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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6361


Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) - The amendment under consideration shows that there is a good deal of force in the arguments of those who opposed any interference with the original Act. I am glad that the Prime Minister has recognised that the Government should endeavour to meet the wishes of the majority, and that consequently we are to have another modification of the Bill. If we have one or two more we shall revert to our original position. I am pleased that this amendment has been submitted. Any proposal which, if adopted, would bring us back nearer to the original position will have my support. But I am rather surprised that the members of the Opposition blame the Government for trying to throw part of their responsibility on to the Parliament, because when the Commerce Bill and other matters connected with the administration of the Customs Department have been before us, they have always complained that Ministers have too much power. I, myself, would give Ministers as little power as possible, and whenever the will of Parliament could be definitely expressed I would so express it, since, if we leave the administration of our laws too much to the discretion of Ministers, we cannot complain very much if particular Ministers take advantage of any opportunities that may be offered to them to give effect to their own ideas. I was amused at the manner in which the honorable member for Parramatta tried to distort my remarks concerning the possible administration of this measure by the right honorable member for East Sydney were he ever in power again. When I spoke, the amendment was not before us, and I had only the Bill to go on. It provides that any person passing the education test in any prescribed language may be admitted into the Commonwealth, and I pointed out that the right honorable member might interpret that provision to mean that anyJapanese who could write out a passage containing fifty words in the Japanese language might be admitted to the Commonwealth. He has, time and again, told the House and the country that he has no sympathy with the Immigration Restriction Act, and would amend it if he. could.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Nothing of the kind.


Mr HUTCHISON - The press has teemed with statements to that effect, made by the right honorable member. If I were in favour of people of alien races coming to Australia, and the law allowed me to administer a test of that kind as I had a mind to, I could not be blamed if I took advantage of the opportunity to carry my own ideas into effect. I entirely agree with the writer who, in a leading article published in the Age some time ago, spoke of the Immigration Restriction Act as a salutary piece of legislation to which no honest objection could be offered. If we open the door for the admission of aliens, to the slightest extent, it will be a practical abandonment of our White Australia policy; but I shall support the amendment, because I regard it as tending to close a door which has just been opened, though I may feel compelled to vote against the third reading of the Bill.







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