effective in Natal, and that it has proved its effectiveness in Australia. As it is reasonably certain that such a measure is sufficiently effective, and as we know that we can increase its stringency if we find that it is not so, is there any danger in delay ? " Yes," I say, " there is." Which is the course that will make for delay? Is it not the course of adopting that step which we have already been warned will necessitate delay, and may result in the loss of the Bill ? Certainly, that is the course which a man if he wanted to provoke delay would invent. I have never wobbled or wavered upon this matter from the beginning to the end, and wherever I have had to express an opinion on the influx of undesirable immigrants, I have always expressed myself as strongly against it. I am ready to do as much, if not more than anybody else, to prevent such an influx. I do not agree with the honorable and learned member for Parkes, who said that the tendencies of this kind of immigration were not dangerous. I do not think either that the doctrine of the equality of man was really ever intended to include racial equality. There is no racial equality. There is that basic inequality. These races are, in comparison with white races - I think no one wants convincing of this fact - unequal and inferior. The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman. There is a deep-set difference, and we see no prospect and no promise of its ever being effaced. Nothing in this world can put these two races upon an equality. Nothing we can do by cultivation, by refinement, or by anything else will make some races equal to others. I do not want to lay down with too much preciseness any of these differences, because there is not one amongst these races whom I wish to hurt or wound. But we know that we can have our own way in the direction that has been shown us, and that we shall have the Royal assent to a measure framed upon those lines for an absolute certainty ; and as far as I am concerned if this measure were passed without substantial alteration I should be able to advise the Governor-General to assent to it at once. But if it be passed on the lines suggested by the amendment of the honorable member for Bland not only would it be unnecessary for me to advise, but I would not advise one way or the other, simply because there is a reserve duty in the head of the Government of this Commonwealth - I am speaking of the Governor-General - which forces him to reserve those matters which go to the root of the Imperial relation. That is the position which we occupy. The Bill which we propose will provide equal effectiveness so far as experience can guide us. There is no threat of injury to us if we take the course proposed, but certain delay and possible refusal, if that refusal is to be grounded upon the doctrine of the trusteeship of the head or seat of the Empire for the rest of the Empire, which doctrine was laid down in the course of our visit to England last year, and to that extent rightly and properly laid down. There is that reserve power, that trusteeship in the head of the Empire - I mean the King, with his advisers, who are responsible to the whole of the Empire - which we cannot by any argument efface. We cannot say, " Because we ought to have this thing we must have it." Those who have to consider these matters at the other end of the world have to consider whether the foreign or internal relations of the Empire are threatened by such legislation, and, if not threatened, whether it has a tendency to embarrass them. If they come to a conclusion in the affirmative, they are not only not wronging us, but they are merely doing their duty to the Empire by refusing to assent to it. I wish to make my meaning as clear as I can about this matter. I feel in ray heart that we ought to have legislation such as is proposed by the Government, and I know that if we take the course offered to us by the amendment of the honorable member for Bland, we are unlikely to get such legislation, except at a cost which I am sure the honorable member for Wentworth would not be willing to pay. In this connexion I desire to say that whatever interpretation an opponent may have put upon the utterances of the honorable member, I believe that he is instinct with that loyalty which would refuse to imperil for an instant the institutions of the Empire.
Sir William McMillan - Will the Prime Minister let us know what was the date of the last advice from the Home Office upon the subject ?
Mr BARTON - On 14th May the Secretary of State for the Colonies wrote a despatch which is addressed to the Governor-General, and forwarded copies of two despatches, addressed to the Governor of Queensland, relative to -the reserving of a Bill passed by the Legislature of that State entitled "A Bill to amend the Sugar Works Guarantee Acts 1893-1895." Mr. Chamberlain ' adds these few words to the Governor-General -
I trust that your Government will join with
His Majesty's Government in deprecating legislation of the character of the provision in that Bill to which His Majesty's Government have felt bound to take exception.
I felt so strongly upon this matter that I appended the following minute, which I am bound to stand to. I should be weak and irresolute indeed if I did not stand to it. Indeed, it is the minute of all my colleagues, because we agreed to it in Cabinet : -
Minute to his Excellency, intimating that I am quite in accord with the principles and the policy laid down in the two despatches, of which copies are transmitted, and .that this Government does not contemplate the proposal of any legislation likely to conflict with the views which the Secretary of State has expressed.
It was my intention when I rose to quote this despatch, but to quote it later in my speech. I wish to add that there is a despatch enclosed which is not secret, apparently, and which has been read to this House. That document, after describing the provision to which the Imperial authorities took exception, went on to say -
His Majesty's Government fully appreciate the motives which have induced the Government and Legislature of Queensland to pass that particular provision of the Bill upon two grounds. Those grounds were read by the Attorney-General, and I do not propose' to weary the House by repeating them.
Mr McDonald - Why did the Imperial Government sanction the other Bills ?
Mr BARTON - Is it to be accepted as a fact, because certain Bills of a different sort have received the Royal assent, that when these strong representations are made by His Majesty's Government, we are to disregard them because of those other events ? I say we must not disregard them. I am bound not to disregard them, and I do not intend to.
Mr McDonald - Because the Prime Minister has put his foot into it already. He is up to his neck in it now.
Mr BARTON - I have said not one syllable more in that minute than I meant to say and adhere to, or than I would have said now if I had not written it.
Mr McDonald - Why did the Prime Minister not say it the other night ?
Mr BARTON - Because I had not the opportunity of saying it. When I spoke upon the second reading of the Bill I had had no intimation that any such amendment as that submitted by the honorable member for Bland was to be proposed.
Mr McDonald - What about the Postal Bill?
Mr BARTON - Is this my speech or that of the honorable member? I repeat that when I moved the second reading of this Bill I did so holding the principles laid down in that minute, to which principles I mean to adhere. I intimated all along to everybody who spoke to me on this matter - and it must have gone round the House - that I did not intend to speak upon the amendment until the honorable member for Bland had actually moved it, and had allowed me an opportunity of hearing his reasons for submitting it. I have found no reasons in his speech which have not been adequately traversed in the references which I have already made. The concluding portion of the despatch to Lord Lamington, to which I referred, was -
I earnestly trust that your Government will give the arguments set forth above their most careful consideration, and that they will either agree to leaving in abeyance the present Bill, or substitute for it another not containing a provision to which Baa Majesty's Government feel bound to take exception on grounds both of principle and policy.
I will say no more than this as to those papers. In answer to a question the other day I told the honorable member for Kennedy that I did not think there was any other paper which I thought I ought to lay on the table of the House and have printed. I am free to say that again ; but lest there should be any lingering feeling in the mind of any honorable member that I am keeping something back, I will say that while there has been a communication made to another Government, which I am not at liberty to disclose, I am bound to give the House the information that it only accentuates and puts more emphatically the grounds which have actuated the Imperial Government in taking up the attitude which they have adopted. If I were to lay the document before the House, I could found no further argument on it, except on account of its being more emphatic ; and, therefore, there is no need for me to say anything more about it.
Mr Reid - Is it in reference to this matter ?
Mr BARTON - Yes ; and I should be only too glad if I were able to show it to the right honorable and learned member.
Mr Reid - Is it addressed to the Governor of Queensland ?
Mr BARTON - Yes.
Mr Higgins - Is there- anything in the Governor-General's instructions as to the reservation of Bills ?
Mi1. BARTON. - I have already gone over that ground, and mentioned that the instructions of 1892 contained a category of the subjects on which Bills should be reserved.
Higgins. - I am asking as to the