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Friday, 4 October 1912

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - I certainly think there ought to be a definition of the very wide term "Asiatics." Under this clause, if the Virgin Mary happened to be here, she would be debarred from obtaining the allowance because she would be an Asiatic.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The honorable senator might very well drop that.

Senator Givens - All that kind of argument was trotted out years ago, when the honorable senator's crowd were fighting for a Black Australia.

Senator VARDON - I shall let that go by. I wish to know from the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether what I said on the second reading of the Bill in regard to the birth of half-caste children is correct? No Asiatic woman is to receive a maternity allowance. If she be married to a white man, and gives birth to a half-caste child, she will not be given the allowance. But a white woman, the wife of a black man, giving birth to a child would receive it. Is that the intention of the Bill?

Senator McGregor - That cannot be avoided.

Senator VARDON - Then I am to understand that what I have stated is a fact.

Question - That the Chairman do now leave the chair, report progress, and ask leave to sit again - put, under sessional order, and resolved in the negative.

Senator VARDON - I do not propose to move an amendment. I oppose the Bill straight out, and am not going to do anything to improve it, but I do want the public to know that an Asiatic woman married to a European will not get an allowance in respect of her child, while a white woman married to an Asiatic man will get an allowance in respect of her child. I ask whether that is fair dealing? If the Minister chooses to say that it is not, and that they cannot help it, well and good.

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