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Tuesday, 11 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - Honorable senators opposite fear that under this clause we shall become embroiled with other nations-

Senator Sayers - That fact would not trouble the honorable senator.

Senator GUTHRIE - It would trouble me more than it would Senator Sayers, seeing that I have more, so to speak, under my wing. Other nations have acted in a similar fashion towards Great Britain. In this connexion I desire to quote from a despatch from the ConsulGeneral of Great Britain at Havre, to a Select Committee of the House of Lords which investigated the whole matter. The despatch says -

It is worthy of notice that a French seaman may not engage upon board a foreign vessel without the consent of the maritime officials or consular officer under penalty of imprisonment. (Law of 24th December, 1896) -

Senator Chataway - That has reference to a country in which conscription obtains.

Senator GUTHRIE - And is not the Commonwealth about to enforce compulsory military service? I contend that honorable senators opposite wish to open a door by which Australians may escape from Australia in foreign vessels, and thus evade the fulfilment of their obligations to the Commonwealth. The despatch continues - and that this permission is not granted unless the master of the vessel signs an undertaking to assure the seaman's repatriation.

Senator Chataway - If required.

Senator GUTHRIE - In France no leave is granted to a seaman unless the master of the vessel enters into an agreement to return him to France at the expiration of his articles. The whole question which we have to consider is " Are we going to make it easy for the Commonwealth to get rid of its population ?' ' That is the point which honorable senators opposite are raising. Senator Sayers has challenged my knowledge of our naturalization laws. I have witnessed a great many naturalization papers both before and since the advent of Federation. Prior to Federation, a man who was naturalized in Queensland was an alien in New South Wales and Victoria.

Senator St Ledger - Only for very few purposes.

Senator GUTHRIE - For every purpose. He was not eligible to become a parliamentary candidate, nor was he qualified to exercise the franchise. In short, he did not possess any citizenship rights. Similarly a man who is naturalized in Australia has no rights in Great Britain ? Senator Sayers. - Does the honorable senator make that statement seriously?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, and he has no citizenship rights in Canada.

Senator St Ledger - He may bring an action for assault.

Senator GUTHRIE - Of course, he may. But he practically has no citizenship rights. It would be a mistake to allow a French or German Consul, in substitution of our law Courts, to order the return of an Australian seaman to a foreign vessel.

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