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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6369

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - The proposal of the honorable and learned member opens up a very serious question. The great majority of the Chinesein Australia are males. Very few of them have their wives with them, and the majority do not desire to introduce them into Australia, but prefer to visit China every few years. Since the Act has been in force, however, they have sought to take advantage of the paragraph referred to by bringing in their wives and children. They introduced them in such numbers that it became necessary to suspend the operation of the paragraph by proclamation. If this course had not been adopted, the whole object of the Act would have been defeated, and numbers of Chinamen would have been encouraged to depart from their habit of retaining their families in China. I admit that the case mentioned by the honorable and learned member for Angas is deserving of reasonable consideration, and I promise him that if he brings it under my notice I shall do everything I can to remove any hardship that may have been inflicted upon the official in question.

Mr Glynn - I should be quite satisfied if such cases were met.

Mr DEAKIN - If we were to throw open the door to an influx of Chinese women and children we should reverse the policy of the Act and undo all the good we have accomplished.

Mr. LONSDALE(New England).Some time ago, I brought under the attention ot the authorities a case somewhat similar to that mentioned by the honorable and learned member for Angas. A Chinaman in my electorate, who is in a large way of business, and who has been resident in the Commonwealth for twenty years, lost his wife, and went to China in order to marry again. He desired to bring his wife with him on his return, but he was prevented from doing so. It appears to me that we should be moved by some of the finer feelings when dealing with cases of this kind - that our laws should be relaxed1 to a certain extent in such cases. We do not want the Chinese to marry our white women.

Mr Deakin - No, we want them to go back to China and marry there.

Mr LONSDALE - The man to whom I refer is practically one of our own citizens. He is highly respected, and I do not think that we should treat him as if he were a criminal.

Mr. GLYNN(Angas). - I am quite satisfied with the assurance of the Prime Minister - which evidently meets with the approval of the Committee - that exceptional cases will be fairly dealt with.

Mr Deakin - I do not mind doing that, because we shall be able to deal with cases of hardship now, and we shall then be done with them for ever.

Mr GLYNN - I do not wish to diminish the number of eligible bachelors in the Northern Territory, and consequently I shall not press my amendment.

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