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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6329


Mr MCDONALD (Kennedy) - I regret very much that this Bill has been introduced, especially as we are so near to the close of the session. In view of the discussion which took place in 1901, when the original Immigration Restriction Act was introduced, I can only regard the measure from beginning to end as practically a piece, of hypocrisy. I have always regretted that one of the most vital matters of policy affecting the future of Australia should be based on hypocrisy. I am not blaming the Government for that any more than. I blame those who voted for the section imposing the education test. But it struck me that, though we intended to impose a law to keep out Asiatics, we had not the moral courage tol say exactly what we meant. I remember hearing the right honorable member for East Sydney taunt the then Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, with being so docile and meek that he was practically under the thumb of Mr. Chamberlain. He alleged that whatever the then Colonic 1 Secretary desired, Sir Edmund Barton was prepared to say, " Yes, Mr. Chamberlain." Indeed, a considerable portion of the debate turned upon the point that we were not in a position to legislate upon this subject as we might desire, but had to accept a certain amount of dictation from the Imperial Government. I wish to know whether we are in the same position now, and whether we are still prepared to accept dictation from the Imperial Government. This may be but a small matter, and some honorable members may regard it as a means of coming into line with the necessities of British politics. But, no matter how trifling it mav appear for the moment to be. it may ultimately turn out to be a very important matter of principle. We ought at all times to guard our rights, and shoulder our responsibilities, in connexion with any legislation that we may i:ass. Are we not aware that the Japanese have known all along that our intention in imposing the education test was to keep them and other Asiatics out of Australia? Does any one mean to suggest that they are not sufficiently intelligent to know that, although we alter the terms of the Immigration Restriction Act, the amending measure will be so administered as still to keep them out? Under the circumstances, I claim that we ought to directly exclude coloured aliens. I believe that up to the present time, the Act has not been administered in such a way as to give effect to our original intentions. That Statute conferred upon the Government of the day. power to entirely exclude these undesirable immigrants.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member's leader has said that the Act has effected all that it was designed to accomplish.


Mr MCDONALD - I am not concerned with what my leader may have said. No doubt if the honorable member for Parramatta will follow him, he will be very pleased to welcome him as a new' convert. The present law has not effectually excluded coloured Asiatics. Under the Bill as it was originally drafted, there was ample power to effect that object, had its provisions been properly administered. I do not know how many coloured Asiatics have been admitted to Australia under various Administrations, but I do know that if the law had been administered in accordance with our intentions, a large number of those who have been admitted would have been excluded. According to the latest return, the total number admittedto the Commonwealth since the Act was passed, is 7,026.


Mr Deakin - How many of those have left?


Mr MCDONALD - I do not know. The latest return, which was published in the newspapers only yesterday, shows that more coloured aliens have been admitted to Queensland than were admitted to that State prior to the enactment of this legislation. Then again, the number of permits issued to Chinese entering Australia is simply enormous. I make bold to say that there is not a nation under heaven in which - judging from the number of Chinese who leave Australia - so many are able to take trips abroad. Upon all hands it is recognised that many of these permits are frauds,, and yet the States are still allowed to issue them.


Mr Deakin - Not now'.


Mr McDONALD - I am very pleased to hear that. Last year, out of the small number of Chinese in Australia - some 20,000 odd - there were no less than 847 who could afford to take trips abroad: That is an enormous percentage, and evidences that there must be a leakage somewhere. In addition, the coloured aliens admitted to the Commonwealth during the period, included 9 Cingalese, 54 Philippinos, 64 Hindoos, and 461 Japanese.


Mr McWilliams - What education test was applied to them ?


Mr McDONALD - That is what I wish to know.


Mr Deakin - Out of the 461 Japanese, 419 were engaged in pearling operations They simply landed, signed on, and then went to their boats.


Mr McDONALD - Nearly every issue of the Torres Straits Pearler contains an announcement of a reward for the apprehension of certain Japanese who have left their indentured masters. They get from the pearling vessels to the mainland, and are then at libertyto travel throughout the States. . I would further point out that when the master of a vessel who allows coloured aliens to be introduced into Aus- tralia is hauled before the Court, he is often fined only£2 or£3. These undesirables are perfectly prepared to pay that amount.


Mr Watkins - The captain may owe them twice that amount in wages.


Mr McDONALD - A number of alien immigrants have secured admission in that way. Under these circumstances I think it is idle - especially at this late stage of the session-


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it a late stage ?


Mr McDONALD - It is generally expected that the session will close next week.


Mr Watkins - Is that intimation official ?


Mr McDONALD - It is what I have been led to believe. I do not know whether it is official. I claim that this matter should have received more consideration. I am opposed to the Bill, and. accordingly, I shall vote against its second reading.







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