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Thursday, 7 December 1905
Page: 6527

Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -

That the Bill be now read a third time.

Mr. JOSEPHCOOK (Parramatta).The stringency of these proposals has been considerably modified in their passage through Committee, and to that extent they are, in my judgment, more acceptable. But, nevertheless, the Bill will operate in the most restrictive way in regard to immigrants coming here under contract. The very machinery and structure of the Bill will prove a formidable obstacle to the introduction of contract immigrants from oversea. Contracts will still have to be submitted to the Minister, and, in many cases, months of waiting will be involved. Much irritating investigation will be indulged in, and, altogether, the provisions of the Bill will operate to our prejudice. I do not think that many contract immigrants will come in under the Bill. Employers will not take the trouble to comply with all the conditions required, and immigrants will prefer to go elsewhere. If an immigrant comes with a legitimate contract in his pocket, and happens to land before examination, he will still be liable to have the contract voided, and incur all the penalties provided. To that extent the Bill is very unsatisfactory, from my point of view. I think we might have reached the desired end by means of the penalties provided for in the sub-clauses, which form the real kernel of the measure. For the rest, we might have relied upon the processes by which other wrong-doing is detected, and punished in the Commonwealth. We are making a new departure, and I am afraid that we shall find it to be an unsatisfactory one.

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