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Thursday, 12 September 1901
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Mr BAMFORD (Herbert) - It seems to me that there is a refreshing unanimity of opinion with regard to the Bill now before the House. There has been no note of dissent with regard to the Bill going too far. The only note sounded has been that it does not go far enough. I agree with that. It was with the object of putting one phase of this question in a more prominent light that I rose to take part in this debate. The honorable member for Wentworth said that he thought the Bill did not go far enough. I was very pleased indeed to hear the remarks that fell from the honorable member in that respect. Some honorable members have expressed surprise at the honorable member's utterances. To me, it seems a poor compliment indeed to express any such surprise. By any one imbued with Australian sentiment and patriotism, I am sure that the honorable member's remarks would be received only as an exaltation of that sentiment. I am sure that the honorable member for Wentworth is as loyal and patriotic as any of us. When I use the term patriotic I do not refer to that spurious spirit of patriotism which has been too much in evidence during the last year or so, but to a spirit of pure Australian patriotism which I think is something altogether different from that which we have recently known. What 1 particularly wish to refer to in following the honorable member for Perth is the way in which this legislation may affect European immigrants. The Prime Minister has ridiculed the idea that this Bill can in any way be taken to affect Europeans inasmuch a* the clause only provides that this educational test may be applied to them. I wish to show that intelligent people are of opinion that this clause may affect Europeans. I refer particularly to the utterances of the Premier of Queensland, who, during a debate in the Legislative Assembly of that State a few days ago, in answer to some reference which was made to the Danes, said - '' Ob, there will be no more Danes when the Immigration Restriction Bill is passed."

Mr Page - That was meant to influence the Darling Downs election.

Mr BAMFORD - I disagree with the honorable member for Maranoa. I am aware from personal experience that some peculiar things have happened in Queensland during election times, but I think that no man occupying the dignified position of Premier of that State would stoop so low or would lend himself to the unscrupulous dissemination of what he knew to be a falsehood. Therefore, as I cannot attribute the Premier's attitude to his political dishonesty, I am compelled to attribute it to his political stupidity. But if a man in such a position - a man reputedly intelligent and conversant with what is going on in this Parliament - can fall into such an error, how can we expect other people, not so favorably circumstanced, to read between the lines of the Bill 1 Anybody who knows our German and Scandinavian fellow colonists, knows that they are some of the best. Wherever we find those people settled, we have honest, industrious, thrifty, prosperous, law-abiding communities, who literally make " the desert blossom as the rose." I for one would oppose the Bill at every stage if 1 thought for a moment that such people as these were aimed at. But when I see gentlemen such as the Premier of Queensland falling into error, it behoves us to be very careful. How do we know that persons may not make political capital out of such a measure? It is possible that the press might look with an unfavorable eye on the coming of immigrants from, say Germany or Denmark, and stop their immigration, thus depriving us of what would have been a most admirable addition to the population. I ask the

Prime Minister to seriously consider this view of the question. If the amendment of ' the honorable member for Bland is note carried, I trust the Prime Minister will, at any rate, use the words " European" instead of "English," so that there may be no misconception or ambiguity.

Mr Barton - I have not any objection to insert, in the case of any serious difference of opinion, the word " European" instead of the word "British." .1 do not think this is in any sense a vital part of the Bill.

Mr BAMFORD - The honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, said that some £300,000,000 of British capital is invested in China, and that China would on that account be delicately treated by the Colonial-office. But if such an argument holds good in the case of China, it lias much greater force in our favour, because Australasia owes British investors some £370,000,000, on which we pay £14,000,000 per annum interest. The honorable member for Kooyong expressed the opinion that white men are not capable of working in Northern Queensland, and as a Northern Queenslander I could not sit here tamely and allow that remark to pass unchallenged. We know very well that all the. pioneering work in Queensland has been done by the whites, and that the undesirable immigrants came later on. The honorable member for Kooyong said also that the white race was deteriorating in North Queensland. I do not know what authority the honorable member had foi1 that statement, but possibly it was a paper read by Dr. Ahearne at a philosophical meeting in Sydney some time ago. But the data in North Queensland, although there are perhaps two generations of born whites there up to the present, does not ex. tend over a period sufficiently long to justify the honorable member in making such a statement. In any case, Dr. Macdonald, of the Herbert River, a man of great experience and talent, takes quite an opposite view. On the 2nd of January last during the Commonwealth celebrations, I saw a procession of over 4,000 children itv the streets of Townsville, and I say unhesitatingly that these children compared favorably with any similar procession have seen in this southern capital. I trust that the honorable member for Kooyong will change his views with -reference to white men in North Queeusland, where they are doing the hardest possible work in mines, in which I believe he is interested.

Mr Knox - And doing it well.

Mr BAMFORD - As they would whereever they work. Railways have been built in the far north entirely by white men, who have done all the hardest work, and are still capable of doing it. I will not enter into the question of coloured labour, because 1 hope an opportunity will be afforded us at an early period of discussing it, when the Pacific Islands Labourers Bill is before us. Another argument used is that if we assert our absolute right of excluding Asiatics, at which this Bill aims, we shall be giving offence to those people, and - I believe it was the honorable member for New England who said so - that this would be dangerous for us. For myself, I believe that it will make no difference what stand we take up - that if these people assail us at any future time, our present action will not be a factor in either urging them to attack or causing them to refrain. We had the Chinese bogy some time ago, but that, I think, has to a great extent been banished; and now we are threatened with a Japanese bogy. I have no fear of the Japanese bogy : but if some day or other we have to come into conflict with Japan, it had better be to-day than by-and-by, when, if. this measure is not passed in a more drastic form, we shall have the enemy really within our gates. I should like to show how the influence and the presence of undesirable aliens is corrupting the whites in our northern settlements. I am not going to point to the moral sinks of iniquity which exist in some places, but will just say that in one of our northern towns, which I will not name, the Chinese give an occasional banquet, attended by a great many of the leading citizens. The visitors propose the health of the Chinese, and the Chinese return the compli- ment, and it has now become an axiom in that place that some of the leading citizens "eat with the Chows and sleep with the Japs." This measure reminds me very much of a celebrated gun which used to shoot round corners. If we adopt the amendment of the honorable member for Bland, wo shall have a weapon which will aim at and, I hope, hit the bull's-eye of absolute and immediate prohibition, because that is the only way we can obtain our object. I will not dwell on the educational facilities in Japan, or on the attainments of the Japanese, but there is, in my opinion, no doubt that this measure, as it stands, will not effect the purpose for which it is intended. I hope that when we reach the committee stage, the Government will have made up their minds to adopt that very sensible amendment of the honorable member for the Bland.

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