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- Start of Business
- PACIFIC ISLANDS LABOURERS BILL
Tuesday, 5 November 1901
Mr B EDWARDS (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The next speaker was Mr. Harrington, who, I understand, is the managing director of Walker's Foundry, Maryborough, and who probably knows the Wide Bay district as well as does any man. Walker's Foundry employs something like 700 men.
Mr Fisher - Not quite so many as that.
Mr R EDWARDS (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - At any rate, many hundreds of men are employed at the foundry from which the sugar plantations are supplied with machinery to the value of over £30,000 a year. The report continues -
Mr.W. F. Harrington, in moving the first resolution, said that Queenslanders were perfectly aware that sugar could not be grown without coloured labour, but the difficulty that beset them was to impart that knowledge to the southern people and the legislators in the Federal Parliament. No matter what facts and proofs they advanced they seemed to produce no effect on those persons, who regarded it as a foregone conclusion that the kanaka must go. If they would only come and see for themselves, or appoint a Royal commission, the people of Queensland would be satisfied. Thepresshadbeen teeming with most impressive and convincing evidence, and yet they seemed to be in no more hopeful position now than when Mr. Barton delivered his Maitland speech. He thoroughly agreed with Mr. Hives that, if necessary, they must approach the Imperial authorities as a last resort to save the industry from extinction. If a united appeal were made, he felt sure Mr. Chamberlain would not turn a deaf ear to it. The Federal Government should have left the kanaka question in the State Government's hands to deal with. He was sure that Queensland would never have federated had she known that her sugar industry would be attacked in this ruthless manner. He moved - " That this chamber, in a most emphatic manner, protests against the Pacific Island Labourers Bill, now before the Federal Parliament, as, if carried into law, a cruel injustice will be inflicted on the sugar industry, and irreparable loss sustained by those engaged therein. They strongly urge that a Royal commission be appointed to inquire into the whole of the conditions of the sugar industry, prior to any legislation being enacted in connexion with the employment of Polynesian labour therewith. Failing the appointment of a Royal commission, this chamber urges an extension of the recruiting of islanders for at least seven years."
Mr McDONALD (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) - I rise to a point of order. I do not desire to interrupt the honorable member, but we have had such a number of these newspaper reports read to us that I think we should return to some form of order. Standing Orders 267 and 268 bear upon this matter, and provide that no honorable members shall read extracts from newspapers or other documents referring to debates in the House during the same session. These newspaper reports are pure comments upon the Bill which is now before the House, and upon the debates which have taken place in connexion with it.