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Thursday, 23 November 1905

Senator STEWART (Queensland) - It is a great pity that a proposal of this kind should have been submitted to the Senate, and Senator Playford would be wise to withdraw the motion. The honorable senator must know that there is not the remotest chance of a proposal of this kind being carried in this Chamber. I can see no reason for the motion, except, in the words of the American humorist, " a general kind of cussedness " on the part of the honorable senator. In the first place, we have no reliable evidence that Japan objects to the Commonwealth legislation in this connexion.

Senator Staniforth Smith - We have no official evidence.

Senator STEWART - Senator Smith,a few days ago, put a question on the point to the representative of the Government in the Senate, and received the answer that no communication from any source whatever had been received by the Commonwealth Government on the subject. We have no evidence that Japan, is dissatisfied with our legislation, though occasionally there is wire-pulling on the part of the black labour advocates in the various States. Those advocates interview a Consul here and there, and get the opinion of this man or the other, and the results are published broadcast in the piebald Australian Newspapers. Endeavours are repeatedly made to foment an agitation, with the object of bringing about some relaxation of the present law. When Senator Pulsford produces direct evidence to this Senate that Japan is dissatisfied with the form of our legislation, I shall, personally be prepared to consider any proposal that Japan may make. But until that period arrives, I do not see why there should be the slightest alteration in our law. The motion, in my opinion, is a most extraordinary one. It begins by declaring that both Japan and Australia desire " to maintain the purity of their respective races." I do not know what the wish of Japan is, but I certainly know that the great majority of the people of Australia do not wish to mix with the Japanese race, however superior the latter may be. I suppose that a number of people, even in Australia, consider that a Japanese, now that Russia has been "floored," is better than an Australian, and almost as good as a Scotchman. There is no doubt that we in Australia desire to maintain the purity of our race. Senator Pulsford has told us that the Japanese do not wish to come to Australia. If that be so, there is an end of the matter. But we are told that the susceptibilities of the Japanese have been touched by our form of legislation. Dear me ! How susceptible the Japanese must be !

Senator Clemons - I do not suppose they are half as susceptible as some Australians would be under the circumstances.

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Senator STEWART - It would appear that we have to carry the common courtesies of Japanese life into the arena of the world. I believe it is the custom in Japan, when one person addresses another, to use about a dozen complimentary adjectives; but Japan, now that she takes rank amongst the civilized powers, ought to learn that such modes of address are regarded as superfluous. Civilized communities do not deal with each other in that fashion, but, with as little offence as possible, express their intentions. If the Japanese do not desire to come to Australia, why is an alteration of the law asked for? The test is in some European language; and if we do not want the Japanese to come here, and the Japanese have no desire to come here, why- all this trouble? Who has moved Senator Pulsford in this matter?

Senator Pulsford - Senator Pulsford.

Senator STEWART - Is the motive power which has set the honorable senator to work situated in Japan, or where? It may be in New South Wales, because the people of New South Wales, or at least a certain proportion of them, are not particularly loyal to the white Australia, ideal.

Senator Higgs - I think we can give the honorable senator credit for moving this motion "on his own."

Senator STEWART - If Senator Pulsford has moved this motion in good faith, and I am not inclined to doubt that, the only conclusion I can come to is that he must be labouring under some hallucination, that he is the victim of a kind of mania with regard to the relations between Japan and Australia. The honorable senator, if he will excuse me for saying so, is certainly not in what I woulaca.ll a healthy frame of mind with regard to this subject. It sits upon his chest like a nightmare.

Senator Clemons - The other side appeals to Senator Stewart.

Senator STEWART - I have no desire to go to Japan. They can erect a wall 15,000 feet high around Japan for all I care.

Senator Clemons - The honorable senator desires that all Australians shall hold his opinion.

Senator STEWART - Even the beautiful Geisha girls would not induce me to visit Japan. I do not want to go to Japan. I do not know whether Senator Clemons desires to go there or not. Perhaps the honorable. senator has been there, and wishes to go back. I should never accuse Senator

Pulsford of desiring to go there, but Senator Clemons might wish to do so.

Senator Clemons - I do not desire Australians to be debarred fromgoing there.

Senator STEWART - Senator Clemons must be aware that we do not debar the Japanese from coming to Australia. An arrangement has been entered into by which Japanese tourists and persons travelling for information can come to Australia and look about them as much as they please. I suppose that Japan will reciprocate, and that if Senator Clemons desires to go there he will have no difficulty in securing a permit to travel throughout the entire Empire, and will be offered all the hospitalities of the country. I do not like the amendment very much more than; the motion. I think that both are superfluous. But, seeing that the motion has been brought forward, it might be better to accept the amendment than to directly negative the motion. We have no feeling of hostility towards Japan. I feel in the most friendly mood, personally, towards that country at present. Any country which can command a large number of warships, and whose people are able to shoot straight, and are very determined fighters, has my respect, and I wish to be on good terms with it if possible.

Senator Clemons - Because Japan could wipe us out in about a week, the honorable senator feels respect for that country.

Senator STEWART - I admit that it is probable that the Japanese, if they came down here, could wipe us out, but I have not much fear of that happening. I think that Japan has other fish to fry at the present moment. I have no doubt that she feels; rather sore after the big fight she has recently had, and will devote the next generation or two to nursing her wounds, and getting herself into condition for another struggle. By that time, probably Australia will be able to " put up her props " just as sharply as can Japan. In any case, I do not see any reason for disturbing our present legislation with regard to immigration. I regret very much that Senator Pulsford should allow this question to so dominate his thoughts that it seems to drive every other subject out of his mind.

Senator Pearce - It does not drive the Tariff out of the honorable senator's mind.

Senator STEWART - Probably the honorable senator's mind is something like a bed in a Japanese factory. Honorable senators must know that Japan is advancing very rapidly with the development of industries, and I am told that in many of the factories in that country the factory boys and girls, and operatives generally, sleep on the premises. Each factory is run during the whole twenty-four hours. The dayshift crowd sleep during the night, and the men, women, boys, and girls of the nightshift sleep on the premises during, the day and both shifts use the same beds. Probably Senator Pulsford's mind is in exactly the same position - when it is not fully occupied with the Japanese question, the Tariff holds the fort, and between the two those questions retain a monopoly of the honorable senator's intellect. I intend to vote against the motion and for the amendment, not because I think the amendment is at all necessary, but because it has been practically thrust upon us by Senator Pulsford.

Senator Clemons - The honorable senator can vote against the whole motion.

Senator STEWART - No, I do not desire to appear to do anything offensive to Japan. I have, as I have already said, a friendly feeling towards that country.

Debate (on motion by Senator Drake) adjourned.

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