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Friday, 13 August 1920

Mr CUNNINGHAM (Gwydir) . - It is now understood that the Government desire to introduce a measure concerning mandates over Possessions in the Pacific. I move -

That after the word " government " second occuring the words " in accordance with the White Australia policy " he inserted.

As a new member of this House, I have been surprised to observe the way in which the right of honorable members to discuss measures at their various stages has been abrogated as the result of the slipshod methods adopted by the Government. I can well understand the attempt of the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) to " shanghai " motions through the House in this way in view of his reputation for un business-like methods. Our experience of the way in which he dealt with the sale of Australian produce overseas has taught us that he delays matters until the last moment, and then expects Parliament to accept his assurance that " everything r\ all right." He has had no business training, and therefore does not take ordinary business precautions. I support the stand taken by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) in regard to Nauru. Although the Government have paid over £1,500,000, we are in much the same position as a man who buys a block of ground without ascertaining whether the vendor has a good title to it.

I hope that the Government will not again attempt to spring new business on the House in this way. Had they given us reasonable notice of their intention to submit this motion, we should have avoided the unedifying scene to which the Prime Minister has treated us this afternoon. No one- can complain of the treatment that the Opposition extend to the Government when we receive at their hands the ordinary courtesies to which we are entitled. Our constituents look to us to preserve their rights, and I submit my amendment because of the tendency, during recent years, to introduce into the islands surrounding Australia large numbers of Japanese, Hindoos, Malays, and crossbreds of every description. We -want to avoid what has occurred in New Zealand, where there have been what are known in the United States of America as race riots, because of the introduction of coloured aliens into the Dominion. A few years ago, no one would have dreamt that New Zealand would occupy the position she does today, which has been brought about by a Government of which we have had for the last few years a replica in Australia. During the last five years, the Government have exercised under the War Precautions Act autocratic powers such as were enjoyed only by Governments in the Dark Ages, and these they seek to continue, although the war is over. Just as a tiger, having tasted blood, desires more, so the Government, having exercised these autocratic powers, are loth to part with them. Now that we desire to get back to pre-war methods of government, we find that the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) is not disposed to be amenable to reason. In accordance with his usual unmannerly style, he has levelled all sorts of charges at those who seek to safeguard the rights of the Parliament.

Mr Ryan - He has escaped too often, with his Senate scandal, and so forth, ' "and he needs to be pulled up.

Mr CUNNINGHAM - As the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) reminds me, the Prime Minister has been intimately connected with many scandals in this Parliament-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon J M Chanter - Order! I ask the honorable member to refrain from making imputations.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That little lecture might very well have been delivered to the Prime Minister.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! . The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Parker Moloney), who has previously insulted the Chair, is distinctly out of order in making that remark. I called the Prime Minister to order for the same reason that I have just called the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Cunningham) to order.

Mr CUNNINGHAM - The Prime Minister, ever since I have known him, has adopted a policy of bustle and bluff, and where he finds that insufficient to carry him through, he does not hesitate to be insulting.


Mr CUNNINGHAM - I am now referring to the Prime Minister's attitude outside the Parliament.

We need to provide that the civil government of these territories shall be in accordance with the White Australia policy, because it is impossible to trust the Prime Minister to administer the mandate intrusted to us in accordance with the desires of the Australian people. The history of the administration of the occupied territories during the war is in some respects not to the credit of the Government, and we have no desire that the same sort of thing shall happen in the administration of the territories now coming under our control, and for which we shall be directly responsible to not only the people of Australia, but the League of Nations. I am reminded by the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) that during the last few days the newspapers have been full of statements showing that our White Australia policy is likely to be challenged within the next twelve months. It is quite possible that our neighbours, the Japanese, may endeavour to make their presence felt in these territories if any loophole is left for their introduction into these islands, as freely as they have entered New Caledonia. We do not desire that Australian money shall be expended in these territories merely to bolster up and support a large body of coloured aliens whose operations may at any time seriously menace the welfare of the Commonwealth.

I trust that in future the Government will give adequate notice of their intention to introduce new business, and that we shall have fewer exhibitions of " bluff " on the part of the Prime Minister than has recently been our experience. The failure of his "bluff" this afternoon will, I hope, lead to his taking up a different attitude.

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