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Thursday, 7 December 1905
Page: 6524

Mr STORRER (Bass) - I am prepared to allow any British subject to enter Australia, so long as he subscribes to conditions similar to those which obtain here. Therefore,- 1 shall support the amendment of the honorable member for North Sydney. Whilst Australians are permitted to open businesses in London without any let or hindrance, we ought to allow residents of the United Kingdom to enter the Commonwealth free from any restrictions. I know men who are working in England today, and who are receiving just as good wages as they can obtain in Australia.

Mr Hutchison - The honorable member would allow contract labourers to be introduced here, whilst there are plenty of our own men idle.

Mr STORRER - That interjection shows that the honorable member does not understand the proposal. It appears to me that some honorable members wish to thrust their opinions down the throats of others. I have an opinion of my own, however, and I intend to exercise it.

Mr. TUDOR(Yarra).' - Honorable members opposite have emphasized the fact that they desire to extend a preference to Britishers. I wish to grant a preference to those who are already here. The amendment of the honorable member for North Sydney would allow contract immigrants to be imported, whilst an unlimited number .of equally skilled Australians were idle. I do not think that anybody desires that.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Employers would not advance men their passage money and incur the risks which they would be required to incur under those circumstances.

Mr Frazer - Contract immigrants are always required to refund their passage money.

Mr TUDOR - That is so. I have never known a case in which they were not compelled to do so. '

Mr Watkins - I know of a case in which men who were brought to the Newcastle district under contract are not working half-time.

Mr TUDOR - I . do not think that we ought to give Britishers any preference over Australians.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not proposed that we should do so.

Mr TUDOR - It is. The honorable member must see that under the amendment the Minister would not need' to be satisRed that an employer experienced a difficulty in obtaining a worker of equal skill and ability in the Commonwealth, to sanc tion the admission of contract immigrants. Although there might be any number of m-Pi idle in Australia who were equally skilled with the contract immigrants, the letter could be brought in under this amendment.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I say that they would not- be brought in.

Mr TUDOR - My point is that they could be. Surely we are not prepared to say to Australian workers, " Because you have had the misfortune to be born here, a preference is to be given to other workers, whose skill is not superior to your own. You are not to have a chance, but must walk the streets while other men are found employment." I trust that' the amendment will be altered, for I cannot vote for it in its present form". r am prepared to give Britishers a pre ference over other workers from abroad, but I think that our first consideration should be for Australians.

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