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Wednesday, 1 October 1902


Mr CROUCH - Was the meeting to which the honorable member has referred one which any one could attend ?


Mr BAMFORD - Yes, a public meeting held in compliance with an advertisement inviting the whole population to be present. Cairns is 400 miles north of Mackay, and Port Douglas is 50 or 60 miles beyond Cairns. Mr. Shannon, whom I have already quoted, says, in a private letter to me, that men were so plentiful at the time that he could not find work for all who offered themselves, and had to put up a notice to the effect that he was fully supplied. In the face of facts such as these, the allegation that white labour in the cane fields is a conspicuous failure is proved to be an absolute contravention of the truth. I thank the committee for having given me the opportunity of making this statement.

Sir JOHNQUICK (Bendigo). - A few days ago, in an interview published by the Argus, the Premier of Queensland was reported to have said -

The anti-kanaka legislation of the Federal Parliament is inflicting serious injury upon the sugar industry, and what between the drought and ill-considered legislation, Queensland is indeed in a bad way. Some planters at Geraldton have been making a sincere attempt to get their work done by white labour. They notified that 5s. per ton would be paid for treating 1,000 acres of cane ; but they succeeded in getting only 33 acres cut, and the men only made 15s. per week apiece at the work .

The address just delivered by the honorable member for Herbert is a most valuable contribution to this important question, and the facts which he has submitted go a long way to refute the statements of the Premier of Queensland, and to justify the action of this Parliament in passing the legislation which he is denouncing, and because of which he has endeavoured to promote the disruption of the Union. It is to be deplored that a gentleman in the position of a Minister of the Crown should endeavour to damage our federal institutions, when information such as that which has just been placed before the committee by the honorable member for Herbert was at his disposal. I hope that the speech of the honorable member for Herbert will not be suppressed, but will be published far and wide, especially in Queensland, so that the misleading statements made by thePremier of that State in order to damage the Commonwealth Government, if not the Union itself, will be refuted, and the public will be placed in possession of the real facts of the case.

Vote agreed to.

Postmaster General's Department.

Division 159 (Central Staff)- £4,904, agreed to.

Division 1 60 (Expenditure in New South Wales)- £786,896.







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