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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Mr CARPENTER (Fremantle) - It was my intention to reply at some length to several of the points made by the right honorable member for Swan;, but, at this very late hour, I am sure. that, honorablemembers have no desire that the debate should be continued. I shall, therefore, content myself with a very brief reference to two features of the right honorable member's address, and I regret that he is not present to hear what I have to say. He referred, first of all, to the action taken by the Minister of External Affairs with reference to the administration of the Immigration Restriction Act at Fremantle. I have no desire to accuse the right honorable member of having wilfully endeavoured to give rise to a scare ; but I must say that one effect of the remarks made by him will be to frighten those engaged in mercantile pursuits in Fremantle into the belief that some new and harassing restriction has been placed upon the shipping of that port. The right honorable member is entirely mistaken if he imagines that the Government have done, or propose to do, anything of the kind. As a member of the Ministry which introduced the Immigration Restriction Bill, he was doubtless sincere in the desire that every possible restriction should be placed upon undesirable immigrants. In these circumstances it ill-becomes him, when an attempt is being made to remedy many past defects, to seek to make capital out of the efforts of the Government to administer the measure in something like an honest and effective manner. Let me assure any one who might otherwise be misled by the remarks of the right honorable member, that the Government do not intend to do anything that . will, in any way, hamper . or harrass the travelling public. They will do all that is necessary, as they ought to do, for the proper administration of the Act, and do no more. The right honorable member made a veiled attack on the Labour Party in Western Australia, by . suggesting that they were disloyal to those who had been their recognised leaders. He referred to a paragraph appearing in this morning's issue of a Melbourne newspaper, in which the Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Walter James, is said to complain of the opposition which is being shown to him in the present State elections. The honorable gentleman told the House that the Premier of Western Australia had been for some time past a recognised leader of the Labour Party there. It is true that he has been known as a Radical, and has assisted to pass what we call labour legislation,' but he has never been officially connected with the Labour Party. He has held office almost entirely by the support of that party, but the fact that it is now in antagonism to him arises purely from his own expressed wish. Only a few months ago, speaking at a meeting at Bunbury, he publicly declared that from that time onwards he wanted only two parties, in Western Australia - the Ministerialists and the Labour Party. Having been challenged in that way, the Labour Party could not do less than take up the gauntlet, and they are, therefore, opposing the honorable gentleman now. I wish to make that statement in justification of their action, and to refute the charge that they are ungrateful to those who have led them. There has never been any relation, official or implied, between the Premier of Western Australia and the Labour Party of that State, and I wish these remarks to follow as quickly as possible those of the right honorable member for Swan, so that the people may be able to read both sides of the case at the one time.

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