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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6367

Mr MCWILLIAMS (Franklin) - The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has objected that the adoption of the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney would enable the Minister administering the measure to flood Australia with Chinese during a recess. I would point out to him, however, that under the amendment we should still leave it open to the officers concerned to apply the test in an European language.

Mr Mauger - And it would be the only test until we could make an alteration.

Mr MCWILLIAMS - The honorable member is surely aware that if a Government desired to admit aliens to Australia, the putting of the test in an European language could lead to the admission of tens of thousands?

Mr Frazer - -And it would block tens of thousands.

Mr MCWILLIAMS - The honorable member fears that if the amendment were rejected, a Government might apply the test in such a way as to deliberately allow an undesirable immigrant to gain admission.

Mr Frazer - I say that that is possible.

Mr MCWILLIAMS - Every test that has been applied has been with the direct object of preventing the admission of the persons' concerned. I mentioned this morning that I saw a test that was put in Perth to an European, and which I venture to say not 75 per cent, of the members of this House could pass. The object of the Prime Minister is to have some consideration for the susceptibilities! of the Japanese. Let us consider for a moment the position that we are asked to create. If a Government introduced a regulation adding the Japanese language to those in which the test might be prescribed, what would follow ? There would certainly be an acrimonious discussion extending over several days. There are many who hold that the policy of Australia should be to exclude aliens at any cost. Honorable members can imagine what the position would' be so far as Japan was concerned. An angry debate here, in which there would be a great deal of plain speaking, would do infinitely more to offend a nation like the Japanese than fifty proposals for the direct exclusion of that race would do. What would the Australian people and Parliament say, if the Japanese, or the Russians, or any other nation, were dealing with us as we propose to deal with the Japanese? We know that this is a " slim " and hypocritical measure ; that we are pretending to do something that we do not do. No doubt, the speech of the Prime Minister will be sent through Japan, to let the people there know that, while he is pretending to allow them to come into Australia, he is really shutting the door against them more closely than before. Such hypocritical and canting legislation will degrade Australia in the eyes of all (l civilized nations. It is time that we dealt fairly and honestly with the question of alien immigration. If we are opposed to the immigration of aliens, let us say so directly. If the amendment is carried, I shall vote against the clause, as amended.

Mr Poynton - Does not the honorable member think that his speech is more likely to be circulated in Japan than that of the Prime Minister?

Mr McWILLIAMS - I do not flatter myself that that is so. I feel, however, that the Japanese would rather be dealt with by us honestly than in the manner now proposed. The Prime Minister told us, on introducing the Bill, that he wishes to soothe the susceptibility of the Japanese by making certain concessions ; but directly he got into Committee, he moved an amendment which practically makes the Bill inoperative.

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