Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 12 September 1901
Page: 0

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) - The question with which we are now dealing is one entirely beyond all party considerations. Australia spoke with a unanimous voice on this subject of shutting out coloured aliens at the time of the Federal elections, and I think I went further than most honorablemembers, when I stated that I was prepared to stop the influx of coloured aliens immediately. I preferred to cut off the tail of the dog at once, instead of taking off a joint at a time - as much for the sake of thedog as for the sake of the person performing the operation. If we mean business - and I believe that honorable members are unanimous as to the desirability of excluding coloured aliens - the Home Government will have no hesitation in assenting to a measure that will carry out our wishes. Honorable members need not be afraid that there will be any delay in the matter, because when the Home Government are made aware of the unanimous feeling that has been expressed during this debate, they will, without doubt, assent to the measure. The AttorneyGeneral in his speech referred to the utterances of the Right Hon. Joseph Chamber- lain when the Australian Premiers were in England in 1897. At that time Mr. Chamberlain said that the Home Government would offer no opposition to any law that might be brought forward, even though it might be painful to the British Government. It would be more painful to us, seeing that we have suffered from the effects of this coloured immigration, if we could not do something to restrict the influx of such undesirable additions to our population. If the Home Government conceive any idea that we are willing to accept half measures, they may feel inclined to concede us only a quarter of what we really require ; but if we are bold and firm in our attitude, they will accede to our wishes with a good grace. The effects of the introduction of aliens amongst us have been very serious in some parts of Australia. In Victoria some trades have suffered particularly, and in the furniture trade the competition that has been brought about by Chinese workers has been such that, had it not been for the Factories Act, that trade would have been wiped out of existence so far as European workmen were concerned. I recently formed one of a deputation which waited upon the Premier of Victoria with reference to this question, and upon that occasion employers and employes were unanimous in stating that the Chinese were continually endeavouring to break down the Factories Act - that they were not lawabiding citizens, but were continually transgressing the Act which others were compelled to obey. I took the trouble to go through the factory inspector's reports, and I found that whilst there had not been one prosecution for a breach of the Act amongst the 242 European manufacturers, there had been over 50 prosecutions and convictions amongst the Chinese manufacturers. Fully 40 per cent, of the Chinese manufacturers had beenbefore the court in twelve months, and had been convicted of breaches of the Act. These men would still be in our midst even though we passed the Bill in its present form, and I would go further and support -the -honorable member for Coolgardie in the amendment which he intends to propose, to the effect that when any of these aliens who are now amongst us are convicted of any offence against the law they shall be deported. I suggested to the Premier of Victoria that some such action should be taken in that State. It was then represented that it was very hard tosecure convictions against these men, but my feeling is that when' they are caught steps should be taken so that they may not have an opportunity of offending again. We know that the conditions under which these people live are not such as to commend themselves to Europeans, and the experience I have gained in travelling through my electorate, where there are a number of Chinese gardeners, would enable me to throw a good deal of light upon that aspect of. the matter. . It has been said that the white workers are to blame for patronising Chinamen who trade in the metropolitan and other areas.

Mr Page - So they are.

Mr TUDOR - I have never dealt with a Chinaman in my life, but I know that some other people do, and I am aware that in the country districts particularly the Assyrians make themselves such a pest that many women are glad to purchase goods from them in order to get rid of them: The Chinese have not only gone a very great length towards monopolising the furniture trade of Victoria, but fully five-sixths of the men engaged in market gardening in and around Melbourne are Chinamen, and we find that their numbers are increasing, notwithstanding statistics which seem to point the other way. I trust that the Government will not be satisfied with the provisions of the Bill as they now stand, but will be prepared to rise to greater heights and to accept the amendment of the honorable member for Bland, and also that of the honorable member for Coolgardie.

Suggest corrections