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Tuesday, 12 December 1905

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) - It has. been said that this Bill is not an honest measure, which declares our intention in a straightforward way. In my opinion we should make no invidious distinction between nations, beyond declaring unmistakably that those we welcome into Australia must be of our own race and colour. In order to test the question, and, at the same time, not deprive any other other honorable senators of the opportunity to submit an amendment in this clause, I move -

That alter the word "who," line 5, the following words be inserted : - " is an aboriginal native of Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific, excepting New Zealand."

If that amendment be carried, I shall, of course, move the omission of the subsequent words of the paragraph. The effect of the amendment is that we shall declare the aboriginal natives mentioned prohibited immigrants within the meaning of the Act. These are the only people there is any necessity to exclude, and inthe amendment I follow the phraseology of the Naturalization Act. in which the same natives are denied the rights of citizenship within the Commonwealth.

Senator Pearce - Theamendment, if carried, will kill the Bill.

Senator GIVENS - I do not think it would be an awful calamity for the Commonwealth if we did kill the Bill. I should think that, with a liberal, progressive Government in power in Great Britain, assent would be given to a piece of straightforward, honest legislation. Even if the Royal assent were refused, the result would merely be that the present law would remain in force.

Senator Pearce - A faulty law.

Senator GIVENS - The present law is not so faulty as the law would be if amended in the way proposed by the Bill. If we strike out the word " European " in connexion with the language test, there will be nothing on the face of the Bill to indicate the intention of Parliament. In the view of honorable senators, who have given considerable study to the subject, the present law is at least quite as good as would be the amended law. I commend the amendment to the good sense of the Committee, as providing an honest means of declaring our intention, without reserve or subterfuge.

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