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Wednesday, 6 December 1905
Page: 6366

Mr FRAZER (Kalgoorlie) - I confess that, when I addressed myself briefly to this question this morning, I had no great enthusiasm for the proposals to amend the Act; but the more I recognise the possibilities of our being placed in an awkward position, as the result of a succession of votes upon amendments, the more I am satisfied that the first proposition was the correct one. I trust that the proposal just made bv the honorable and learned member for West Sydney will not meet with the approbation of the Minister. I favoured the retention of the word " European," but as that has not been done, I think we shall act wisely in providing that any proposal to alter the language test shall be submitted to the Parliament.

Mr Lonsdale - The proposal made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney is the. better one.

Mr FRAZER - It may be in the opinion of the honorable member, but I atn sure that he is in a hopeless minority in the House, as well as in the country. If we adopted the proposal made bv the honorable and learned member for West Svdney there would be nothing to prevent a Government from admitting shiploads of undesirable aliens during a recess, and before Par- liament could have an opportunity to express an opinion. To accept such a proposal would be to give to the Executive for the time being a power which, in my opinion, no Government should possess. I confess that the wording of the amendment submitted to us is' such that if it be carried our position will be slightly worse than it was this morning, but, under the amendment proposed by the Prime Minister, it would be just as impossible as it is now for undesirable aliens to enter Australia. If the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for West Sydney were adopted, much of the time devoted to private members' business would be occupied in the consideration of motions that a test in the Japanese language, for example, should be prescribed. Some honorable members of the Opposition have a partiality for the Japanese. I cannot conceive it possible that the Japanese are so lacking in intelligence as not to be able to see through the proposition now before us. I accept the. Government proposal as the next best thing to the maintenance of the provisions of the original Act. I do not favour the view of some honorable members opposite that if this amendment be adopted, a test may be put in the Japanese language; but the suggestion made by the honorable and learned member for Corio, that under the amendment it might be possible for an applicant for admission to Australia to be able to prescribe for himself the language in which the test should be applied, is one worthy of the attention of the Prime Minister. The honorable and learned gentleman shakes his head, as if to indicate that he does not think such a contingency possible, and I am willing to bow to his superior judgment.

Mr Deakin - I will make sure of the matter.

Mr FRAZER - I am glad to receive the assurance of the Prime Minister that he will look into it.

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