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Wednesday, 18 August 1920


Mr CUNNINGHAM - As honorable members who were not here on Friday last may not know what took place then, I shall give reasons for moving the amendment. As I .pointed out on Friday, unless the motion be amended there will be great -danger that coloured alien labour may be introduced under articles of indenture into the territories over which it is intended that Australia shall have a mandate, and it is necessary for us to take steps as early as possible to prevent the misapplication of the money that must be expended on their government. The Japanese have already shown a desire to enter into the islands of the Pacific, and are now present in New Caledonia in fairly large numbers. A good many coloured aliens are entering New Zealand; but I am confident that the people of Australia do not want to have the charge levelled at them that they were a party to the expenditure of money in the interest of any capitalistic force that may intend to set up a system of slavery by importing indentured coloured labour. Not only shall we have to expend money on the government of these territories, but in the years to come we may have to spend blood in their defence. Unless this Parliament resolves that the government of the territory shall be administered in accordance with the White Australia policy, Hindoos,Malays, and natives of the Pacific Islands other than the territories to which the mandate applies may be introduced. It is for us to say now how those territories are to be administered. If we do that, and should trouble arise in the future, it will be known how we stood, and whether we upheld our principles in the interest of those whose welfare is handed over to the safekeeping of this community. It is distinctly laid down in the Peace Treaty that these mandates are given over territories whose peoples have not arrived at a very advanced stage of civilization. This mandate is given to us, not to exploit the people of the territories to which it relates, nor to allow capitalists to bleed them, but so that their affairs may be administered in the best interests of civilization and humanity. The Labour party considers it to be its duty to see that effect is given to the mandate in accordance with the Peace Treaty, and that there shall be no exploiting of the people of the territories in the interest of capitalists, no matter where they may come from. I am confident that, no matter what the future may have in store for Australia and for the whole world, the wisdom of what I am proposing will be manifest in the future, and will be recognised by the people of Australia, who will be asked to expend money on the administration of these territories. Let the charge never be made against the Australian people that they were parties to the enslavement of the peoples of the Pacific Islands.

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