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Wednesday, 18 July 1906


Senator FRASER (Victoria) .- I rise to say a few words in regard to the vote I propose to give on this motion. I am as anxious as any honorable senator can be that Australians shall be given fair play, but I am not prepared, in order to place Australians in certain positions, to deprive others of their just rights.


Senator O'Keefe - Who, in or out of Australia, has any right to this position?


Senator FRASER - If a man is already in a position under the British Crown, is a British subject, and has acted his part well, I say that even an Australian has no right to put him out.


Senator Trenwith - To put who out?


Senator FRASER - If a man is acting for the British Crown in any official capacity, and if he were not a British subject I presume he would not hold such a post, I say that it would be; - I was going to say; contemptible, but that would not be polite, and I have no wish to be otherwise - it would be verv extraordinary if honorable senators should, by such a 'motion as that before the Senate, direct the Government to pass him by and to do what they probably would do in any case, and that is to give a preference to an Australian, all other things being equal.


Senator de Largie - The honorable senator is contending that merely because a man is a British official he should have preference to an Australian.


Senator FRASER - No; I say that if a British subject is already in possession of a post we should not take the bread out of his mouth in order to replace him by another man. I say that a man already in a position, and doing justice to it, and to the flag under which he serves, ought not to be displaced for the sake of an outsider.


Senator Trenwith - Is not Sir William McGregor an outsider?


Senator FRASER - I am not referring to Sir William McGregor, but to the man whose position must be rendered vacant if this motion be passed.


Senator Findley - Does the honorable senator call Australians outsiders?


Senator FRASER - I do not. I never said that they were, and never meant that they were. I say quite the contrary, that Australians have a right to preference, other things being equal, but I also say that, the man already occupying the position being a British subject, the members of this Parliament have no right to expect the Government to do him any injustice.


Senator Trenwith - The motion will not affect the man at present occupying the position because the Government are committed) to his removal in any case.


Senator FRASER - As it appears that honorable senators are adopting the extraordinary course of trying to secure the appointment of a member of the Senate-


Senator Higgs - That is very unfair.


Senator Guthrie - That has never beer* suggested.


Senator FRASER - I do not say that it has, but I have heard it whispered. I am not saying what are the facts, but if it be so it is all the more unseemly that the Senate should be asked to go out of its way to do an injustice to other British subjects. Are we to have billet-hunting in the Senate? If so, how can the Commonwealth be wisely and properly ruled ? I saythat an extraordinary course is being followed, and it reflects no credit upon the Senate that an attempt should be made to force the Government to do what they might do without any such forcing. This motion has the appearance to me of an attempt tocoerce the Government to do their duty, and I should hope that they do not require any coercion to induce them to dothat.







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