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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6316

Mr FRAZER (Kalgoorlie) - At this stage of the session, I cannot grow very enthusiastic over the proposal of the Government to amend the Immigration Restriction Act, which to my mind, has worked very satisfactorily. I am quite prepared to admit that in that Statute full effect was not given to the wishes of the Australian people, as voiced through the constitutional medium of the ballot-box. Irrespective of whether or not a sufficient justification existed for this Parliament adopting a roundabout course to secure the exclusion of Asiatics from this country, I certainly hold that we have no warrant from the people for altering our present legislation. That this Bill, will interfere with the administration of the original Act is undoubted. In my opinion, it has been introduced to placate that very small section of the community, to whom the honorable member for Hindmarsh has justly referred as the "stinking fish" party.

What has induced the Governmenttotake this step ? Because there are a few "squealers" in the community, I do not think that it is wise to interfere with legislation which has been approved by the vast majority of the people. It seems to me that the one desire of those who are favorable to the proposed amendment of the law is that we should avoid giving offence to what is termed " the great rising Eastern nation," Japan. The timidity of some Australians at the prospect of the Japanese adopting a hostile attitude towards us is extraordinary.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is exactly what the Russians thought.

Mr FRAZER - And I believe thatwith peace at home it is exactly what they would have proved. My experience of the Japanese in Australia is not one which would induce me to offer them increased facilities for admission to our territory. I have travelled over most of. the States, and my observation leads me to believe that they are chiefly occupied in this country in maintaining or living upon women of doubtful virtue, or in conducting laundries. Holding that opinion, I view with feelings of extreme doubt the proposal of the Prime Minister to omit the word "European " in paragraph a of section 3, with a view to substitute the word " prescribed." I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh that in matters of this kind, the more wet can make the desires of the people clear in our Statutes, and the less we leave to the Administration of the day, the better. I cannot grow enthusiastic over the prospect of an officer of the Customs, or of some other Department, meeting an army of foreigners at our wharfs, and prescribing for them a dictation test of fifty words in their own particular language, as he will be able to do under this Bill. The Prime Minister has circulated an amendmentwhich considerably clouds the position ; indeed, the chief object of some of the suggestions offered during the past few days apparently, has been to obscure the issue in a perfect maze of language. The original Act sets forth our intentions in as clear and concise a manner as they can possibly be presented, and I fail to see any necessity for altering it. Although I am not keen, on opposing the second reading ofthe Bill. I shall do my best to amend it in Committee. In another measure, the Government propose to eliminate the contract labour provision which is embodied in the principal Act. I do not think it is competent for me to discuss thai matter at the present time, -.but I know of no protest from the Aus tralian people which would justify me in altering the decision of Parliament in that direction. The law has been badly . ad- ministered ever since it was placed upon the statute-book. Immigrants have been coming to Australia under contract-

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