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Wednesday, 13 December 1905


Senator TURLEY (Queensland) - In Queensland we had a considerable experience of Japanese immigrants. . A fewyears ago. when there were only a small number of these people in Northern Queensland, we were always told that we need not be afraid of very many of them coming in. It was stated in the Queensland Parliament that the Japanese were not only coming in, but were bringing in their women, dressed as men, in order to be able to do with them practically what they chose. Within about eighteen months from the signing of the treaty between Japan and Great Britain we had a Japanese unemployed question at Thursday Island. There were 200 odd

Japanese, who had no means of getting employment, and who practically had to appeal to the Government to bring them down the coast to places where they would be able to find work. The Government did not respond to the appeal, but the sugar planters did. It was because of the Japanese unemployed question at Thursday Island that these men were spread over the greater portion of the coast-line of Queensland. During all this time the Japanese Government were protesting that they did not want their people to go to Australia, but, as a matter of fact, the Japanese were resorting to every possible device with the object of getting into Australia while this protest was being made.


Senator Dobson - A few Japanese might have done so; but the Government policy was not altered.


Senator TURLEY - Why, men went from Australia practically as agents to induce Japanese to emigrate to Queensland, and, of course, to engage afterwards in the industries.


Senator Best - Is it not a fact that in 1896, and subsequently, Japan enacted certain legislation restricting emigration?


Senator TURLEY - I think it was enacted at about the time when the legislation was passed in Queensland in connexion: with the sugar works. Senator Pulsford has called our attention to the terms of the treaty between Japan and the mother country. A copy of the treaty was sent to the Government of each Colony in the group, and it is very strange, indeed, that New South Wales never took advantage of its terms. Every Colony but Queensland declined to consider the treaty, and it was accepted by that Colony with the omission of two or three paragraphs, including article , 24, I think, to which its Parliament would not agree. There was a big feeling against accepting the treaty, because it was well known that wherever there was a possibility of Japanese evading its terms it would be taken advantage of to the fullest extent.


Senator Drake - It was accepted, not by the Parliament, but by the Executive Government.


Senator TURLEY - At all events, the question was discussed in. the Parliament before the treaty was accepted in a modified form.


Senator Trenwith - Have Japanese been coming into Queensland since this legislation was . passed by the Commonwealth ?


Senator TURLEY - I do not know that the Japanese have been evading the law. I am only pointing out that, years, ago, the Japanese Government were continually protesting that they did not wish their people to go to Australia, but that as many of them as possible did enter our country simply because it was better than Japan. "I believe that the Japanese are a people who would resort to any device or subterfuge to gain their ends. I prefer our legislation to be worded as clearly as possible. I am quite prepared, if that be the wish of a majority, to draw the colour line very clearly, and to run the risk of the Royal Assent being refused to the Bill. Prior to Federation, it was only New South Wales which passed a measure of this kind, 1 believe. The Bill was reserved, and the Government of the Colony was invited by Mr. Chamberlain not to adopt the direct method, but to adopt the language test, which was contained in the Natal Act.


Senator Clemons - That is a true education test; it lets people in.


Senator TURLEY - As the result of its legislation, Natal is overrun by coloured aliens - the very people whom its Parliament wished to exclude. In legislating on this subject from time to time each State has, found it necessary to go one step further than it did previously. I believe that in Queensland a large- majority of the people favour the adoption of a colour test. The education test.., even, in this modified form, is described as a further subterfuge; but. as* the Minister has pointed Out, the value of this, kind of legislation depends solely upon its administration. So far, it has not been found necessary to placate any one by applying the test in an European language. Why should we go out of our way to legislate, not for the people of Australia, but practically for the people of Japan? In ' framing our legislation, we are not called upon to placate a people whom, I believe, 90 per cent, of the electors of Australia desire to exclude from our shores. We are told that we shall not be allowed to exclude Asiatics by a direct method. I submit that the indirect method which we adopted in 1901 has given satisfaction to a large majority of the people of the Commonwealth. I know that a number of persons, have said that it was disapproved of by the people of Japan, the people of China, and, I believe, the people of India. There is no reason why we should take particular notice of the people in London who have been crying out about our legislation, because, undoubtedly, it would be to their interest to see cheap, coloured labour brought into Australia. If it is satisfactory to a large majority of the people of the Commonwealth, let it stand upon the statute-book exactly as it is. I think there is no reason to resort to further subterfuge, and that we ought to let the world know exactly what we mean. If our legislation has been to some extent effective - and I believe that it has not been altogether effective in keeping out Asiatics, and that something else will have to be done in this, direction before very long - why should it be altered in this direction?


Senator Clemons - If it has failed, it has only been because the tes.t has not been applied.


Senator TURLEY - Exactly. I believe that in the northern parts of the Commonwealth, coloured aliens have been surreptitiously landing; but that has not been the fault of the Act. If it has been fairly effective in accomplishing its object, there is no reason why it should not be adhered to.

Senator O'KEEFE(Tasmania).- Towards the close of his speech, Senator Turley made a remark which makes me very much inclined to vote on the opposite side to himself. He has admitted that the Act has. not been as effective as it should be.


Senator Turley - Oh, no.


Senator O'KEEFE - The honorable senator said that there may be some defect in the Act, or used some words to that effect.


Senator Turley - What I said was that it may have been to some extent effective.


Senator O'KEEFE - If the honorable senator says that the Act may have been to some extent effective, does not .that mean that it has not been effective to the full extent which he desired?


Senator Turley - Hear, hear. I said that I wanted to see a colour line drawn clearly.


Senator O'KEEFE - It is because I believe with Senator Turley that the Act has not been as effective as he desires that I do not like to jeopardize the enactment of this Bill.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - With a bigger 'defect in it?


Senator O'KEEFE - I think not. Last night I said that I should like to see the Bill come into force, because, in my opinion, it would remedy certain defects in the Act which require to be remedied as soon as possible. If we are agreed that there are certain defects in theAct which require to be remedied, and that this Bill will remedy them, it remains to be determined whether Senator Stewart's amendment remedies any other defect. To my mind, it is quite clear that it does not. Why? The Bill gives the Minister power to prescribe a language under the regulations. Only European languages art. now prescribed. The language prescribed will not take the place of an European language. The Bill itself provides that no. regulation prescribing a language shall be enforced until it has been laid before both Houses of Parliament for thirty days, or if within that time a motion has been proposed in either House to disapprove of the regulation, until that motion has been disposed of. A slight alteration may be required in the wording of that clause to make it impossible for such a regulation to come into force until both Houses have approved of the motion. I am quite willing to support an amendment to make the clause read that, if any alteration in the language test is proposed by Ministers, we shall have the fullest opportunity of discussing it, and that it shall not be sufficient to lay a regulation on the table, and say nothing about it. Probably the Government would accept such an amendment. I do not see very much reason for the language test proposal of the Bill. But this is the position : We are probably within a fortnight of the close of the session. There are many good provisions in this Bill. If many alterations are made it is possible that there will not be sufficient time to dispose of them. It will be a pity to jeopardize the Bill by making amendments which are not of great importance.


Senator Turley - This clause is pandering to an Asiatic race.


Senator O'KEEFE - There is no proposal to pander to any race. Before any language can be prescribed, Parliament must have an opportunity of discussing it.


Senator Turley - Has there been any demand in Australia for this amendment of the law?


Senator O'KEEFE - Whatever our party views may be, we must all concede that the present Prime Minister is a strong supporter of the White Australia policy.

I do not think he would do anything to jeopardize it. The Prime Minister has deemed it necessary to submit this Bill. Why ? Because he says that, by means of it, a cause of offence between Australia and a certain Asiatic race will be removed.


Senator Matheson - There is no evidence of that ; it is a mere assertion.


Senator O'KEEFE - I think that Senator Matheson is drawing a long bow when he says that it is mere assertion.


Senator DAWSON (QUEENSLAND) - Did I not ask Senator Playford last night, and did he not say that he knew nothing about it?


Senator O'KEEFE - Officially the Government may know nothing about the feeling of Japan concerning our Act, but in are unofficial way we must know that there is. a cause of friction.


Senator Best - The correspondence speaks for itself.


Senator O'KEEFE -The Government tell us that we can remove that friction, and at the same time absolutely safeguard our policy. What more do we want? If there were the slightest intention to weaken the White Australia policy, I should not for a moment support the proposal of the Government. But if we can remove a cause of offence that Australia is said to have given to another nation without endangering our policy, why should we not do it ? The Government tells us that we can do it. I cannot see that we are doing a very wrong thing in giving the Government a chance, and letting it take the responsibility. Senator Clemons is one of those who have strongly advocated the drawing of a colour line. I believe that he is genuine in the expression of that opinion. But we know that any restriction based on colour would not be accepted by the Imperial authorities.


Senator Clemons - I would vote for it every time.


Senator O'KEEFE - But there are some honorable senators associated politically with Senator Clemons who, to-day, have said that they would like to draw a colour line, and who have used beautiful, highsounding phrases on the subject, whose sincerity I very much doubt. One of them has said, "Let us be honest; do not let us be cowards. Let us do what we want to do openly. Let us be courageous, instead of branding ourselves as afraid to proclaim our intentions." But I would ask the honorable senator, who has tried to brand us as political cowards, what he and his Government, while they were in office, did to demonstrate their great courage in regard to drawing a colour line? Senator Symon was a member of a Government in whose counsels his voice must have had great weight. When that Government came into power, not only did it not bring before Parliament a proposal to substitute a colour line for the education test, but. the head of that Government went so far as to say publicly, at Hobart, in reply to a deputation, that he had no intention, during the existence of the present Parliament, to try to alter our immigration legislation. Yet we have Senator Symon to-day using beautiful phrases about courage', and inferentially branding those who do not agree with him as political cowards.


Senator Turley - The honorable senator must remember that the Government which he and 1 supported did not propose an alteration of the law while it was in power.


Senator O'KEEFE - What chance did our Government have to do anything of the kind ? But it seems to me to be hypocritical of Senator Symon to get up and talk of the great courage which he possesses, and of the political cowardice of other people, when he made no attempt to institute a colour line instead of the education test when he had an opportunity. Believing, as I do, that it is. absolutely necessary, in pursuance of the White Australia policy, that certain defects in the existing legislation should be remedied, and that the remedy for those defects is contained in this amending measure, and knowing, as cannot be denied, that any alteration in the language test must be dis- cussed by Parliament before it has the force of law, I feel quite safe in yoting for the Bill as it stands, and against Senator Stewart's amendment; at the same time indicating that I will support any proposal to make it absolutely clear that any suggested alteration of the language test must be distinctly brought under the notice of Parliament.

Senator MATHESON(Western Australia). - I said just now, while Senator O'Keefe was speaking, that it was a mere bare assertion that the amendment of the law contained in this Bill would satisfy the Japanese. I repeat -that. No evidence has been brought forward either by Senator Pulsford or the Minister to show that the Japanese will be in the slightest degree satisfied with the amendment of the law proposed by the Government.


Senator Guthrie - It is a mere assertion that they will not be satisfied.


Senator MATHESON - On the contrary, I am going to prove my statement that it is not a mere assertion. I shall do that by quotations which have come into my hand during the last half-hour, upon opening files of the English newspapers. The correspondence with the Japanese Consul, and with Japanese people, part of which was quoted by Senator Playford, shows clearly what the Japanese Government think of our law. It was said that in Japan there was a law which prevented emigration without the consent of the Government, and that, under the circumstances, Australia .need have no fear - that all that was wanted was that we should place Japan on a parity with European nations. I think Senator Pulsford will bear me out that that was the contention in 1901, when this legislation was before the Commonwealth Parliament.


Senator Guthrie - But there is emigration from Japan in spite of the law.


Senator MATHESON - The honorable senator is quite right, but that was the contention put forward. Iri the London Standard, of the 25th October last, there is an account, by the special correspondent of that newspaper, of a long interview with Viscount Hayashi, the Japanese representative in London. From that account, I take the following: -

He (Viscount Hayashi) suggested that Australia never had been in danger of an influx of Japanese immigrants. An Act was passed in Japan in 1896 and amended in 1901 for the regulation and control of Japanese emigration, and for the protection of Japanese emigrants. Under this Act it was provided that no Japanese might go abroad without first applying to the Government, in writing, for permission to do «o. His application had to be accompanied by a guarantee for the good conduct of the emigrant while abroad. So Australia really had nothing to fear, and Viscount Hayashi plainly indicated that she had nothing to fear now.


Senator Guthrie - California is being flooded with Japanese.


Senator MATHESON - Viscount Hayashi said most clearly that in return for legislation putting the Japanese on the same basis as European nations, the Japanese Government would legislate in such a way that no Japanese could come to Australia. That is what the Japanese wanted in 1901, and what thev want now; and so far as we have evidence, the Japanese will be satisfied with nothing less. In the course of the interview, Viscount Hayashi went on to discuss the Australian Act, and the eduction test, and the report proceeded as follows: -

I asked Viscount Hayashi if he had had any reports concerning individual cases of attempts by Japanese emigrants to enter Australia o'n the basis of the present education test. The Viscount was not willing to discuss the point, but I gathered from a casual remark that Consular reports were to the effect that whether individual natives of Japan were able to pass the education test or not, the restrictions were enforced in such a way as effectively to prohibit the entrance of Japanese into Australia.

That was the Viscount's grievance.


Senator Guthrie - He does not say that it was his grievance.


Senator MATHESON - He did say it was his grievance - but I cannot read the whole of the interview. His grievance was that the education test was so applied as to absolutely prohibit the entrance of the most educated Japanese into Australia.


Senator Guthrie - That was bare assertion.


Senator MATHESON - The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the amending Bill is intended to facilitate the entrance of Japanese into Australia- is intended to remove that grievance in a bona fide way, We know perfectly well that it is not ; and, therefore, I maintain that it is not bare assertion to say that the Japanese will not be satisfied.


Senator Guthrie - The honorable senator has just said that the Japanese do not leave their country, and, if that be so, why the desire to be free to enter Australia ?


Senator MATHESON - That is not argument.


Senator Guthrie - The honorable senator's argument is that the Japanese do not want to leave Japan.


Senator MATHESON -What I say is that it is a question of satisfying the Japanese Government, and the extracts I have read clearly show that the amendments proposed by the Government will not in any, sense give satisfaction. The London Times' comment on the situation, as published on the 24th October last, is as follows : -

As Mr. Deakin suggested in his reply to the Japanese Government three days ago, there is room for a general resentment of the form in which these restrictions are cast. The growth of Imperial unity must be based on compromise, not on verbal subterfuge.

What the people in England were evidently led to suppose was that a bond fide amendment of the Act was to be proposed by Mr. Deakin, and not that there would be introduced what Senator Playford has admitted to be a mere verbal subterfuge. I again submit that the clause does not achieve the only object by which the Minister of Defence attempts to justify it.

Senator STANIFORTHSMITH (Western Australia). - I hope the amendment proposed by Senator Stewart will not be carried.- If I thought for a moment that the clause, as it stands, would not be quite as effective as the section in the original Act, I should not support it on any account. But, as has been pointed out, the sub-clause immediately following that under consideration clearly places it in the power of Parliament to prohibit any language test that both Houses do not approve ; and that leaves us in exactly our present position. Without the consent of both Houses, it is impossible for any Ministry to alter the present education test ; and I do not think that either House would agree to any change. In legislation of this kind, and in all legislation, I always place the interests of the Commonwealth first. But when an amendment is proposed, which I db not think in any way jeopardizes the interest of Australia, I deem it well to consider how far it meets with the wishes and desires of Great Britain. I am sure that 'it is not the wish of any honorable senator to unnecessarily embarrass the mother country in her world-wide responsibilities. We have been told by an honorable senator that unless we say directly what we want, we are cowards. I venture to think, however, that if we are unable to protect ourselves from the very Powers affected by our laws, but are content to leave our suzerain Power to bear the brunt of any dissatisfaction, there is no element of bravery or courage in our conduct; on the contrary-,, we show, in my opinion, a mean spirit if we create difficulties for the mother country, while obtaining no benefit whatever for ourselves. Great Britain has entered ' into an alliance with Japan; and although, as I elicited from the Government, there has been no direct communication expressing any desire on the part of Japan for an alteration in the present law, we know from official documents that Japan desires to be ranked amongst the' great Powers of the world. The proposal of the Government is to strike out the word "European," in order to meet the views of the Japanese people, and, though these regulations do not go forth to the world, our Statutes are published, and the Japanese people do not wish to see any distinction laid down in connexion with eligibility to enter the Commonwealth.


Senator Findley - In a few years' time we may have the Chinese making similar representations.


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - The same remarks apply equally to Chinese and Hindoos. As I said before, no alteration in the present system can be made without the consent of both Houses, and I am sure . that neither House will allow undesirable immigrants to be examined in their own languages. Some honorable senators are voting against the clause, not because they are solicitous for an absolutely White Australia., but because they wish to see the whole Bill dropped.


Senator O'Keefe - Only a few.


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - But there are some honorable senators who voted against the second reading because they did not desire the Bill to become an Act. Those honorable senators are not extremely favorable to a White Australia; and we ought to remember that they oppose the Bill because it will be more stringent than the present Act. Senator Pearce pointed out the great advantages of the Bill if we desire to effectively keep out coloured people.


Senator Givens - Senator Pearce contended that the Bill would stop some small gaps; but what is the use of stopping small gaps if we at the same time create a wide gap?


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - No alteration can be made until it has been approved by both Houses of Parliament. The Japanese Government has stated that they do not desire the people of that country to leave it, but we know that many of the Japanese do desire to leave Japan, and that they are to be found scattered throughout the Pacific and the Malay Peninsula. While the Japanese Government recognise our desire to keep out Japanese and other coloured races, and raise no objection to our determination, they ask us to give effect to it in an inoffensive manner, and not to class them generally with Asiatics and Africans. I do not agree with all the eulogies of the

Japanese which we have heard this afternoon, but they are undoubtedly a powerful race, and we know that, so far as official acts are concerned, their desire is that they should not be- placed on a distinct plane from that on which we place the European Powers. We know that they are opposed to the existing Act, because it provides that the test shall be applied in a European language. If we delete the word "European," and' substitute for it the word "prescribed," no alteration in the existing system can bs made by regulation under the Bill, except by the consent of ' both Houses of the Parliament, and we shall attain exactly the same result as under the existing law, but in a manner which will not be offensive to the Japanese nation. If we could imagine the possibility of Great Britain ceasing to be a world Power, we should readily enough in such a case accept the amendment proposed in this Bill if we knew that Japan desired it. I do not agree with honorable senators who have said that we should be brave and fearless, and say exactly what we mean in this Bil), because we know that we should not be responsible for any ill-feeling or difficulty that might, as a consequence, be created between Japan and Great Britain, and should not have to suffer the consequences. That is not bravery, but a mere taking advantage of our position to carry legislation which we should not pass if we knew that we would be responsible for the consequences. Although I have had no conversation with Ministers on the subject, I believe that if this clause is altered in the way proposed - and though it is merely a sentimental clause, it is the vital clause of the measure - the Government will practically abandon the Bill. If that be the case, we shall lose the advantage of other provisions of the Bill, which it is desirable we should pass. Senator Pearce pointed out last night what those advantages are. He showed that the responsibilities of owners of ships under this Bill will be so great that it will not pay them to bring coloured people to Australia. Under the existing law, the penalty imposed in such cases may be as low as £$, and if that were all they had to pay for each prohibited immigrant, it would actually pay shipping people to bring coloured immigrants to Australia. That is shown by the fact that under the capitation fees previously charged under the States Acts, these people were sometimes willing to pay as much as £100 to be allowed to come in. A decided advantage proposed by the Bill is to make the police capable of arresting individuals without a warrant. Another valuable provision is that under which the masters and owners of ships may be compelled to take coloured aliens back to the place from which they were brought. Senator Turley said this afternoon that a considerable number of coloured people are being introduced surreptitiously along our northern coast. From my own observations in the northern parts of Australia, I believe that many of these coloured people are being smuggled into the country by the owners of boats trading and fishing along our northern coast.


Senator Givens - The Bill will «do no more to prevent that than does the existing Act.


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I think it will under the powers which are proposed here to be given to the police.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - That is not the subject under discussion at present.


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I was led to refer to these matters, because I believe that if the Government cannot carry this clause in the form they desire, it will possibly mean that we shall lose the whole measure, and so fail to secure the benefit of many of the advantageous provisions it contains. This is the crucial clause of the Bill.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - No, a much more important clause is that enabling arrangements to be made.


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - In public criticisms of the Bill, it has been admitted that the important clause is that proposing the omission of the word " European " from the principal Act, so as not to offend the susceptibilities of certain coloured .races.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The Bill proposes to strike it out in one place, and to reaffirm it in another.


Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I think it is better that we should use the word "prescribed." Under this Bill, the regulation prescribing the language in which the test is to be imposed must receive the assent of both Houses of Parliament, and we shall, therefore, retain control of the form of the test, and the language in which it is to be applied. There is, therefore, no danger to our settled policy in passing this clause. If it is not carried, my personal opinion is that we shall lose the other valuable provisions of the Bill.

The effect of this clause is merely to enable Parliament to decide, by approving a regulation, what language shall be used for the test, instead of specially mentioning it in the Act. That being so, I hope that honorable senators will not accept the amendment.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia). - I have no wish to delay the division upon the amendment, but I should not like the discussion to end without saying that it is very unusual for an honorable senator, who admits that he has no authority for the statement, to say that if a particular amendment is carried, it will mean the loss of the Bill.


Senator Staniforth Smith - I have a perfect right to express my personal opinion to that effect.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Certainly ; but it is a little unusual, and the honorable senator must admit that, as the statement is made without authority, it ought not to influence the Committee in any way. Senator Smith has not quite grasped what is proposed by the clause under consideration. The honorable senator has explained that it proposes to delete the word " European" from the principal Act, and substitute for it the ward " prescribed,." in order that we may have some regard to the susceptibilities of the Japanese. If that were so, I should be prepared to agree with the honorable senator, but I point out that the clause does nothing of the kind. In one part of the clause, it is proposed that the word "European" shall be deleted, and the word "prescribed" substituted for 'it in the principal Act, but in another part of the same clause the use of the word " European " is reaffirmed in these words -

Until some language has been prescribed, the languages authorized by the Principal Act -

What are they ? . European languages ? shall be deemed to be prescribed within the meaning of this Act.

That is to say, it is a mere piece of deceit.


Senator Playford - There is no deceit in it. It only says that, until a certain thing is done, the present method shall continue


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friend knows perfectly well that if he whispers to the Japanese, "We are going to strike out the word " European " ; and then whispers to the people of Australia. " We are going -to keep in the word "European." it is deceit.


Senator Playford - For a time.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - This is really an attempt on the part of this Parliament to emulate the ostrich. I believe that Senator Stewart is proposing a direct and straightforward method. I am going to support his amendment, because I prefer the di'rect and straightforward way to the indirect and misleading way. If the proposal were to delete " an European language," and substitute the Japanese, or any Asiatic language, I could understand it. But the object is, not to delete " an Euro- ( pean language," but, by a tortuous form of words, to do exactly what is now being clone. Believing, as I do, that the proper course is to say exactly what we mean, and to let Parliament next year prescribe anything it pleases, by regulation or resolu-» tion, it seems to me that the amendment should be adopted.

Senator DOBSON(Tasmania). - I do not propose to vote for the amendment, because, although the Bill is absolutely insincere, and the Government appear to have changed their mind about it, it is one small step towards the position which some of us hope that the Government will eventually take up, and that ite not to wound further than we can the susceptibilities of the Japanese nation. Suppose that we fell back upon European languages, we should leave in our law the very words of which the Japanese have complained. It is quite true, ais Senator Symon says, that this clause, in one paragraph, takes the word " European " out of our law, and in another paragraph puts it back, but still it goes on to say that a language may be prescribed by a regulation which shall be laid upon the table of either House for a period of thirty days. I believe that if the Bill were passed in its present form the Japanese would be more irritated than ever. They would perceive that we had practically acceded to their arguments, and acknowledged that we had not been guided by the comity of nations.. And in view of recent events in the Far East, and the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese treaty, I believe that they would make representations to the British Government with regard to the Bill. It would then be for the Government of the Commonwealth to make up their minds as to what they would do.


Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What language does the honorable senator think the Government could prescribe which would satisfy the Japanese?


Senator DOBSON - Whether the Government would have the courage to prescribe the Japanese language, or to do anything, remains to be seen. But suppose that they had the courage to issue a regulation,; that would be one step towards the assumption of Ministerial responsibility. It would enable what some of us desire to be achieved with greater facility than would be the case if they had to frame a Bill for the Parliament to deal with practically as it pleased. On that ground alone I intend to oppose the amendment. I am not informed as to what might be done in another place if it were inserted ; but in view of the lateness of the session, it is very probable that the Bill would not be returned. I was rather struck by the remark of Senator Playford that, in his belief, the Japanese will be pleased with the measure. How he has come to that belief I do not know. If he had drafted the Bill, and had been conning over its provisions for months, I could have understood the remark, but, as a matter of fact, he has had little or nothing to do with its drafting. Practically it says to the Japanese in one provision, " We' admit all that you say, and we are going to alter the law," but in the next provision it says, "Although we admit all you say, and are pretending to alter the law, we intend to do nothing of the kind, but to keep the test exactly as it was for the present." Judging from Senator Playford's attitude when he spoke first, the term "for the present" means for all time, or as long as the Deakin Government are kept in office by the Labour Party. That is the kind of legislation which we are asked to pass to please the Japanese nation !


Senator Playford - I am very sorry for the honorable senator's support. I am afraid that he will lose me more votes than I thought.


Senator DOBSON - Evidently the honorable senator wishes the amendment to be carried, and the Bill to be mutilated in favour of the views of the Labour Party ?


Senator Playford - No.


Senator DOBSON - Did not the' Prime Minister start with the idea of meeting the Japanese nation? Is not the whole object of the Bill to placate that nation?


Senator Playford - Decidedly not. The object of the Bill is to give the Administration greater power to strictly enforce the law.


Senator DOBSON - Here is more insincerity than ever ! The Bill was introduced with the idea of appeasing the Japanese nation ; but now the Minister has let the cat out of the bag, and admitted that its great object is to make the law more watertight than ever with regard to all those principles of which we approve. I believe that every senator approves of not allowing Japanese workers to come in and compete with our men, simply because they cannot assimilate with our race. I desire to carry out that object in a polite and proper way. I wish Senator Playford to tell 'me if the Cabinet have considered whether they will include in the prescribed languages the Japanese language,because when the next paragraph is reached, I propose to test their sincerity on this point by moving the insertion of the words, " and the Japanese language." If that amendment be not carried, the Japanese will understand as plainly as possible whether the Government are sincere or insincere. In the Senate we have had a great many instances which stamp with insincerity every member of the Ministry in connexion with this matter.







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