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Thursday, 14 December 1905


Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - I move -

That the Senate's amendments be agreed to.

The amendments made by the Senate in this Bill do not touch any question of substance. The first provides that the Act shall commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation, to allow of notice of the alteration of the law being given at distant places, such as Port Darwin and Broome. Then, instead of making the language test a passage of not more than fifty words, it is -proposed to make it a passage of not less than fifty words in any prescribed language or languages. The provision in clause 3 that any additional language prescribed shall not be taken to be sanctioned unless 'within a certain time the proposal has not been dissented from by Parliament has been altered so that no additional language may be used for the test, until its use has been assented to by Parliament, thus making the assent of Parliament positive instead of negative. The fifth amendment is a proposal to insert a new clause, which reads as follows : -

3.   Until a regulation prescribing any language or languages under section 3 of the Principal Act as amended by this Act, shall come into force, any language authorized by section 3 of the Principal Act before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to be a prescribed language within the meaning of that section as so amended.

That makes no alteration, except in the form of the expression. The next amendment proposes to leave out the word " agent " in a clause in which the word was not required. The last amendment, in clause 12, is intended to meet, in a better way than we were able at the table, the suggestion of the honorable member for North Sydney for the protection of shipowners against being called upon to deport prohibited immigrants after they had been here for some time. I inserted an amendment which would accomplish the object so far as section 8 of the Act was concerned, but it was discovered that the ship-owners might be liable under other sections. Now it is proposed to limit their responsibility to the deportation of immigrants prohibited under sections 3 and 5 of the Act. With the one exception to which I have referred, these are merely drafting amendments.







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