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Wednesday, 9 November 1904

Mr McDONALD (Kennedy) - I wish to say a few words in regard to the attempts which are being made from time to time by certain persons who are interested in retaining coloured and Asiatic labour in the cane-fields, to discredit our legislation on the subject. The methods which are now being adopted in Queensland are similar to those which were adopted there some years ago, to procure the repeal of the State Act which prohibited the employment of kanakas in the sugar industry after a certain period. At that time a Commission was asked for, to enable evidence manufactured by one side to be placed before the public, because it was known that it was difficult to obtain evidence on the other side, and a report was brought in by persons who were interested in the continuance of black labour recommending a repeal of the law, the late Mr. W. H. Groom being one of the minority who objected to that course. The coalition Government of the day agreed to this repeal. Now a similar course is being followed again in Queensland. There has been a conference at Townsville, and attempts are being . made to obtain a report favorable to the employment of kanakas, on the plea that the industry must otherwise be ruined. I have, however, sufficient faith in the Government to feel that that will not be allowed.

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