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Wednesday, 9 November 1904

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - Whether the Government are, or are not, prepared to make a promise in regard to the continuance of the sugar bounties, I feel sure that honorable members will see that no injustice is done to the sugar growers in Queensland. I hope that the Minister will do something to remedy the complaint made by some honorable members about the difficulties placed in the way of kanakas who wish to return to their homes. We, on this side, are supposed to be the strongest advocates for a White Australia, but we have no desire to do injury to any coloured race, and we think that the kanakas are suffering injury through not being allowed to proceed to their homes when their terms of service are over. Not long ago I saw a return prepared to the order of the Queensland Government, which showed that one kanaka has been put underground for every day that, has elapsed since the institution of the kanaka traffic. This great mortality has existed, not amongst women and children, but amongst n.en in the prime vigor of manhood, because only such are recruited.

Mr Bamford - Men who are medically examined before being allowed to land !

Mr HUTCHISON - Yes. We ought, therefore, in justice to the kanakas, to see that they are permitted to return to their own country as soon as they can. It is a surprise to me that there has been a difficulty in the way of obtaining a refund of duty in the case mentioned by the honorable member for Riverina. It is the hardest case that has been brought before us. I understand that a poor woman, whose husband paid the duty under protest, and at the request of the Department, cannot now obtain the money so paid, because some little technicality was not complied with. When considering the case of Mr. Sandford, the Minister brushed aside formalities and technicalities, and dealt with the equities only and surely he will not act otherwise in this case. If the man had thought that it would be considered necessary to send in a written protest, he would have done so. The Department has admitted that the duty was paid under protest.

Mr McLean - No.

Mr HUTCHISON - If the Minister will give us the departmental version of the case, I any willing to sit down.

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