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Wednesday, 6 December 1905


Mr KNOX (Kooyong) - I am as desirous as is any honorable member to preserve the purity of our race - if a mixed race like the Anglo-Saxon can be termed' pure - and to maintain the conditions which are understood by the term " a White Australia." I regard the Bill, however, as an attempt in the right direction, to deal with a problem which every .year will become more difficult, and more an international question. It is idle to suppose that the Japanese who are so rapidly pushing their way to the first rank among the nations of the world, will allow themselves for many years longer to be kept out of Australia by a hypocritical measure, such as we now have in force. The Prime Minister is proposing what he can to meet the present conditions, though ultimately we must do something more than is provided1 for by the Bill. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney spoke about the people of Japan knocking at our door, and demanding admission. If it were not for the .'alliance between Great Britain and Japan, we might regard the nearness of Japan to Australia as a very great danger, deserving the most serious consideration. But are we. under the circumstances, justified in assuming a confident attitude? Is it to be imagined that the 4,000,000 people who are scattered over this great continent could effectively resist the Japanese if they chose to attack, us, and we were unsupported by Great Britain? The supposition is so absurd that the statesmen of Japan who read the speeches of some honorable members will regard them as ludicrous. We can maintain our present position only with the help of Great Britain, and Japan, in the years to come, will not allow us to continue to hold an enormous unoccupied territory if her own country becomes overcrowded. The time will come when, treaty or no treaty, the Japanese will demand from us the some consideration that we extend to other civilized races. They, have shown readiness to adapt themselves to the conditions of Western civilization, and conducted themselves with the utmost humanity during the terrible war in which they were engaged with Russia. It is ludicrous for honorable members to attempt to belittle a people who, by sheer force of their virtues., have attained an exalted position among the nations. How could we effectively resist the Japanese if they thought fit to attack us?


Mr McDonald - Does the honorable member mean to imply that we are a lot of curs ?


Mr KNOX - No ; but I do not consider that any man is exhibiting courage when he declares that he will fight singlehanded against twenty or thirty men armed with the most effective weapons.


Mr McDonald - According to the honorable member, Japan would have to bring 2,000,000 men here.


Mr KNOX - The honorable member knows very well that it would be impossible to concentrate in any one part of the Commonwealth' a number of armed men sufficient to resist an attack by a force such as the Japanese were able to launch against the Russians, In . order to render our position secure, we should1 encourage by every means in our power settlement by people of our own race upon the broad lands of the Commonwealth. It is" absurd for honorable members to raise all sorts of objections to the introduction of suitable immigrants. Legislation such as that now under our consideration cannot be regarded as anything more than a temporary expedient. We should bring into this country not only Britishers, but Germans, Frenchmen, and Italians. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of land which could be profitably occupied by people of a virile race like ourselves, and it is only by encouraging such settlement that we can hope to safeguard ourselves against aggression. I desire to see a White Australia ; but I ask whether we are to allow our own people to lose their virility by engaging in laborious operations in the tropical parts of Australia. Unless we turn our resources to profitable account, the Japanese will tell us that the earth was made for them as well as for ourselves, and that if we will not utilize our tropical lands, and our great natural resources, they will utilize them. I think that the Prime Minister deserves the support of honorable members, on this side of the House, because he is dosing the best he can to meet a. difficult situation. I would impress upon honorable members, however, that if we continue to allow our vast areas of rich lands in the tropics to lie idle and undeveloped, we shall have to justify ourselves in the eyes of the world.







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