Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 27 August 1937

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- I ask the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) whether those persons engaged in the industry who are to be m.ade ineligible to vote foi' the election of members of the Board will be released from their obligation to pool their butter? This provision does not seem to me to be quire fair. While the aliens will be subjected to all the restrictions in regard to the export of butter and the price of this commodity, they will not be pcr- mitted to exercise a, vote.

Senator Sir George Pearce - They can qualify for it by becoming naturalized Australian citizens.

Senator LECKIE - That will take some years. The matter seems too small to warrant a bill of this kind, particularly as it will not affect many people. A citizen of the United States of America might decide to invest a considerable sum of money in a dairy farm in Australia; but he would not be entitled to exercise a vote in the control of the industry. In view of the fact that an overwhelming percentage of the persons engaged in the industry are Australians, their numbers would be sufficient to counteract any detrimental effects that might possibly result from a block alien vote. This prohibition is not a friendly gesture towards foreign nationals. If there were present any great danger to the community, I could see reason, for the incorporation of this provision.

Senator Dein - If the persons involved are .sufficiently interested in the control of their industry, they can become naturalized Australian citizens.

Senator LECKIE - We have encouraged them to settle in Australia; if they are prepared to comply with our conditions and standard of living we want similar settlers in increasing numbers. For sentimental reasons some of them may not desire to relinquish their alien nationality. In this matter a hard business proposition is involved, and while the alien producers are subjected to the disabilities of control, they should have some voice in the framing of the policy.

Senator McLeay - Would the honorable senator say that they are disabilities or benefits?

Senator LECKIE - Some use one terra and some another; in the end both amount to the same thing; it is merely a matter of terminology. The introduction of a bill of this description to disfranchise a few decent people is .like using a steam hammer to crack a nut.

Suggest corrections