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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6320

Mr GLYNN (Angas) - I agree with thehonorable member for Boothby that this Bill will make no difference as regards thelanguage test. The Ministry evidently started out with the idea that they oughtto have the option of prescribing any language so as to meet the reasonable desire of the Japanese that they should not be placed in the same category as other coloured races. But, evidently subsequent developments affected their opinion, with the result that their present proposal amounts practically to nothing, because no language is to be prescribed as the test, unless with the assent of Parliament. If an honorable member objected to the language prescribed, it would be open to him to table a motion, and to induce some one toblock it, with the result that nothing would be done. The mere fact of a motion having been tabled to disallow a regulation would suspend the operation of the regulation until the motion has been disposed of. We are well aware of the position of private members' business. Some of the motions submitted by private members are deserving of settlement, but it is only by the most strenuous endeavour on the part of those responsible for them, and the consideration of others, that an opportunity is afforded of bringing them to decision.

Mr Deakin - If the honorable and learned member recollects the announcement made by me when introducing this Bill, he will recognise that not the slightest change has taken place in the intentions of the Government.

Mr GLYNN - I care nothing for Ministerial intentions; I have to deal with the facts before me. What I know is, that the Ministry seem to have adopted a recommendation drawn up. apparentlyby the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne ; that no change is to take place in the existing law, until the Parliament, by resolution, has sanctioned that change. It seems to me ridiculous for the Ministry to take up the position that they will seek power to prescribe a language test suited to the susceptibilities of a race with which we are allied, but that they are not going to apply that test until the Parliament, by resolution, approves of it. Having regard to the momentum which honorable members can give to legislation, by virtue of their being on the Treasury benches, as well as by reason of the alliances to which such a position leads. Ministers ought to have a little more pluck. The position taken upby them in this connexion seems to be scarcely in keeping with the dignity of the Federal Parliament.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - And yet, even with this proviso, the honorable member for Hindmarsh will not trust any one.

Mr Hutchison - I do not trust even the present Government in this matter.

Mr GLYNN - That part of the Bill which substitutes for the language test imposed by the Act of 1901, an agreement with a nation as to the method of regulating the immigration of the subjects of that nation will be welcomed. I think, some eight or ten years ago, the Japanese, and also the Chinese, addressed remonstrances to the Imperial Government in regard to the immigration restriction laws of the Colonies. It was pointed out that both nations had been willing, for several years, to regulate the emigration of their subjects to the British Possessions and America., that the whole matter could be arranged by treaty, and that under the operation of these treaties, quite as great a restriction would be imposed upon the subjects of those nations, as would be effected by the restrictive legislation of the various colonies. I am pleased to find that even at this late hour, we are proposing to enter into an arrangement by virtue of which the amourpropre of Japan can be consulted. As Japan is our ally, we are bound to consider her susceptibilities. At the same time, we must be cautious to provide that the Japanese do not come here in too great numbers. No race should be introduced that is incapable of intermarrying with our own people. Where that rule is not observed, the only result is either the exploitation of the lower races, or infertility. Professor Weismann, the great German, points out that the intermarrying of races which are not sufficiently close in type always results in diminished fertility, and a lower standard of ability and character than results from the intermingling of races between whom such differences do not exist. It is difficult toget at the truth about the Japanese. There can be no doubt that they are a great military nation, but according to some writers, that is simply because their internal history from the sixth to the middle of the seventeenth century was a welter of blood. I do not know whether that statement is true, but an interesting article on the subject appears in the Athenaeum of the 19th August last. The Athenaeum is not a paper which writes hysterically on any subject. It is the leading literary journal of England, and perhaps one of the leading literary newspapers in the world. In a review of two books - Bushido, the Soul of Japan, by I. Nitobe. and Young Japan, by James A. B. Scherer - the Athenaum apparently adopts an estimate of the character of the Japanese which in some respects is not overflattering. It points out that the history of old Japan, more or less authentic, from the sixth to the seventeenth century, is a mere welter of blood ; that " Bushido," which is a Chinese word adopted by the Japanese, means the " way of the executioner, ' ' and that the castes who were designated by that term were -

The executers of the will of irresponsible petty princes or their councils, they were the instruments of oppression and themselves the victims of a pedantic and absolutely merciless ceremonialism.

It goes on to quote from Mr. Scherer's work as to the general character of the Japanese, and points out that -

He admits to the full, as every one must, " the five noble qualities of Japanese character : bravery, loyalty, alertness, thoroughness, and self-control."

At the same time, it states that he goes on to say that -

The two cancers at the core of the Japanese character are deep-set dishonesty and abandoned impurity ; either would be sufficient towreck the life of any nation.

I am not adopting that language. I am merely pointing out that this criticism is approved apparently by a leading English literary weekly. Something a little in the same direction, although far more generous, written by a bishop, appeared recently in the Times, but in justice to the Japanese, it must be said that the Times' pointed out that so far as allegations of dishonesty were concerned, there was not one case of dishonesty against the Japanese in connexion with the subscriptions to the En' cyclopaedia Britannica. The obligations incurred in connexion with the Times edition were met by the Japanese in a way which was exceptional, when compared with the honesty of the British people themselves. I believe it was stated that in only one case was a subscription delayed, and that in no case was a subscription not eventually paid. Even those who had to go to the war made provision out of the small remuneration they were receiving to meet the honorable obligations they had incurred. I make this statement in justice to the Japanese, because I have quoted from an article which seems to take a strong and probably an exaggerated view in. the other direction.

Mr McWILLIAMS (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - It is too early to judge them. It isonly fifty years since they emerged from a state of semibarbarity.

Mr GLYNN - No. doubt; but this criticism is based upon the description of the character of the Japanese people by the writers to whom I have referred. We must not judge them on the sudden spurt which they have made during the last fifty-five years in copying Western civilization. It is probable that the Chinese are a better race, but I do not wish to offer an opinion on that point. I am pleased with the alliance that has been entered into. There is no doubt that the Japanese have reversed the opinions entertained prior to the war by Western nations as to their probableprowess, and have established by their self-denying character, their splendid attachment to the ideals of their country, the marvellous ingenuity with which their forces were marshalled by their generals, and the discipline and' dash of the men, a position which entitles them to the respect of all the other civilized! races of the world. As I have said, under the circumstances, we are getting something, from the Bill that is not, like the earlier clauses, merely a profession, in that wemay have a treaty arranged which maybe acceptable to Japan, and may accomplish the objects we have in view. Personally, I do not believe that thereis very much danger of any considerable immigration of those races. We must beprepared to meet the possibility of such an immigration, but, at the same time, I think we need not fear it. Some articles haveappeaxed in the press of Japan, intimatingthat there might be such' an immigration of Japanese to Australia, and that Japanesewarships might be used for the purpose.

Mr Hutchison - The fact that therehas been an increase of many thousands in Hawaii does not show that there is nodanger.

Mr Deakin - There is an open door in the Sandwich Islands.

Mr GLYNN - I do not intend to deal with the other races concerned. I acknowledge the necessity of providing against thepossibility of any considerable increase of this kind of immigration, but when I say that we need not be in a blue funk about thematter, really I am remembering the actual statistics dealing with the immigration of these races during the fast fifty or sixtyyears. There was a Chinese scare got uphere in 1888 by a Conference of Premiers that sat in Sydney, but, as a matter of fact,. while there were 42,000 Chinese in Victoria alone in that year, there were only 43,000 Chinese in the whole of the Commonwealth in 1888. The numbers had shrunk intermittently, no doubt there being sometimes an increase, and sometimes a decrease, but the balance showed a very considerable shrinkage in 1888. A vessel, named The Afghan, came out here carrying 250 Chinese ; so big a shipment led to the impression that the Chinese were going to come in hordes to Australia. However, that shipment was stopped, and that led to the well-known case of Ah Toy v. Musgrove. In 1888 the numbers were gradually dedining.

Mr Lonsdale - They are declining now.

Mr GLYNN - I do not know the rate of decline, but from 1888 to 1895 the immigration and emigration statistics of New South Wales, at all events, showed a decline in the number of Chinese. I admit that we must be cautious, and in the circumstances I am prepared to support some reasonable principle of restriction.

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