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Wednesday, 6 December 1905

Mr JOHNSON (Lang) - I feel that I have been placed in a very peculiar position bv reason of the amendments which have been effected in this clause. It seems to me that they have destroyed the whole purpose underlying the alteration of existing legislation. This Bill, I understand, was introduced primarily to meet the objections of the Japanese to the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Act. The idea was that we could attain the same ends by means of a much less objectionable method - by the adoption of a treaty between the two countries. Now, however, it appears that whilst the objections of the Japanese have been technically removed, the effect of the latter portion of the Bill is to nullify the former. Whatever the intentions of the Prime Minister mav have been, they have been frustrated. Under these circumstances, I find it difficult to decide how I should vote. The original aim of the Government has been thwarted by the adoption ofam amendment which will certainly make us appear a laughing-stock - if they do not regard the matter from a serious stand-point - in the eyes of the Japanese. For the present,. I shall content myself with listening to further arguments on the question witha view to determining how I should vote under these peculiar conditions.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 -

After section four of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted : - " 4A. - (1) If the Minister notifies by notice in the Gazette that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country regulating the admission to the Commonwealth of the subjects or citizens of that country, the subjects or citizens of that country shall not, while the notice continues to have effect, be required to pass the dictation test. " (2) The Minister shall not issue any such notice until the expiration of one month after copies of the arrangement to which it refers have been laid before both Houses of the Parliament. " (3) Any such notice shall cease to have effect upon the Minister notifying, by notice in the Gazette, that it is cancelled. 4b. - (1) Any person who has resided in Australia for a period or periods in the aggregate of not less than five years, and who is about to depart from the Commonwealth, may in manner prescribed apply to an officer authorized in that behalf for a certificate in the prescribed form excepting him, if he returns to the Commonwealth within the period limited in the certificate, from the provisions of paragraph a of section three of this Act. " (2) The officer may in his discretion give the certificate on payment of the prescribed fee, or, without assigning any reason, withhold it. " (3) Where the Minister is satisfied that a certificate given under this section has been obtained by any untrue statement of fact or intention, the Minister may revoke the certificate, which shall thereupon be taken to be of no effect, and shall on demand be delivered up. to the Minister. " (4) A person to whom a certificate under this section has been issued (which certificate has not been revoked) shall not, on his return to the Commonwealth within the time limited by the certificate, if he produces and delivers the certificate to an officer, be required to pass the dictation test."

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