Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 13 December 1905


Mr SPEAKER - Does the honorable member connect these matters with the Bill?


Mr HUTCHISON - Yes. My point is that if we deport the kanakas we shall not do away with the coloured labour evil - the coloured labour that will be substituted will be no great improvement.


Mr Bamford - It will be worse.


Mr HUTCHISON - That is what some of the planters told us. They asked us why we did not get rid of the Hindoos and the Chinese, who were worse than the kanakas. I asked the magistrate previously referred to whether he had many cases of the kind described. He told me that he had been in the district three years, and had been called upon to deal with only forty of such cases. I expressed the opinion that that was a fairly big record, and he told me that far more offences were committed by whites. He admitted, however, that they were not of the character I have been describing. He admitted, further, that many of the parents of children who were molested would not give information to the police, on account of the stigma that would attach to their children if the cases were made public. He asked what we could expect, in view of the fact that the kanakas came to Queensland, as did the Hindoos and Chinese, without their wives. He asked us what we could expect to happen if a regiment of soldiers were stationed in the district without their wives. The treatment to which the kanakas are subjected is bad enough ; but I wish to direct the attention "of honorable members to the statements of Dr. Maxwell with regard to the treatment of white labourers on the plantations. He says -

He found the living and sleeping conditions arranged for white labourers in a really shocking state in many instances. The house provisions were inadequate, and in many cases the men had to sleep where they could. Where there was, sufficient house accommodation we found 40. and 50 men sleeping on canetops or bagasse, which very soon filled the whole place with vermin and uncleanliness.

Is it a matter for wonder that the planters cannot secure white labourers to work in the cane-fields when such conditions prevail ? One man told us that he had been in the employment of one of the leading planters in the Bundaberg district, who was reported on good authority to have made a profit of £30,000 or £35,000 during the previous season. According to this labourer's statement, he, along with fifteen others, had had to live in a room 12 feet by 14 feet. The rations served out to the men did not include potatoes, which are almost a necessity to workers on the cane-fields. I do not know that the men were provided with any meat at all - at any rate, the quantity was very small. They were provided with trashy tea., sweetened with the refuse of the sugar. Yet the planters wonder why they cannot get reliable white workers. I was introduced to one planter, who had in his employment three boys from Townsville. They were the sons of poor people, and their ages ranged between sixteen and eighteen years. They were receiving 5s. per week, and had to work from early morning until late in the evening.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What does all this go to show?


Mr HUTCHISON - It accounts for the difficulty experienced in obtaining white labour. The honorable member for Bland can bear me out when I say that we found able-bodied men working for 12s. 6d. per week and their keep.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Have the men no unions up there?


Mr HUTCHISON - They had not at the time, but I am glad to say that the sugar-workers have since formed a union ; and I feel proud of the fact that they have elected me as an honorary member. I am sure that the honorable and learned member for Parkes does not approve of conditions such as I have been describihg. We found that the average wages for ploughmen were 25s. per week and their keep, and that £1 per week was the ordinary wage for other workers. In some exceptional cases the men were paid 30s. per week. When the men were sick, or could not work on account of wet weather, their wages were docked in proportion to the time they were idle. I asked the manager of one of the largest plantations, who told me that he could not obtain white labour, what he had done in that direction. He honestly admitted that he had done nothing, because black labour was available, and he had not bothered about getting white labourers. I asked him if it were true that 25s. per week and keep was the average wage for workers in the cane-fields of the North of Queensland, and he replied " Yes. " I then said, " If I were out of work, and were physically qualified to work on the plantations, under the conditions I have quoted, and you were to offer me the wages which you are now paying, I would turn round to you and say,' Mr. Robinson, I will see you damned first.' " I asked him if that would not be his answer to me if the positions were reversed, and he replied "Yes."

Then, again, Mr. Shannon, of Mackay, one of the most reputable gentlemen whom we met during our trip, told me that there were planters there who declared that they would not employ white labour. They would rather let the industry perish than part with kanaka labour. These are the class of individuals to whom we are asked to extend a protection of £2 per ton. I am very sorry that I have not the power to move an amendment which would have the effect of placing the black planters upon the same footing as is the black planter outside of Australia.


Mr Poynton - Cannot the honorable member move an amendment in the Sugar Excise Bill ?


Mr HUTCHISON - I should like to equalize the Excise and the import duties. If we are compelled to use sugar produced by black labour, I want to buy the sugar which is produced at the cheapest price. I am sorry that the Government have not seen fit to adopt the course which I have suggested. They maintain that the bounty is being paid for the purpose of maintaining a White Australia. Will it have that effect? Undoubtedly it will not.

Mr.Lee. - Not if the workers in the northern portions of Queensland are to be treated in the way that the honorable member has described.


Mr HUTCHISON - That treatment will continue. The Hindoo, I admit, is a little better paid than the kanakas. Whilst the planters will pay white men only£1 per week, time-expired kanakas are receiving 15s. per week in addition to medical attendance, and are being employed the whole year.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member think that the payment of a bounty to sugar produced by white labour will assist to keep the blacks here?


Mr HUTCHISON - No. It is the protection which we extend to the industry under the Tariff that is keeping them here. I should have liked to move that the Excise duty be made the same as the import duty, and' that the bounty be increased to £5.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why is the honorable member prevented from moving an amendment ?


Mr HUTCHISON - The Sugar Excise Bill is a money Bill, and, though an honorable member is at liberty to move for a reduction of the duty, he cannot move in the direction of increasing it. I admit that it is necessary to raise some revenue from sugar. If we cannot secure revenue from direct taxation, we must raise it by indirect means. I find that the duty upon imported sugar in 1902-3 was£502,93i, and that the Excise upon Australian sugar during the same period was £277,517, or, a total of £780,448 upon 176,328 tons.' But in 1905 the duty collected upon 29,174 tons of imported sugar was £174,884, whilst the excise paid was £453,627, or a total of £628,511. ' The loss of revenue sustained between those years was £151,937- We cannot afford to make losses of that description, unless they are made up in some other direction. Either we must ' compel the States to increase their land taxation or we must devise some means of increasing the Customs revenue. I would further point out that, whereas in 1902 the bounty paid was £60,826, it had increased to £121,408 in 1904.


Mr Bamford - That is an argument in favour of the increase of white growers.


Mr HUTCHISON - Undoubtedly. But, unfortunately, the legislation which is now proposed will not increase the number of white growers to any appreciable extent in the more northern districts. When the parliamentary party , visited the Cairns district, a deputation waited upon us, at which the principal speaker was. Mr. A. J. Draper, the chairman of directors of the Mulgrave Central Mill, and these are the words which he addressed to us: - "To hell with your legislation"; and he uttered them most energetically. He continued - "We want no protection, and no bonus. Give us free labour, and we will compete against the world." I should like to have taken him at his word.


Mr Bamford - Now he has registered as a white grower.


Mr HUTCHISON - That fact serves to show that the Government are unwise in submitting these proposals. The planters of Queensland are likely, to obtain all the coloured labour that they require for many years.


Mr Wilson - The Chinese growers are increasing by leaps and bounds.


Mr HUTCHISON - Even if they are not, the tendency in all the States is to pass legislation which will have the effect of driving the Chinese out of the furniture and other trades. When that result has been accomplished, they will undoubtedly drift to the plantations of Northern Queensland.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable member advocate driving them out of the furniture trade?


Mr HUTCHISON - Certainly I do, because they are not only competing unfairly with' the white workers, but they are evading all the laws which have been enacted for the protection of the latter. I believe in the Chinamen and the kanaka living under as happy conditions as do the white workers. It was the worst thing that ever happened to the kanaka when he was taken from his island home.


Mr Wilson - The honorable member would prefer to have the Chinaman die of slow starvation.


Mr HUTCHISON - No; I would feed him well. I would say to him - "If you wish to see what our country is like, I am willing to extend to you the right hand of fellowship, and I expect you to do the same to me if I desire to visit your country."


Mr Henry Willis - Is that what was done in the case of the six hatters?


Mr HUTCHISON - In spite of the fact that it is against the law of Queensland to introduce kanakas, except by owners, of land for the purpose of engaging in tropical agriculture, Mr. Draper and his codirectors imported a large number of them. They had no intention whatever of employing these men in tropical agriculture, as they were not land-owners, and thev actually said to the white growers of cane: " Before we will allow you to register for the bonus, you must pay the cost of importing these kanakas^." The kanaka is engaged in a hundred occupations which are against the law of the land. That will continue to be the position, as long as we have the black men there. I found that but little attempt had been made to substitute white for coloured labour. When I asked individual planters what they had done, I was informed by some of them that they had done nothing, while others said that they had advertised in the local newspapers, but had found that white labour was not available. I cannot understand why thev should expect to find white labour available in that part of Queensland, when they have not got rid of even one kanaka.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then the honorable member thinks that the policy we have adopted has failed?


Mr HUTCHISON - It has practically failed, and that which we are now proposing will also fail in its object. If we pass this Bill we shall find five years hence that something still remains to be done. I believe that, when- the kanakas leave us, there will not be the slightest difficulty in obtaining all the white labour required for the cane-fields of the Commonwealth, provided that the planters go the right way to work. When another measure was under discussion, I pointed out that the Chillagoe Company advertised for 700 men at the moderate wage of 6s. per day, and had not the slightest difficulty in obtaining them. I do not think that 63. a day is a very high wage, because the work which the men have to do for the company is much harder than that which those employed in the cane-fields have to do. Whan the planters have got rid of the kanakas, and are willing to pay white men a fair wage, they will have no difficulty in finding all the white labour they require.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Did the men required by the Chillagoe Company receive 6s. per day and their keep?


Mr HUTCHISON - No; and yet the company could have secured thousands more than they wanted; thousands of men went there in search of work. I believe that thousands will go to tr"» cane-fields when reasonable wages are offered, because the employment there is far more pleasant than the work at Chillagoe. Some of the men whom I saw on the occasion of the parliamentary visit to Queensland said that they had worked as navvies on railway lines, and also on the cane-fields^, and they were determined to remain on the latter.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - When was the honorable member there?


Mr HUTCHISON - At the best part of the year ; but I conversed with those who, for a very long time, had worked all the year round. Since my return I have received several extracts from North Queensland newspapers, which will be of interest to honorable members. The foi-, lowing is from the Townsville Herald, of June last : -

Yesterday morning three men waited upon the Townsville Police Magistrate, Mr. J. A. Boyce, with a request that he would devise some means of putting them in communication with any cultivators of sugar-cane who might be in want of white labourers for the approaching harvesting season. They stated to his Worship that several gangs of men could be formed in Townsville ready to engage in such work and to go wherever they might be wanted. Mr. Boyce, in reply, promised to make the men's statement known as widely as possible, and in the meantime advised them to make application for work such as they desired to the local Superintendent of the Government Labour Bureau.

Here were three men, who, with gangs of others, were anxious to work in the canefields, but unable to learn of any planter who required white labour. The next paragraph sent to me is from the Planter. and it is of still greater importance. It is headed - "Available White Labour," and it set forth that Mr. Lacaze, whose hospitality I had the pleasure of accepting has shown us a copy of a communication received by the local Police Magistrate from Mr. Young, of the Townsville Labour Bureau, in which is stated that there is plenty of white labour available in Townsville. Any one in want of labourers should communicate at once with Mr. Young. Mr. Lacaze assures us that eleven men procured by him through this source are giving the utmost satisfaction.

Mr. Lacazeis a successful planter, who has h'ad experience in Mauritius. He introduced' us to his white workers, and stood aside whilst we conversed with them. They told us that they were thoroughly satisfied with their treatment, and that it was 'a pleasure to work in the cane-fields. Then, in a telegraphic message from Brisbane, dated nth July, it- was stated! that-

Mr. G.Barber, M.L.A., has returned from the Bundaberg sugar district, and states that the opening of the various mills is tending to absorb most of the unemployed labour, although it looks as if some men will not get places.


Mr Wilson - That is further south.


Mr HUTCHISON - That is so. The kanakas are available in the north, and, therefore, the planters there do not want white labour. According to a telegram from Brisbane, dated 15th June, and published in an Adelaide newspaper -

The Treasurer states that inquiries made as to the supply of labour for the cane-crushing season go to show that it is more than likely that there will be plenty of men available locally. In one or two cases mills have commenced to crush with the full complement of men. In many districts men were waiting in camp a month ago for the season to start.

I think that shows that there will not be much difficulty in obtaining men for the cane-fields of Queensland, if the planters go the right way to work. We saw white gangs doing well in the Isis district, where 60 per cent, of the cane was harvested by white labour.


Mr Bamford -I could show the honorable member where 80 per cent. is grown and harvested by white labour.


Mr HUTCHISON - Quite so. I am satisfied that the remaining 40 per cent. would have been harvested in the same way but for the fact that some of the growers were opposed to white labour. Although the men received only 3s. 4d. per ton for cutting and loading - and that was the lowest price paid in Queensland - they earned £1 18s. per week, plus their rations and camp utensils. Reasonable wages were offered, and the planters found no difficultyin obtaining white men to do the work.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In what latitude was this ?


Mr HUTCHISON - In the southern districts of Queensland. An experienced gang made £2 7s. per week, after deducting the cost of their rations. In the district represented by the honorable member for Herbert, we saw a white gang at work, and I never wish to meet a finer lot of fellows. The manager of the plantation blew a whistle, and the whole of the men paraded before the parliamentary party. They told us they were doing well; that they had no sickness ; that they liked the work, and that they were making 35s. per week, after paying for first-class "tucker."


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was down south ?


Mr HUTCHISON - It was in the tropical part of Queensland. They earned 35s. per week, after allowing for loss of time in respect of bad weather.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How does the honorable member account for the disparity in the wages paid there?


Mr HUTCHISON - Just as I account for the disparity in the wages paid in the various cities. There are good and bad employers in Northern Queensland, just as there are in other parts of the Commonwealth.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - How does the honorable member account for men working for 12s. per week, when others can earn 25s. per week?.


Mr HUTCHISON - As a rule, those who work for 12s. 6d.per week are miserable individuals, so far as their mental capacity is concerned.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then, perhaps, the wage of 12s. per week in the cases to which the honorable member has referred, represented the true value of the labour?


Mr HUTCHISON - No. The man receiving 12s. 6d. per week was strong, and was admitted by his employer to be a hardworking fellow, whilst the three lads were strapping boys. At the Burdekin, I found that Mr. Gibson's men were averaging £2 17s. per week, whilst Mr. Noack said that his men averaged £3 per week. He had a very heavy crop, and cheerfully paid that wage. As bearing on the value of white as against coloured labour, I wish to read the following letter addressed by Mr. F. Holmes, of the Proserpine, to a conference - " In 1898 I had Chinamen cutting my cane, the cropaveraging about 37 tons to the acre, and they averaged one ton of cane per day, that was cutting and loading. In 1900 I had kanakas in a 20-ton to the acre crop, and they averaged1 ton 7 cwt. per man per day. In 1903 I had white men cutting and loading a 21 ton to the acre crop, and they averaged three tons each man per day. From this it will be seen that one white man was equal to two kanakas, or three Chinamen." Evidence as to the efficiency of white labour could be multiplied, but it is needless.

And yet a kanaka receives 15s. per week, together with his keep and medical attendance ! Kanakas are kept in employment all the year round, whilst white men receive only 25s. or£1 per week. Is it any wonder that white men cannot be obtained in some of the sugar-growing districts? When they are treated as human beings there will be no difficulty in securing their services.


Mr Bamford - The position is improving.


Mr HUTCHISON - Certainly, but no improvement has taken place in the quarters occupied by the Chinese. I am astounded that a Christian community should tolerate such quarters as we saw the Chinese occupying in Queensland.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I felt the same in regard to Sussex-street, Sydney.


Mr HUTCHISON - I know that the street to which the honorable and learned member refers was in a bad state.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But I do not believe in attributing all these faults to an Eastern people, when some of our own countrymen are as bad.


Mr HUTCHISON - I have never seen white men living in quarters so bad as are those occupied by some of the Chinese whom we saw in Queensland, nor have I known them to gamble and smoke opium in the way that the Chinese in the worst parts of Melbourne, Sydney, and other

States capitals do. I was disgusted to find that a large proportion of the storekeeping trade in Queensland was in the hands of aliens. Surely it cannot be denied that our own countrymen are capable of conducting such a business. We have heard a great deal about the climate.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is a free-trader?


Mr HUTCHISON - No; 1 am an out-and-out protectionist, but I would i.ot protect articles of food used by the poor which cannot be produced here. It is said that owing to the climate white men are incapable of working in the cane-fields of Northern Queensland. During the parliamentary tour, I attended several dances in the north, and I have never seen a healthier looking lot of young ladies than assembled at those gatherings. Then again, the gentlemen who attended the banquets and dinners to which we were invited would compare with those living in any other part of the Commonwealth. Dr. McDonald, of Geraldton, who has had many years' experience of life in Northern Queensland, says that - the climate of North Queensland, correctly understood and intelligently handled, is not only the best, but absolutely the very best climate in the whole round world. . . . What has given rise to opinions freely expressed at times in political quarters and in the southern press that here in North Queensland the pioneers of an Australian Empire yet to be are doomed to toil in a tropical hell? An earthly paradise were surely nearer the mark. . . . It is not the climatic conditions, not the heat, moisture, nor peculiarity of sun rays, that sap the life of the men and women and children in tropical countries. The very conditions which favour biological development generally of what we may term useful plants and animals bring into existence also, and cultivate with the usual tropical munificence, the whole breed of parasites, great and small, which lie at the root of tropical disease.

Dr. Lloyd,of Mackay, who seems to be a great friend of the sugar-growers who employ coloured labour, asserts that the white race degenerates in the tropics.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And yet the honorable member desires that Europeans shall be employed there.


Mr HUTCHISON - The conditions under which, according to Dr. Lloyd, the degeneration, has taken place can be altered. I saw no signs of degeneracy.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Degeneracy is not brought about in one generation.


Mr HUTCHISON - Even in. England the race is degenerating. That is shown by the physique of those who offer themselves as' recruits for the army.


Mr Robinson - A Royal Commission, appointed to inquire into that alleged degeneration, said that there is no evidence of it.


Mr HUTCHISON - Half of those who offer as recruits have to be rejected, and many of those who are accepted have to be fed up and specially treated.


Mr Robinson - Good men do not offer themselves.


Mr HUTCHISON - During the Boer war, good, bad, and indifferent men could be obtained; but the experience of the Army authorities was the same then.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member makes his deductions from too little data, or too hurriedly.


Mr HUTCHISON - If it were in. order to go into the matter, I could show that that is not so. This is what Dr. Lloyd says -

Children whose parents have the means to house, feed, and clothe them adequately suffer little by comparison with those of the -poorer class. . . The houses are generally built of wood, often of iron. Few of those belonging to the poorer farmers or labouring men are ceiled, and in the greater part of the day they are little less than ovens.

Is it any wonder that the race is deteriorating under those conditions, and that white persons would be ill-advised to go to work there? I should not advise any working man to take his family to Queensland unless he were provided with a house fit to live in.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member speaks as if the workmen were children, and had to be washed and dressed and put to bed. Why do they not provide these things for themselves?


Mr HUTCHISON - Because they have not the wherewithal. I did not find any one living in a poor house who would not like to live in a better one.


Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member also spoke of men living under insanitary conditions. Every man can live healthily if he chooses to do so.


Mr HUTCHISON - The only accommodation provided for the men at one Queensland Central Mill was a room, in which fifty of them slept on cane tops and bagasse, which could not be kept free from vermin. I am glad to say that the Queensland Government have determined that this sort of thing shall not continue, and that Dr. Maxwell has been given authority to effect an alteration. The men themselves could do nothing. Hindoos, Chinamen, and Japanese are going to be a greater curse to Queensland than are the kanakas, and the employers of kanakas there asked us why we did not pass the same restrictive legislation in respect to other aliens as we have passed in regard to kanakas. The answer is that the kanakas are labourers who were indented under certain conditions, whereas the other aliens in Queensland have been permitted to come here unconditionally, and to exercise the right of citizens which we enjoy. I am not going to break that compact. I would be the last to say that we should drive out the Hindoos and Chinese, when they have been allowed to come in here as free men. The kanakas, however,, have been allowed in only under certain conditions. Some of the planters told us that if we got rid of the kanakas they would hand over their land to Hindoos and Chinese in preference to white men, and we saw a planta-tion of 6,000 acres which had been so handed over to Chinese, although white men had applied for it. My authority for that statement is a member of the Queensland Parliament, who is a sugargrower, and was anxious to obtain part of that land, though he did not apply for it; but he gave me the name of a gentleman who did apply for some of it, and was refused, being told by those who held it, " We prefer to give it to the Chinamen. " I am glad that there is a clause in the Bill preventing coloured persons from taking advantage of the bounty. But the measure will do very little to bring about a White Australia, so long as there are large areas of land in the hands of bitter opponents of that policy. The tendency is to impose oppressive conditions on the coloured: workers engaged in different occupations in the cities, and this is having the effect of driving them to Northern Queensland!, where they are doing well. But to secure that object we must do more than is proposed in the Bill. As was hinted by the honorable member for Franklin, the cane-growers are practically in the hands of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, and it is useless to say that that company does not get part of the bounty, seeing that in six months it made £171,000 upon the sugar industry, after providing for the payment of interest and all other charges. Unless we do something with that company, the position of the sugar-grower will remain as bad as ever it was. If the business of refining sugar were in the hands of the Government, we should obtain sugar more cheaply, and the cane-growers would get better prices than they now receive. It is not satisfactory to know that in New South Wales the employers of black labour have increased from 115 in 1902 to 203 in the present year, while in Queensland they have increased from 975 to 1,100 in the same period. I admit that the employers of white labour have also increased - in New South Wales from 1,005 to 1,177, and in Queensland from 1,521 to 2,600 - _ but my main point is that the employers of coloured labour are increasing, and not decreasing, under our legislation. Clause 4 does something to remedy the neglect of the Queensland1 Government to perform its part in bringing about a White Australia, by preventing aliens from registering and claiming the bounty. I would, however, draw attention to the provision in respect to black labour unavoidably employed to save a crop. A stricter definition is required there.


Sir William Lyne - I am going to amend that provision to limit it to the saving of crops from fires or floods.


Mr HUTCHISON - The only other amendment I would like to see in the Bill would make the excise equal to the import duty ; but as that cannot be done now, I shall support the proposals of the Government. At the same time, I state clearly that, in my opinion, they will not accomplish the purpose for which they were introduced.


Mr Robinson - Would the honorable member support the application of a sliding scale?


Mr HUTCHISON - No. If at the end of five years we have not made a much greater advance towards securing a White Australia, I hope that legislation of a different kind will be introduced. A sliding scale would operate in favour of the employers of coloured labour.


Mr Robinson - How?


Mr HUTCHISON - If the employers of white labour could not carry on now without a bounty, thev will not be able to do so in the near future.


Mr Poynton - Then the bounty must be perpetual.


Mr HUTCHISON - No. I regard this legislation as a mistake, because it will not do what its framers wish to do.


Mr Knox - Yet the honorable member is going to vote for it.


Mr HUTCHISON - I have no alternative. The Bill will do something. If it is not passed, nothing will be done.


Mr Robinson - A sliding scale would bring the excise very near to the duty in time.


Mr HUTCHISON - It would not bring it up to the duty. If we desire to bring about a White Australia, no protection should be given to the employer of coloured labour. The Queensland Administration has been flouted in the past by the employment of coloured persons in occupations in which they were prohibited from engaging. Kanakas have beenemployed as coachmen and servants, and by so employing them the planters have systematically broken the law. While they have the coloured labour there, they will, as in the past, consistently break the law, and snap their fingers at the Government. I am glad that the Minister intends to allow aborigines to be employed. I would not do anything to interfere with the employment of the natives of the country of which we have taken possession. I have every sympathy with the cane-growers of Northern Queensland, who have shown a patriotic desire to carry out the wishes of the community, namely, that this Continent shall be- preserved as a home for the white races. Whilst there are many large landholders, who, backed up by that huge octopus, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, are bitterly opposed to the White Australia policy, and would have no hesitation in inflicting upon this fair country all the evils that have been introduced into South Africa and America-


Mr Harper - What does the honorable member know about the Colonial Sugar Refining Company?


Mr HUTCHISON - I know a good deal about their balance-sheet.


Mr Harper - The honorable member is making a most extraordinary statement. He implies that the company is willing to impose all sorts of evils upon the community for the sake of money.


Mr HUTCHISON - No. I say that the company is a huge octopus. I know that the main share of the profits derived from sugar-growing flows into the pockets of the company. Their balance-sheet shows that it has made £171,000 in six months.


Mr Harper - It has £2,000,000 of capital invested, and, I suppose, is entitled to interest on that.


Mr HUTCHISON - It has paid dividends which represent 10 per cent. upon its capital; it made more like 40 per cent. per annum.


Mr Harper - Nothing of the kind. It has paid no more than 10 per cent. for many years past, with the exception that last year it gave the shareholders a small bonus.


Mr HUTCHISON - No one can gather from the balance-sheets how much profit is made. The company has built up a sick and accident fund of £75,000 for its workers. Why does it not distribute that money amongst its employes, not onehalf of whom will ever derive much benefit from the fund?


Mr Harper - The honorable member does not know what he is talking about. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company has one of the most beneficent sick and accident funds in Australia.


Mr HUTCHISON - I believe in the workers having the money paid to them direct. No concern in Australia yields bigger profits than does the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, and its operations are carried on very largely at the expense of the cane-growers. If the work of sugarrefining were in the hands of the Government, we should be able to give the people cheaper sugar, and pay the grower a better price for his cane. I hold that the worker in the cane-fields of Queensland will never get anything like a fair share of the profits derived from his labour until a radical alteration is made in the laws governing our primary industries.







Suggest corrections