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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6311

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - On account of the way in which the noticepaper has been prepared for the last few days, I did not expect the debate on the second reading of this Bill to be resumed this morning. I cannot allow the measure to go into Committee without entering a protest. Evidently the object of the Government is to try to placate what is known as the " stinking-fish " party - the party who are continually decrying this country. Either the Bill is a sham or it is going to do something which will injure the White Australia policy adopted by the electors.

Mr Mcwilliams - It is a rank piece of hypocrisv.

Mr HUTCHISON - I do not know whether it is a piece of hypocrisy. I am afraid that there is something more than that in the measure. I believe that the Government has taken up the mistaken idea that by making a little sacrifice of a principle which the Parliament has adopted, they can placate their opponents. Nothing of the kind. If the Bill is a sham, the deputy leader of the Opposition knows that more capital than ever will be made out of this legislation by the Conservative press.


Mr HUTCHISON - The Bill is a sham in some respects and a danger in other respects. It is a sham in so far as it is an attempt to make the members in. the Labour corner believe that the principle of a White Australia is not going to be sacrificed, and it is a danger, because I am quite satisfied that it is going to be a menace to that policy. Clause 6 says -

If the Minister notifies by notice in the Gazette that an arrangement has been made with the Government of any country regulating the admission to the Commonwealth of the subjects or citizens of that country, the subjects or citizens of that country shall not, while the notice continues to have effect, be required to pass the dictation test.

What does that mean? It means that it is going to be left to the Administration to say in what manner coloured aliens shall be excluded from or permitted to enter this country.

Mr Deakin - Read sub-clause 2.

Mr HUTCHISON - It says-

The Minister shall not issue any such notice until the expiration of one month after copies of the arrangement to which it refers have been laid before both Houses of the Parliament.

Circumstances change. We do not know that after the next elections the right honorable member for East Sydney may not come back with a majority behind him, and if he did he would, by administering the law which the present Government are placing in his hands, allow the free admission of coloured aliens. Do honorable members on the Opposition benches think that that would not happen?

Mr Watson - We can safely risk thar.

Mr HUTCHISON - I take it for granted that the Bill is intended principally as a concession to the sentiment of the Japanese Government, who have objected to the education test being conducted in a European language.

Mr Johnson - The leader of the Opposition has declared himself to be in favour of a White Australia policy.

Mr HUTCHISON - We are all in favour of the policy.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And he has done a great deal more for the policy than has the honorable member who is speaking.

Mr HUTCHISON - We hear from members of the Opposition that they are in favour of a good many principles, but so soon as we try in a Bill to give effect to a principle in which they say thev believe, thev do all thev can to wreck it. I do not wish, however, to be drawn off the track. We have been told that the Japanese Government have no desire that their citizens shal.l immigrate in any numbers to Australia. But what are the facts? The deputy leader of the Opposition referred to what had taken place in Fiii in regard to the Hindoos, and I should like to point out what has happened in Hawaii so far as the Japanese are concerned. In 1894, there were 24,000 Japanese in Hawaii, and in 1897, their number had increased to 70,000. They have driven out the natives, Chinese, and the Americans in the same way that the Hindoos are driving out the natives and Britishers from Fiji. Therefore, it is useless to say that the Japanese do not wish to emigrate. I am in a position to adduce strong evidence on this point by quoting from a pamphlet issued by the late Mr. W. H. Browne, who was formerly the leader of the Labour Party in Queensland. Mr. Browne pointed out the danger of intrusting the Administration with large powers such as are contemplated in this measure. He said -

That the Japanese authorities are of the opinion that the Queensland Government are favorable to Asiatic labour is shown by the following extracts from a letter from the Japanese Consul to the Chief Secretary, 6th November I800 :- " From your correspondence, it appears to me that your Government is anxious to maintain a certain proportion of people of the Asiatic race in your Colony, but I am unable to learn on what basis the proportion is arrived at, or how the limit of maximum becomes known."

Mr. RobertPhilp was then Premier of Queensland, and negotiations went on, resulting in an agreement that the number of Japanese labourers and artisans in the Colony should be 3,247, and that the number might be kept up by fresh importations. . This of course only applied to those calling themselves " artisans or labourers," and no restriction whatever was placed on those coming in under other designations. Now I am coming to an important point, which shows what can be done by an Administration to permit of the introduction of an increased number of immigrants. Mr. Browne said -

By the earlier agreement not more than twentyfive Japanese were allowed to be brought in in any one vessel, but on 14th August, Mr. Philp, in a telegram to the Japanese Consul, said - I have no objection to the number allowed to be brought by each ship being increased to fifty.

Mr. Browneadded

It is just possible that there are about 80 per cent, of the people of Queensland and of Australia who have very strong objections to these numbers being increased, but this is of course of little importance. Robert Philp " has no objection," so "let them all come."

That is precisely the position that might be taken up by some future Prime Minister. If we leave it open to the Japanese to come here, they will undoubtedly flow in in such numbers as to become a menace to our people. Mr. .Browne goes on to say.: -

One reason given by the Japanese Consul for asking for a certain concession is as follows : - " In view of the large number of Japanese labourers returning to Japan from this colony, and of the distressed state to which the immigration companies (whose sole business was to supply

Japanese labourers to employers in this colony), have been reduced since last year, in consequence of the prohibition measures taken by your Government, the Japanese Government is very anxious to hear, as soon as possible, of your decision as to the proposition suggested."

In despatch after despatch, the Japanese authorities manifested an anxiety to secure permission for Japanese to come into Queensland in such numbers as they might desire. Mr. Browne went on to say : -

This appeal went direct to the heart of the Premier ; the common everyday unemployed are only a nuisance. A hard-up swagman deserves no consideration, but fancy an " immigration company " in a " distressed condition." The very 'thought was terrible, and some of the concessions asked for were at once granted. '

I cannot see what inconvenience has been caused, or to whom offence has been given by the administration of the present Act. What is the position in Japan at present ? No Britisher can own a single foot of land in Japan, or make his home there without first obtaining the express permission of the Government. I do not think that outlaws are nearly so rigid as are the Japanese laws in regard to foreigners. In 1904 there were only 2,133 Britishers in Japan, and I believe that this small number is due to the restrictive legislation that is enforced against foreigners. Therefore, I do not see why we should be asked to pass legislation that would permit of an unlimited influx of Japanese into Australia. When I visited Queensland recently, I was disgusted to find that the great majority of the storekeepers were coloured aliens. Surely it cannot be said that white people are unfit in that climate to act as storekeepers. I was also very much astonished to find that certain unpatriotic individuals were leasing their land to Chinamen. Apparently they were so fond of the coloured) races that they would do everything possible to retain them, and if some of the Europeans in Northern Queensland have their own way, there will be very little hope for the white sugargrower. I am very strongly opposed to any interference with the present legislation, except in the direction of closing up the gaps. Nothing will prevent some of the Agents-General, who apparently have little sympathy with a White Australia, from making statements such as are contained in the memorandum laid on the table yesterday. I do not .trouble myself about the misrepresentations of people, who, after having done well in Australia, proceed to England, and apparently direct all their energies to maligning the country of their adoption. Nothing of that kind would induce me to amend the law in the direction of intrusting Ministers with greater powers. I cannot say that I am altogether content with the present administration of the Act, but I believe that it is giving the utmost satisfaction to the country,. We know, however, that all Ministries are fallible, and that if large powers are conferred, they are always liable to abuse, especially when anuses will have the effect of favouring the wealthy, or land-owning, classes. I believe that for many year,s to come the coloured aliens who are already with us will be a great menace to the workers of Australia. The keen competition which white workers now have to meet is indicated by the statements of an Adelaide clergyman who has had a wide experience of the sufferings of the unemployed. He says : -

There were scores of so-called homes in Adelaide, where the furniture consisted of a few boxes, and where the inmates had not sufficient bread to eat, or enough clothing to keep them warm. He was satisfied that in many instances the distress was as great as in any of the slums of London. While on the one hand there was dire poverty, however, there was much waste in other directions. One of the leading citizens of Adelaide the other day - he could mention his name if necessary - said in a ballroom - " I don't know a Christian in Adelaide. I know I am not one, because I am not prepared to pay the price."

This gentleman confessed that there were no men in Adelaide who were willing to proceed to the full length necessary to fight the battles of the workers. There were plenty who, like honorable members of the Opposition, pretended to be their friends, but who were not willing to pass the legislation necessary to protect them.

Mr Kelly - There must be a very bad lot of people in Adelaide.

Mr HUTCHISON - Adelaide contains good, bad, and indifferent men, such as are to be found all the world over. To my mind, there is no justification for the proposal contained in the Bill. On the other hand, there is every reason why we should' decline to increase the powers of administration'. In every measure we have, where possible, laid down the principles upon which the Administration must act.

Mr Deakin - The Administration can d'o nothing under this Bill without the assent of Parliament.

Mr HUTCHISON - Yes ; but it is not so easy to reverse an Act of Parliament as to reverse the administration of an Act.

Mr Deakin - In this case there could be no reversal except with the consent of Parliament.

Mr HUTCHISON - Yes ; but when it is not necessary to introduce a Bill, the consent of Parliament can be easily obtained. I have indicated what has been done in Queensland, and I do not wish to open the door for abuses of a similar character. We hear continual complaints of lax administration, and' the less we leave to administration the better it will be for the country.

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