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Friday, 15 June 1906


Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - Yesterday, I questioned the Prime Minister with regard to a speech reported to have been made by the Premier of Queensland to the effect that the Federal Government would be compelled to bear the expense of deporting, the kanakas imported by Queensland for the special advantage of that State in connexion with the sugar-growing industry. The Minister was good enough to say that he could not give an answer until he had had some further communication with the High Commissioner for the Pacific, and the British Resident in the New Hebrides. The time is approaching for the deportation of the kanakas now in Queensland, and I would suggest that: the correspondence which has passed up to the present time should be laid before the House, so that we may know exactly how the matter stands. I do not think that the people of Australia will view with any degree of favour the prospect of the Commonwealth Government defraying any portion of the expense of maintaining the kanakas whilst they are awaiting deportation, or any proportion of the cost of repatriating them. I understand that the Queensland Government had a fund for this purpose, but that the money has been spent by them in other directions.


Mr McDonald - The money has not been spent; but owing to the cessation of recruiting, the deportation costs £1 per head more than was originally provided.


Mr MAHON - I was given to understand that it had. At any rate, the Premier of Queensland has stated that he will not maintain the islanders whilst they are awaiting deportation, and that the Federal Government will have to bear that cost and the expense of deportation.


Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - So they ought.


Mr MAHON - I do not think so, and I shall resist to the utmost of my power any proposal of that kind.


Mr Page - And I shall help the honorable member.


Mr MAHON - I think that the States which derive no benefit from the sugar bonus, but which on the other hand contribute very heavily towards it, have done enough for Queensland without being robbed and exploited in the manner suggested. The Prime Minister has stated that he is also waiting for the report of the Sugar Commission in Queensland. I do not know how that report will bear on the question, but I do not think that we should make our decision in this matter dependant upon the report of a State Commission.







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