Updated (just more 1936 evil Parliamentary drivel) 22/04/2006
Note: This web page is part of a research blog, and will expand.
Bertram Sydney Barnsdale STEVENS, Premier,13.05.32 - 05.08.39
MAIR, Premier, 05.08.39 - 16.05.41
Regulation Amendment Act (No.13 of 1935), [assented 13
Proceedings and Proceedings;
[4 March 1936]
Aboriginal Protection Act
Vol 146 p 2365,
Aboriginals excluded from Relief work
(Vol 148) p 3780,
[30 April-16 June, 1936]Gonococcal ophthalmia Vol 148 p 1936
Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Bill
18 June, 1936
ABORIGINES PROTECTION (AMENDMENT) BILL.
"Captain CHAFFEY (Tamworth), Colonial Secretary [2.53], moved:
That leave be given to bring in a bill to make further provisions as to the protection and care of aborigines; to amend the Aborigines Protection Act, 1901, and certain other Acts, in certain respects; and for purposes connected therewith.
He said: This bill has been found necessary as a result of the experience gained by the Aborigines Protection Board, and its intention is to bring within the operation of the Act aboriginals who enter New South Wales from other States. At the present time there are difficulties in this respect between the States, and this power is necessary to avoid misunderstanding and actually to protect the aboriginals themselves. It is also proposed to extend the definition of "liquor" so as to include methylated spirits. We have had some unfortunate "metho" cases among the aboriginals.
Mr. TULLY How many aboriginals have come into New South Wales from the other States?
Captain CHAFFEY: I cannot give the hon. member the actual figures now, hut I shall do so at the second-reading stage if the hon. member desires." (Note: to find.) "It is also proposed to give the Aborigines Protection Board the power—
(a) To apply to the courts in certain circumstances for an order directing an aboriginal to remove to a reserve or other place controlled by the board;
(b) To terminate the engagement of an aboriginal in cases where it is considered he is not receiving fair and proper treatment and is not being paid a reasonable wage, and to remove him to a reserve or such other place as it may be considered desirable;
(c) To authorise medical examination of an aboriginal and to take adequate steps to ensure that any such aboriginal receives appropriate treatment. It is also proposed to impose a penalty on any person who entices an aboriginal to remove from a reserve or who without the written consent, of the board removes an aboriginal from New South Wales, and also on any person who takes away an apprenticed child from his lawful service, or who without the consent of the hoard takes away the child of any aboriginal from any school, home or institution.
The hill makes certain provision relating to the payment of wages of aboriginals and to actions tor the recovery of wages due to aboriginals. It also provides that the averment in an information or complaint laid or made under the Act that any person therein named or referred to is an aboriginal should he sufficient of the truth of such averment unless the contrary is shown to the satisfaction of the court. It is also proposed to adopt the usual form conferring power to make regulations. The board will be given power to make regulations. We shall thus fall in line with modern practice in order to give Parliament the opportunity to reject any regulation or part thereof. The bill is urgent for the reason that an acute position has developed in regard to a disease known as gonococcal ophthalmia. This is an unfortunate disease which affects all kinds of people, and the danger is that unless the board is given power to effectively treat cases there is grave danger to the aboriginals and those with whom they come into contact. The aboriginals who suffer from this disease of the eyes are not so susceptible to blindness as are white persons, in respect of whom blindness follows in nearly every case unless immediate treatment is given. The board was much concerned about this matter and the Director-General of Pub-lie Health has outlined a course of action which includes the granting of powers to the board to prevent the spread of the disease and enable these cases to be effectively treated for the protection, not only of the aboriginals, but also of white persons with whom they come in contact. Certain theatrical, and other people, are in the habit of enticing aboriginals from this State to engage them in different kinds of commercial activities and then leaving them stranded with unfortunate consequences. The board feels, and 1 agree, that if the power outlined in the bill is placed in its hands the aboriginals and the community as a whole, will be greatly benefited. I suggest to hon. members that they pass this motion without much discussion and leave the debate until the. second-reading stage.
Mr. DAVIDSON (Cobar) [2.591: It will not be long before the aboriginals of this State will be completely extinct, and that position has been brought about largely by Government interference with their natural activities. There are about 9,000 aboriginals in the State. 1 realise it is necessary to protect these primitive people from exploitation by certain employers, and it is also necessary that they should be looked after because of certain diseases that are rampant amongst them. It is not possible to compel aboriginals to conform to European conditions of lite. They are a nomadic race, and cannot be controlled by the laws of civilisation. I£ the Minister's proposal is adopted the aboriginals will be compelled to submit to medical treatment. That may he all right, provided they are isolated from the ordinary hospitals. There are three or four aboriginal missions in my electorate, and recently the Aborigines Protection Board decided to transfer some of the aboriginals from Angledool to Brewarrina, but the Brewarrina hospital was overcrowded and was unable to take them in. I made no complaint at the time, hut J now understand that accommodation will be provided for them by the Mission at Brewarrina, which will be satisfactory to the hospital.
Captain CHAFFEY: The mission has. already done so!
Mr. DAVIDSON: I am glad to hear the Minister Say so. There is no doubt that disease in aboriginals is brought about in the first place through too much Government control, and in the second place through insufficient Government control. The Government should protect the aboriginals as well as white people who come in contact with them. I am looking forward to seeing the bill, but until I have perused it I cannot say that I shall support it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented and read a first tune.
Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Bill. [ASSEMBLY.]
23 June, 1930.
ABORIGINES PROTECTION (AMENDMENT) BILL
Captain CHAFFEY (Tamworth), Colonial Secretary [7.42], moved:
That this bill be now read a second time. He said: On the motion for leave to introduce the measure I explained why the bill had been brought down, and I directed hon. members' attention to certain, aspects of the subject. The object is to enable the Aborigines Protection Board to function more effectively, and to safeguard the health of the aboriginals and of the community generally. The amendments, as contained in the bill, are the result of long experience, and I think that when hon. members have examined them they will admit they are necessary. The first amendment deals with aboriginals who come from other States where adequate powers exist to deal with them. But when they leave those States and enter New South Wales they are outside the jurisdiction of the law of their own State, and they are not subject to the law of New South Wales. That has caused a number of complications, and has been found to be undesirable. It is felt that the law regarding aboriginals in New South Wales should be brought into line with the law of Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia in the interests of proper administration. It is also proposed to add methylated spirits to the definition of "liquor."
Mr. O'Sullivan : The Minister ought to apply that to some other Acts!
Captain CHAFFEY: Perhaps it would be a good thing if I did. It is known that some aboriginals use methylated spirits for drinking purposes, and when that becomes a habit it is likely to become a menace to the public. The bill also deals with aboriginals who leave their reserves and take up residence in an adjacent town. Many of those aboriginals suffer from contagious diseases, and in order to prevent a public nuisance power is to be given the court to deal with them. Such action will be initiated by a magistrate who will determine whether or not an order against them shall be issued. Judgment will be in the hands of a competent court. It is found that in many cases aboriginals, and particularly aboriginal girls, have been exploited by their employers. That is very undesirable, and it is proposed to vest the board with power to protect these people. The Aborigines Protection Board was constituted for the purpose of protecting the aboriginals, and it is felt that it should have power to terminate the engagement of an aboriginal in cases where it is considered he or she is not receiving fair treatment or a reasonable wage. I do not want to weary hon. members with citing other types of cases because I think hon. members will accept the provisions of the bill. There is another matter, however, that makes the bill urgent. Unfortunately there have been some outbreaks of an eye disease which, as I told the House the other day, is called gonococcal ophthalmia. It is very serious and our medical officers, as well as the board, have pointed out the dangers. It is rather an extraordinary fact that must be recognised, that where this disease attacks the aborigines the number of eases of blindness resulting is, very small, but in cases where it is contracted by white persons coming in contact with clothing, or through flies parrying these gonococcal germs, it is almost invariably followed by blindness unless immediate action is taken to treat it. That treatment is known to the medical authorities, the Director-General of Public Health and all medical men, who have pointed out that these outbreaks can only be properly treated by providing an alteration in the law on the lines suggested in the bill.
Another bad practice that has developed, concerns boxing promoters and certain types of theatrical managements, who induce aborigines to enter into engagements and then, when they can make no further use of them, leave them stranded in other parts of Australia and elsewhere. It is proposed to give the board power to refuse permission for these people to exploit aborigines in that way. Alternatively, with the board's approval, they may be required to abide by conditions precedent to any contract with aborigines in order to properly safeguard the latter and in the public interest. Where the board approves of the engagement, it would be subject to certain specified conditions relating to the return of the aboriginal to his home after his engagement was completed and other guarantees. In other words, the management would have to enter into a definite contract, with certain penalties for non observance. Power is also taken to safer guard wages of aborigines. Where, an aboriginal is entitled to proper wages the board can arrange for recovery, and thus prevent unscrupulous persons from exploiting our Australian natives. There is also a provision laying down the procedure the court will adopt in determining whether a person is an aborigine or not. The last provision in the bill brings it into line with other measures in regard to the making of regulations in accordance with modern practice which the existing law does not provide for. Where a regulation is made it will be laid on the table of the House and, objected to by the House in the usual way. The whole of it can be objected to or any part of it. Those are the essential points of" the bill and I .ask hon. members to agree to the second reading.
Mr. DAVIDSON (Cobar) [7.51]: While many provisions of the bill can, reasonably be approved, certain of its provisions will be resented by the aborigines. As hon. members are aware, the aborigines of New South Wales are fast becoming extinct. Since the Aborigines Protection Act was passed there have been various amendments to it. In 1917 the Government in which Sir George Fuller was Colonial Secretary, introduced a bill to amend the Act; in that measure it was proposed to get rid of the quadroons and octoroons from the various reserves. It was recognised at that time that owing to the mingling of whites with the aborigines the full-blooded aborigines were fast becoming extinct. In 1919, according to the report of the Aborigines Protection Board, of which Mr. Donaldson, who was a valuable officer and thoroughly conversant with all the customs of the aborigines, was chairman, there were only two full-blooded aborigines born in New South Wales to every five half-castes.
The idea of the bill was that as the full-blooded aborigines were becoming extinct, the Government did not consider that quadroons and octoroons were the responsibility of the State. If they were drafted out of the aborigines missions or reserves and sent about their business to earn their living the problem would disappear. An amendment was passed, however, which included in the definition of ''aborigine," any person who had aboriginal blood in his veins. That defeated the object of the bill with the result that we now have more of these quadroons and octoroons in the State than aborigines. Most of them are in the aborigines camps. I have always been in favour of giving the aboriginals as much liberty as possible, at the same time recognising that there is a duty we owe to them, because this was originally their country. The definition of "aboriginal" in the dictionary is, of course, quite different from the definition of ''aborigine" in the Aborigines Protection Act. The dictionary definition is "A person who is the original occupier of a country." Of course it cannot be said that the half-castes and quarter-castes are the original occupiers of the country, although they are descendants of the original occupiers. Those half-castes and quarter-castes now preponderate. The question is whether we have the right to make separate legislation for these people. I know many of them, and they are just as good citizens as any other section of the community, Most of them I know of are good, hard-working people, and if they have an opportunity to make good in the State they will do as well as any other man who is working under the system under which we live. At the same time, if they do not have an opportunity, while the law provides they may be included as aboriginals, they take advantage of these laws, and we cannot blame them for doing so. This bill seeks, in the first place, to bring within the operation of the Act aboriginals who enter New South Wales from other States. Whether that can, or cannot, be done I do not know. I am not sufficiently conversant with the Constitution to advise the Government whether they can interfere with aboriginals who come from another State. The legal officers of the Government would, no doubt, be able to give an opinion. I do not know whether the Governments of Queensland or Victoria could interfere with the rights of aboriginals who were moved from, say, New South Wales. If they did, perhaps there would be a legal argument on that aspect of the Federal Constitution.
Mr. LANG : When they come from the Northern Territory there is no provision to cover that!
Mr. DAVIDSON: That is so. It is also sought to prohibit the drinking of liquor, including methylated spirits. That is a very good thing, although it appears to me that the prohibition on supplying aboriginals with intoxicating liquor has had very little, effect, in country districts. They seem to get it somehow and somewhere. While people are liable for supplying them with liquor, at the same time, when one is travelling in the country one has often seen aboriginals under the influence of intoxicating liquor. It may be that they will take methylated spirits into their camp, their reserve, or their mission station, and use it there. No one would object to the clause which seeks to prohibit the supplying of liquor to these people. It is known that methylated spirits is very harmful to the health of the human being. It is also desired to apply to the court in certain circumstances for an order directing an aboriginal to remove to a reserve, or other place, controlled by the board. I doubt whether it is right that we should say to these people that, notwithstanding that they are descendants of the aborigines, they are to be excluded from living in a reserve. These reserves are provided for the aboriginals, and certain moneys are made available for the protection and upkeep of aboriginals each year, and it is questionable whether Parliament should alter the definition of ''aborigine" in the Principal Act, so as to exclude these people from living in these reserves. I would not be a party to taking any liberty away from the aboriginals. It has been recognised that the community must protect them from certain vices that do exist. At the same time, we must do our best to protect them in other respects. I do not think the House should be prepared to accept a further curtailment of the privilege of the aboriginals. They are here, and, as somebody has said, we took their country from them, and it would be only right if we handed it back and apologised for making such a mess of it. That may be wrong, but in any case it will not be long, owing to the continual decrease in numbers, before the full-blooded aboriginals will cease to trouble this country any more.
It is also proposed to terminate tho engagement of an aboriginal in cases where it is considered he is not receiving fair and proper treatment, and is not being paid a reasonable wage, and to remove him to a reserve, or such other place as the board may consider desirable. This is a very contentious clause. I appreciate to the full that the Government considers it its duty to protect the rights of these aboriginals so far as wages are concerned. I know, and every hon. member who represents a country district knows, that these people are exploited to the full. As a matter of fact, they are worked as much as they will work, merely for their upkeep, and a very poor upkeep at that—just their bed and food. They can sleep where they like, but not when they like. Provision is made in the bill that an aboriginal should be paid a reasonable wage. If an aboriginal is performing the same work as a white man he should receive the same wage, and if I have the opportunity in Committee I will move an amendment to provide that he shall.
It is also proposed to give the Aborigines Protection Board power to remove an aboriginal to a reserve or such place as it may consider desirable. It is questionable whether that is not an interference with the liberty of these people. They are a nomadic race and cannot conform to the customs of the white man. If they choose to go about the country and pick up a living in their own way they should be allowed to do so, and it is wrong to try to prevent them. To compel an aboriginal to go into a reserve or to a mission is tantamount to putting him in gaol, because it is an interference with his liberty. I know a number of aboriginals that are excellent horsemen and good shearers and general workmen. Some of them have married white women and have proved to be good husbands.
It is also proposed to give the board power to authorise the medical examination of an aboriginal and to take adequate steps to ensure that he receives appropriate treatment. We know what that means. It means that owing to the association of the blacks with whites the aboriginals have been infected with venereal disease. There is no worse form of venereal disease than that contracted between an aboriginal and a white, and I am not surprised that the Government has at least realised that drastic action must be taken to deal with the menace. It is said that while it is possible by means of proper treatment to cure a white person infected with venereal disease it is impossible to cure a white person who contracts venereal disease from an aboriginal. If a nurse who has given her life to this class of work becomes infected I believe it is impossible for her to get any relief. If the aborigines wish to live in close proximity to the white people they must submit to proper treatment.
Speaking at the introductory stage I drew the attention of the Minister to the proposal to remove a certain group of aborigines from Angledool to Brewarrina. It was proposed to put some of them who were sick in the Brewarrina hospital. The hospital was crowded with patients and the people objected. I complained to the Minister, and an agreement of some sort was made between the Aborigines Protection Board and the Brewarrina Hospital board. At first I thought the agreement was all right, but after considering it I do not think it is. Anyone who knows the customs and habits of the aborigines knows that they go about in groups and that it is very difficult to induce a tribe from Angledool to live in the same reserve as a tribe from Brewarrina. The aborigines are very strong on their tribal divisions, and it is not advisable to shift tribes from one place to another in an endeavour to create a sort of compound. I do not know how many reserves that are now in New South Wales, but I do know that about 1917 there were 112. The reason the Government of that day refrained from concentrating the aborigines in certain reserves was because it realised that they would not allow their tribal relations to be interfered with. For this reason it would be advisable for the Government to alter its decision and to allow the aborigines who belong: to Brewarrina to remain there, and to allow the aborigines who belong to Angledool to remain in the area that comprised their old hunting grounds.
This bill imposes a penalty on any person who entices an aboriginal to remove from a reserve, or who, without the written consent of the board, removes an aboriginal from New South Wales. It also imposes a penalty on any person who takes away an apprenticed aboriginal child from his lawful service, or who, without the consent of the board, takes away the child of any aboriginal from any school, home or institution. Here again much depends upon the administration of the law. No matter what the law is, if it is not sympathetically administered it will serve no useful purpose. My experience has been that the members of the Aborigines Protection Board are well intentioned people, but some of them are ignorant of the customs and traditions of the aborigines. That applies also to a number of the managers in control of missions. No special attempt has been made to obtain the services of men conversant with the customs and traditions of the aborigines. Men imported into this country may be very good managers, and may have the very best intentions, as I believe they have, but they know nothing about the temperament or the customs and traditions of the aborigines. The consequence is that they want to discipline the aborigines in a way that is repugnant to their nature. They are not susceptible to discipline and will not stand it. If I were appointing a manager of a mission I would appoint a man who had been working in the back country, who had mingled with the blacks, who knew their customs and traditions, and who understood their temperament. I would not be so much concerned about whether he was a good manager from the domestic standpoint. I understand that the object of the bill is to assist the remnant of the aborigines in New South Wales. Some time ago the aboriginal camp at Ivanhoe was transferred to Menindie for water supply reasons. There are a fairly large number of aboriginals in the camp, both full-blood and half-caste. But the board built them huts of galvanised iron in which there is little ventilation. To place these people in such huts was like putting them in a cage. It was almost as bad as taking fish out of water and expecting them to live in an unventilated box.
Mr. BATE: Are the walls of the huts constructed of iron ?
Mr. DAVIDSON: Yes.
Mr. ARDILL : How long ago was that?
Mr. DAVIDSON: Two or three years.
Mr. BATE : We were compelled to remove them!
Mr. DAVIDSON: Yes, for want of water. But it would have been better to let them live in their own "mia mias." The hon. member for South Coast knows the customs of the aboriginals, and he knows also that to place them in huts built of galvanised iron, and to pack them almost like sardines in a tin without ventilation, is asking too much of them. Aboriginals require plenty of ventilation and freedom. I was surprised when I saw the huts that these people at Menindie were expected to live in. The board demands from them as much discipline as would be demanded from a regiment of soldiers. The only way to get the co-operation of the aboriginals is to understand their temperament. It is also proposed to give the board power to terminate the engagement of an aboriginal in cases where it is considered he is not receiving fair and proper treatment, and is not being paid a reasonable wage, and to remove him to a reserve or such other place as it may consider desirable. There should be no necessity for that. If any aboriginal, half-caste, or quarter-casts leaves the camp and takes work he should he entitled to the same wages and conditions as are enjoyed by any other man doing the same class of work. He should also be entitled to the same protection of the law as all other men who choose to sue for wages.
Mr. VINCENT: Supposing he is a youth!
Mr. DAVIDSON: The provision applies to all. Under the law minors are protected. The man who works for a squatter should be entitled to the same protection as any other man.
Mr. Vincent : The hon. member argues that the aboriginal should not have the protection of the board!
Mr. DAVIDSON: Not if he is working. He takes his place in the industrial life of the country, as anybody else does.
Mr. VINCENT : That kind of man always gets protection!
Mr. DAVIDSON : If he does the provision in the bill is not necessary. If a white man is shearing with a half-caste or quarter-caste shearer, should not the latter enjoy the same conditions of employment as the white man?
Mr. VINCENT : They will!
Mr. DAVIDSON: Will they have the same protection under the law?
Mr. VINCENT : Yes!
Mr. DAVIDSON: Well, why is the provision inserted in the measure?
Mr. VINCENT: Such a man is a free agent!
Mr. DAVIDSON: I do not see it in the bill. The measure provides that the aboriginal shall receive, not the award, but a "reasonable" rate of wages. The board would have the right to say what is a reasonable wage, and that is not satisfactory.
Mr. Sinclair: If were a member of the Australian Workers' Union, which most of them who work on a station are, he would get the award rate, but quite a number of them work independently on farms, and they get no wage at all!
Mr. DAVIDSON: Quite so. That was because a previous Government repealed the industrial awards in the rural industries. If a man is a shearer, and he belongs to the Australian Workers' Union, there is no necessity for the-provision.
Mr. SINCLAIR : It is necessary in the interests of men working outside!
Mr. DAVIDSON: If a man docs not receive the Australian Workers' Union award, that organisation will take up his case. This provision will permit the aboriginal, or the half-caste, to continue working for an unscrupulous employer.
Captain CHAFFEY: That is not a fair statement. The board will have power to protect aboriginals against unscrupulous employers. The object is to ensure that they shall have fair treatment.
Mr. DAVIDSON: I shall contest the point in Committee. The bill also is intended, according to paragraph six of the explanatory note:
To provide that the averment in an information or complaint laid or made under the Act that any persons therein named or referred to is an aborigine, shall he sufficient evidence of the truth of such averment, unless the contrary is shown to the satisfaction of the court.
Hon. members will agree that this will be very difficult. Apparently, if a man or a woman is brought before a justice of the peace the latter will decide whether or not he or she is an aborigine. Under the present definition of "aborigine" I will guarantee that I could bring before hon. members a hundred men, and they could not tell whether they were Australian aborigines, Indians, or anything else. A justice of the peace would not know what they were. The bill provides that a man can be referred to as an aborigine simply because someone makes a declaration and submits it to a justice of the peace. The justice of the peace might not know an aborigine if he saw one. It seems to me that since the introduction of various social laws by Labour Governments, such as endowment and pensions, an aborigine is entitled to these endowments. An aborigine or quarter-caste who has never been in a mission or reserve in his life may have a wife who applies for endowment. She is told that the endowment is to be paid through the Aborigines Protection Hoard, which decides how the money is to be spent. The manager decides what will be provided out of the money for the aboriginal woman and her children. There is an idea underlying the bill. A man whose wife applies for endowment, and who is told by the board that the endowment will be paid through the. Aborigines Protection Board may say that he is not an aborigine, has not received any of the benefits under the Aborigines Protection Act, and has never been in a mission.
Why should we say his wife is incompetent to spend a few shillings she gets from endowment? It rather humiliates these people. Someone from the department may tell the Aborigines Protection Board that Jack Jones has applied for endowment and is an aborigine. Jack Jones may say that he is not an aborigine and has always worked for his living like everyone else.
Captain CHAFFEY: In a practical way, if the board is satisfied that the persons, whether full-bloods or half-castes, will apply the money from endowment faithfully to the needs of children, it allows those parents to handle the money!
Mr. W. DAVIES: No, it does not!
Captain CHAFFEY: But in cases where it is obvious the children do not receive the benefit of the child endowment money, then it is the practice of the board to protect those aborigine children in regard to the spending of the endowment money the State provides!
Mr. SINCLAIR : That does not apply only to aborigines, either!
Mr. DAVIDSON: No, but why should not the same law apply to the aborigine as applies to the rest of the people?
Mr. ARDILL : It does!
Mr. DAVIDSON : It does not. This provision is designed for the purpose of deciding who is an aborigine and who is not.
Mr. ARDILL: The hon. member is talking about endowment!
Mr. DAVIDSON: Yes, this is for the purpose of endowment. I have had hundreds of letters from these people. I have taken them to the Director of Social Services. I have been told that endowment money for them has been paid into the Aborigines Protection Hoard, and I have, perhaps two or three months later, received letters from them to say that the money has been paid into the board, and that the local manager of the aborigines mission is deciding what the recipient of the endowment shall receive. That is unfair and unreasonable.
Mr. HENRY: It is not unfair, if the husband or mother is a drunkard or waster!
Mr. DAVIDSON: In those cases it is quite all right, but why should we pick out these people and practically say that, because they are aborigines, they are all bad characters.
Mr. HENRY: It does not mean that at all. We are protecting the children !
Mr. DAVIDSON: No. If it can be proved that these people do not spend the money in a manner that will provide the best for their children, I would say let the Aborigines Protection Board step in and protect the children's interests as in the case of anyone else. In this case, however, once it is decided they are aborigines, whether they are in a camp or mission, or come under the protection of the Aborigines Protection Board or not, the money is sent to that board. Some of these people are just as decent folk as can be found anywhere; I have worked with them, and I know them. No hon. member can tell me that because a man is a quarter-caste or half-caste aborigine, he is a bad character. Those of them who have done wrong in the past have only done so because of the irritating tactics of the white people. It is hardly fair, so to speak, to put the onus on the accused of deciding whether he is an aborigine or not. The next thing the Government will demand is that these people shall go down to the Registrar-General's Department to get a copy of their birth certificates, which is what the Government is doing now to make money in the case of students and school children who apply to the Railway Department for concession tickets. While some provisions of the bill are necessary, it must be remembered that we have brought this necessity about ourselves by interfering with the aborigines in the first place. The least that can be done is to leave them now as much liberty as possible. We at least owe this to them; we owe it to them to protect them. While we must control them the least we can do is to protect them.
Mr. BATE (South Coast) [8.41] : I have a very small contribution to make to this debate, although I would have liked to have said a lot, but I have worked for so long a period to get this measure before the House that I do not wish to be responsible for any delay in having it passed. Many hon. members have wondered why I have been so keenly interested in this matter. I have been a member of the Aborigines Protection Board longer than any other member, and I think I can say I have had longer experience of the aborigines than any other member. I was born among the aboriginals, lived amongst them, and my first school was an aboriginal school because it was the only school where I lived as a boy. I wish to assure the House that all this bill desires to do is to help the aboriginals. It is being introduced for no other purpose. As a result of my experience over a period of years I know that the members of the board have found many weaknesses and difficulties which it is proposed in this bill as far as possible to remedy.
Before dealing with some of the provisions of this bill, I wish to say that the position of these people is a very pitiable one. I do not know of any way in which we can help to preserve the race, and the men who have been working for years on the Aborigines Protection Board have been making a desperate effort to deal with the problem by making their present position somewhat easier. Notwithstanding one or two eases referred to by the hon. member for Cobar, the manager, and the matrons on the various stations are very splendid people. They are doing a very wonderful work, and devoting their lives to the betterment of these people. Now follows the terrible fact that while today there are 10,000 people of aboriginal blood in this State there are only 1,000 full-blooded aboriginals left. Out of those 10,000, 9,000 are half-castes, quarter-castes, and people of that kind. While by the admixture of blood in the early days when we had in the community tough and hardy pioneers it might have been possible to have desirable offsprings, today the only people who are responsible for the offspring are the undesirable and lowest type of whites who frequent the shanties and habitats of these people. I wish to lay emphasis upon this point, although I hate to touch upon it. The real harm is being done by our own people, the lower type of people, because it is only people of that type who are responsible. Unfortunately, I was not in the House when the Minister delivered his second-reading speech. I was in another part of the House attending to another important matter, and nobody took the trouble to tell me that the Minister was speaking, although most hon. members know of the great interest I have always taken in this matter. I know that the hon. member for Cobar and the members of his party will support the second reading of this bill in the interest of the aboriginals of this State. There has been a lot of loose talk about what is being done for the aboriginals of this State, but I wish to paint a picture of one station as an indication of the work being done and the sanctuary provided. There are twenty-two stations throughout this State with from 100 to 200 people on each station. There are several stations in my district. I wish to tell hon. members of one of those stations so that what I say may go into Hansard, and people may realise some of the things that are being done for the aboriginals of this State. Hon. members on both sides of the House have visited the station I have in mind, that at Walaga Lake. I will describe very briefly some of the conditions that obtain there. It is an extraordinarily beautiful place. There is a large lake which abounds in fish, and everything that possibly could be done is being done to provide for the aboriginals. The matron visits the place every day and sees to the sanitation of the huts. Milk is provided for every child that may be born on the station. There are golf links which are equal to any ordinary golf links. Some time ago some hon, members of this House were showing the aboriginals bow to drive a ball. When these aboriginals took up the golf sticks which they had made out of the roots of trees the hon. members did not say very much more after seeing what these fellows could do. Football is provided for, and the aboriginals have their football rig-outs. Provision is also made for cricket and other sports and a full-time school. The board has done everything that it possibly could to make the lives of these people somewhat happier than the position they found themselves in through no fault of their own. There may be one or two misfits among the managers who do not understand the instincts and customs of these people, but most of the men and women who are doing this work are perfectly marvellous. If hon. members gave me any salary I could name I would not attempt to do the work. It is very difficult. These men and women are working among a disappointed people.
Mr. DAVIDSON: Would the hon. member admit this: While we all realise that the work that these managers and matrons have to do is a delicate one, if they do not understand the customs of the aboriginals it would make the position worse?
Mr. BATE: I was coming to that point. The Acting Premier did not like this bill at the beginning. He did not like to interfere with the people he understands so well. The reason for the urgency of this measure is because the health of our own people is very seriously threatened at the present moment. We have to choose between two positions. Either we allow these, people to roam far and wide and spread possible disease, or take them from the precincts of the villages and towns where all this wrongdoing happens. In one disease gonococcal ophthalmia smears were taken from the eyes of fifteen aboriginals, and in fourteen cases it was shown that these people were suffering from this very horrible disease. The white people most likely to contract this disease are those who are showing such strict devotion to duty—matrons and nurses. There is the added danger in the western district where the fly carries the disease from eye to eye. The position that the House has to face is whether these people are to be allowed to roam at will or whether they will be placed in a habitat away from the undesirable class to which I have referred. This afternoon I asked the secretary for the Aborigines Protection Board if lie would give me photographs of shanties that the board had had collected with reference to the aboriginals who frequent the towns and villages in the country districts. Nothing could be more undesirable or dangerous, because the disease is spreading. During recent months women officers have contracted this horrible type of ophthalmia. One of the matrons, at her own cost, flew from a country station to Sydney the same day as she thought that she had contracted the trouble, and she was saved.
Mr. DAVIDSON: Did she have to fly to Sydney at her own cost?
Mr. BATE: I am informed that she did, but the matter was fixed up later. Another woman officer thought she was infected, but she did nothing for a couple of days, and she is now lying in St. Vincent's Hospital with one eye gone, and the doctors are making a desperate effort to save the other. We must get the aborigines in some place where we can have them medically examined in order to save them from themselves and to save the whites who come in contact with them. Are we, through a wrong sense of justice, to allow these people to wander about to be a danger to themselves and others? 1 have been amongst the aborigines the whole of my life, and I understand their habits and customs, and I would like to let them roam. Those who are the roaming type will still roam. The only reason we ask for them to be brought to us is to provide the amenities to which I have referred. Members of municipal councils have begged the board to do something, and it has been impossible to do anything. The West Australian, the South Australian, and the Queensland Acts provide that the aborigines shall be concentrated in stations. The Chief Protector of Aborigines in each of those States directs that they be placed in stations, but in New South Wales they have the right to apply to the court to have it decided whether they shall or shall not go to a station. The board has done splendid work on behalf of these people and wants to continue it. The hon. member for Cobar objects to the aborigines being confined in reserves, but all the board wants is to have them in places where they can be properly controlled from the standpoint of sanitation. I prefer to call it a sanctuary.
The hon. member for Cobar mentioned family endowment, and said that when family endowment was paid the board took it away from the aborigines. The action of the board in this direction has been the result of experience. The chief desire of the aborigine, like the white man, is to own some sort of motor vehicle, and in many cases every penny paid to aborigines by way of endowment has been used to buy a motor car or a motor lorry that ran for a few days or a few months. The result was that the "kiddies" received nothing. All the board desires is that endowment shall be paid to the mothers and children. Unfortunately, in some cases the husbands have got hold of the money and have squandered it. In the administration of the Aborigines Protection Act, as in the administration of any other Act, there are sure to be some unfortunate happenings, but if they are brought under notice they can be attended to. Instead of allowing the fathers to get hold of the money and squander it, the board has put the money in trust for the young people.
The hon. member for Cobar also referred to the provision that the averment in an information or a complaint laid or made under the Act, that any person therein named or referred to, is an aborigine shall be sufficient evidence of the truth of such averment unless the contrary is shown to the satisfaction of the court. That has nothing to do with family endowment. Aborigines live round towns under the most insanitary conditions, and all the board wants to do is to take them away so that they may live under decent conditions. A certain solicitor thought he would be very clever, and he said that the board must prove whether the person concerned was an aboriginal. It is impossible for the board to show whether the person concerned is an aboriginal, because, even if the birth certificate were produced, it would not state whether he was wholly or partly an aboriginal.
Mr. DAVIDSON : How does the hon, member suggest it can be proved?
Mr. BATE: If they went before a court there would be no difficulty. As I said, the only desire of the board is to help the aborigines and incidentally the people in the towns where aborigines are living under wretched conditions. The Government has provided more money for the stations in order that the aborigines may live under decent conditions. A female officer who is called a child welfare officer visits the stations to see that the aborigines are properly cared for. The board has an inspector of stations who sees that the water supplies and the sanitary arrangements are all that they should be. The constant endeavour of the board is to work in the interests of these people, and the main reason for the urgency of this bill is to deal with health matters. I obtained copies of the Acts which are in operation in the other States of the Commonwealth. Our main difficulty with regard to medical treatment is that the aborigines refuse to be examined, and we have no power to compel them. In the other States medical examination is insisted upon, and, if necessary, the aborigines are put in a lock hospital, but we do not propose to do anything of that kind. We merely ask for power to medically examine.
The hon. member for Cobar also mentioned the matter of wages. In this direction the board has experienced difficulty, particularly in respect of girls employed in domestic service. In a certain case the board made inquiries about the payment of a girl, but could not obtain any information. It was only when the board, by some subterfuge, got her away from the place where she was employed, that she admitted that she had received no wages for two years. Whenever an officer of the board met the girl previously she was afraid to tell the truth, and she said that she was receiving wages. That is the class of aboriginal that we want to protect.
Mr. W. DAVIS: Would not the board have power to prosecute?
Mr. BATE: It will have power when this bill is passed. With respect to the use of the word "Australian' instead of ''New South Wales" it was found by the board that if aboriginals came from an adjoining State and were not classified as Australian aboriginals the hoard has no way of dealing with them. If they play up we have no means of dealing with them. In many cases aboriginals have been enticed away to other States as members of boxing shows or circuses, and having found themselves stranded they have become a charge upon the Aborigines Protection Board to bring them back. There is the case of an aboriginal who came into a large sum for insurance, and who mortgaged his money to a bookmaker, who obtained from him £800 or £900. We were able to get the whole of that money back, and we returned it to the aboriginal. The sole desire of the Aborigines Protection Board is to protect the aboriginals. I urge hon. members to allow the bill to be passed as quickly as possible. There is no need to amend it in Committee.
Mr. HEFFRON (Botany) [9.3]: I listened with close attention to all that was said by the hon. member for South Coast, who, I know, has had a long experience of the aboriginals, and I am sure that he spoke with sincerity. He painted a tragic picture of the black man's lot here, and it is much the same in every country settled by white men. The so-called civilising influence of the white man on the black man has proved demoralising to the latter. The evil effects amongst the aboriginals of such civilising influence result from the taking of strong drink, the use of tobacco, and from venereal disease. As the result of our so called civilising influence on the aboriginals of New South Wales, all we can point to is that, of the numerous tribes that roamed the country when Captain Cook landed on the shores of Botany Bay, there are only 1,000 full-blooded survivors in the State to-day. What a sorry story it is! It is due to the shocking neglect of past Governments to do their duty to the aboriginals, not only in New South Wales, but in other parts of the Commonwealth. We owe a special duty to the aborigines as a race. The Australian aboriginal is different in type from other aborigines. He has in Parliament no spokesman of his own race to champion his cause. In. New Zealand the Maoris have representation in the Legislature, and occupy positions from Cabinet rank right down the scale. They are even members of the professions. The late Sir James Carroll, who was Prime Minister of New Zealand, was a three-quarter caste Maori.
Mr. W. DAVIES: They are a better type than the Australian aboriginals!
Mr. HEFFRON: That does not matter. The fact is that the Government of New Zealand accepted its responsibility to look after the native race. It did all it could to preserve the Maoris, with the result that to-day the race is rapidly increasing in numbers. Perhaps it is rather late in the day to attempt to do much for the Australian aboriginal. But it is never too late to mend. We have been told to-night of the spread of venereal disease amongst the aboriginals, which in many cases has caused blindness. That shows how necessary a measure of this kind is, because the aboriginals have been the victims of the white man for too long. At La Perouse,. in my electorate, there is an aboriginal mission, and, when compared with the manner in which some other aboriginals are treated, they are comparatively well off. At the same time, their treatment does not attain the standard that 1 should like to see.
Mr. BATE: In the country districts we are able to provide milk and other necessaries for them. It would be difficult to do so at La Perouse!
Mr. HEFFRON: It might be. A few-years ago we provided the aboriginals at la Perouse with comfortable fibro-cement cottages. Their old galvanised huts were pulled down and much of the material was transferred to ''Happy Valley." There was much competition for the iron and timber. I mention that, in passing, to show that although we have a responsibility to look after our aborigines we also have the job of looking after our white Australians. 1 am pleased that something of a practical character is to be done. I see in the bill nothing with which I can disagree. Anything that will restrict the use of alcoholic liquors by aborigines and prevent their being turned into "metho" fiends, I heartily support. I know something of the interference and immoral practices of certain persons who wander round La Perouse, although I pay every tribute to those who are running that mission and making a good job of it. However, visited as the aborigines are by large numbers of people at week-ends and other times, the mission is not so easy to control as one might imagine.
I also agree with the hon. member for South Coast, who has referred to the type of person who intermixes with the aborigines. The people who hang round these huts and hovels occupied by the blacks on many of the outskirts of the missions, are the worst types in the community and the breed that comes about as a consequence is of the most undesirable type. It is a difficult problem; it is not a question merely of keeping the black man on the path of rectitude, for the black man very often is the victim. It is because of this that I favour anything that will prevent a continuance of practices that have had such a devastating effect on the health and morality of the aborigines in the past. I would support anything tending to prevent their becoming victims in the future. The tragic story of our own blacks is on all fours with that of the aboriginal inhabitants of other places, including the Solomon Islands.
I agree with the protection afforded against unscrupulous employers. Anything of that nature should be put down,, and the bill will go some way in that direction. On many big stations it has for a long time been the practice to employ aborigines as boundary riders, rouseabouts and general hands. They are used for the busy part of the season and then turned adrift just as a man turns adrift a horse, when he is finished with him. For a long time little regard has; been paid to giving these people decent, wages and conditions. If this bill will in any way improve the state of affairs it will be doing something worth while. 1 should like to draw attention to the provision of proposed new section 13c:
In any case where it appears to the board to be in the best interests of the aborigine concerned the board may direct employers or any employer to pay the wages of the aborigine to the secretary or some other officer named by him,, and any employer who fails to observe such directions shall be deemed to have not paid such wages. The wages so collected; shall be expended solely on behalf of the aborigine to whom they were due, and an account kept of such expenditure. I ask the House whether this proposed new section is in the best interests of the aborigines?
Captain CHAFFEY: The board would take that action only where it was found necessary for the protection of the aborigine against unscrupulous person.
Mr. HEFFRON: That may be so. If the board thinks that an unscrupulous employer is cheating the aboriginal out of his wages, that is all very well.
Mr. ARDILL : Sometimes the relatives of an aboriginal take what they should not from him!
Mr. HEFFRON: Yes. All those things can happen to one who is not well versed in the affairs of the world, but I want to raise the point that with an officious person in charge of a mission there might be interference in the spending of the man's wages. The aboriginal might feel he was entitled to spend his wages as he pleased, just as any other persons, but the money might be eked out to him by the manager of the mission in dribs and drabs. It must be remembered that amongst these aborigines are to be found many intelligent and highly-intellectual people. There are men who are capable of looking after their own interests, I know many of them in my own electorate who are quite capable of doing that. If a person goes out to purchase a boomerang or to do some other business with them, he finds they are very shrewd men. Many of them are backward in education, and are not well versed in the affairs of the world. These people fall ready victims to unscrupulous persons who employ them, and do not pay them what they are entitled to. On the other hand, as I have stated, many of them are capable of looking after their own interests. I have mentioned that to ask the House to consider whether possibly we are not making this bill a little too stringent and curtailing unnecessarily the liberty of these people.
In the matter of medical examinations, I think the health of these people is such a serious matter that steps should be taken to see that in all cases where it is considered that a medical examination should be made that examination should be undertaken. These people have been the prey of unscrupulous individuals for so long that their health has been so seriously affected and such inroads have been made that the very existence of the aboriginal race is threatened. It is a duty we owe to them to see that any steps by way of health examination that are considered necessary should be taken in order to preserve this race. I hope that when the bill is finally passed it will improve the lot of the people from whom we have taken this country, and to whom we owe a duty to make of them a better and a healthier race than they are at the present time.
Mr. ARDILL (Yass) [9.23] : It is not my intention to delay the House very long. The purpose of this measure, as hon, members know, is to make an improvement in the Aborigines Protection Act that will give the Aborigines Protection Board further powers that are needed in the interests of the aborigines themselves. It is known and several of the speakers who have already addressed the House have stated that the aborigines in New South Wales are fast diminishing. This bill is designed for the very purpose of giving further protection and further amenities to the few that now remain. The board has been hampered, in times past by the lack of certain definite powers, and this bill will give the board additional control. The great urgency of this measure has been stressed, I believe, by practically every speaker. That is, from the health point of view. At the present time in some of the western areas of the State where aboriginal stations are situated we find that there has been a serious outbreak of a very contagious disease. It has been stressed that this disease, gonococcal ophthalmia, affects the eyes of the aborigines and causes loss of sight. As a matter of fact, to the aborigines it is not a very serious disease, but once it is contracted by white persons one can almost rest assured that in ninety-nine cases out of every hundred the white patients will lose their sight. The hon. member for South Coast gave the House an instance regarding one of the servants of the board who, through her faithfulness to duty and her unremitting care of the aborigines on one of the stations where this dread scourge had made its appearance, is today lying in St. Vincent's Hospital having completely lost the sight of one eye, and as he said, doctors are making a desperate but, I fear, futile effort to save the sight of the other eye. But the hon. member for South Coast forgot to tell the whole story. In addition to the woman herself, there are her three children. They, too, are under medical treatment, having contracted this dread scourge. It is necessary in the treatment for the aborigines that the treatment should be regular and frequent. The trouble is that the aboriginal is rather careless, and he is not prepared to submit to medical examination periodically. The board has found in the past that it has been unable to compel the aboriginal to submit to medical examination. This bill provides that he shall be compelled, where the board deems it necessary, to come up for medical examination and treatment. Surely there is nobody who will not admit that this is a very necessary and a very wise provision, not only in the interests of the aborigines themselves but in the interests of the white people, those who are closely associated with them on the station and those who live within the vicinity. It has also been stressed that this dread disease is carried by flies and that anybody is likely to become affected with the disease anywhere in the vicinity. It is definitely necessary and urgent that the board should be given this power.
Mr. LANG: If that is all that is in the bill hon. members would not have spoken at all. Why the other provisions?
Mr. ARDILL: The other provisions are necessary. I stress this one particularly, because of its urgency. I do not know anything in the bill that is not necessary.
Mr. LANG: Yes, there is!
Mr. ARDILL: I cannot see anything unnecessary. I do not think the leader of the Opposition will accuse any member of speaking in the House on this measure with any ulterior motive.
Mr. LANG : I do not!
Mr. ARDILL: The one desire of members on both sides of the House is to improve the condition of the aborigines and to improve the control under which they are looked after today. This bill will make that control so efficient that their lot will be improved. That is the only desire of the House. I have looked through the bill very carefully and I cannot see any clause to which any grave exception can be taken. I believe that the clauses in the bill have been drafted with the sole idea of conferring a benefit on the aborigines through the Aborigines Protection Board.
Mr. W. DAVIES: Where an aboriginal works side by side with another person in an industry, does not the hon. member think the aborigine should have as much liberty as the other man?
Mr. ARDILL: In most cases he has.
Mr. W. Dawks: Take, for instance, a quarryman. If an aboriginal who is working in a quarry goes along to a hotel to have a drink he is not allowed to have one!
Mr. ARDILL: Does not the hon. member think that is done for the benefit of the aboriginal'
Mr. W. Davies: He does the same work as the other man!
Mi-. ARDILL: The hon. member can speak on that aspect.
Mr. W. Davies: I am asking the hon. member !
Mr. ARDILL: And I gave the hon. member my opinion. For the protection of the aboriginal it is necessary that the clause should be inserted in the bill. It is also there for the protection of the white people in the towns and villages. Those who nave had any experience know the very serious effect that strong drink has upon the individual.
Mr. W. DAVIES : It also has a very serious effect upon a number, of white people!
Mr. ARDILL: We do not take the risk with the aboriginal, because we know the danger that exists. The board is trying to do its job under difficulties. This bill will help it, but the government should provide more money to make it possible for the board to improve the conditions of the aborigines under its care. The bill does three things. In the first place, it gives the board the right to remove an aboriginal to a reserve, and, in the second place, it gives the board power to terminate the engagement of an aboriginal if it believes that he is being exploited by his employer. In the third place, it authorises the medical examination to which 1 have already referred. Surely those are three things that every hon. member desires should be done.
With regard to the right to remove an aboriginal to a reserve, most of us have seen the unsightly and insanitary conglomeration of dwellings that aborigines erect, usually in close proximity to a town or village. I am sure no hon. member would like a collection of these habitations to be set up outside the town in which he lives. I am sure no member of the Committee wants to see aborigines living in unsightly dwellings under insanitary conditions which are inimical to health.
Mr.W. DAVIES: White men are living in worse shacks than aboriginals are!
Mr. ARDILL.: I am now dealing with aborigines. The board has found that aborigines come from other States and gather on the outskirts of towns and villages, and establish unsightly and insanitary settlements, from which disease spreads. As the Act now is, the board has no authority to break up those settlements, but the bill provides that where, in the opinion of the board, such undesirable conditions exist, the aborigines concerned may be removed to a settlement.
Mr. LANG : There are only 1,000 aborigines in the Stale, so they cannot be everywhere!
Mr. ARDILL: I did not say that they were everywhere. In addition to the 1,000 full blooded aborigines there are, 9.000 half-castes who are classed as aborigines under the Act. To be precise, 10,374 aborigines were provided for by the board last year, and the amount made available to the board by the Government was £54,624, but hon. members must remember that £54,624 had to cover the cost of education, public health, stores, and resumed properties, so that if hon. members work it out they will find that the per capita amount spent on aborigines in New South Wales last year was not. very much. (Note: i.e., approx 10 pence per week (?) That is why I say the Government will have to seriously consider increasing the amount of money made available for the protection of aborigines in New South Wales.
Mr. LANG : (Note: immediately previous Labor Premier) We are not paying them much for the use of their country!
Mr. ARDlLL: Unfortunately, we are not.
An Hon. Member: They get family endowment!
Mr. ARDILL: They do. One member of the Opposition said that family endowment should be paid direct to the recipient and not to the Aborigines Protection Board, but I think it will be agreed that in some instances it is necessary that endowment should be paid to the board, because, if it were paid direct to the recipient, it would not reach the source for which it is intended.
Mr. DAVIDSON : How does the hon. member know?
Mr. ARDILL: The board knows from experience, and the hon. member knows it. too. For that reason the board protects these people against themselves. The board is prepared to take steps to protect aborigines where they will not protect themselves, and I contend that the board, which is the protector and the guardian of these people, should see that family endowment reaches its proper source. It has been proved over and over again that the money has not been expended in the channel for which it was intended, but if it has been it is paid direct in cash to the person who is entitled to receive it.
Mr. BOOTH: Nothing of the kind!
Mr. ARDILL: In the Kurri Kurri electorate there are no aborigines. If aborigines are decent and do not spend their money on drink or in gambling, as some do, family endowment is paid direct to the mother, who uses it for the benefit of her children.
Mr. ACTING-SPEAKER: Order! I ask the hon. member for Kurri Kurri to desist from interjecting.
Mr. ARDILL- Hon. members know that whore the money is used properly it is paid direct in cash to the recipient.
Mr. DAVIDSON: "Bunkum!''
Mr. ARDILL: It is not '-bunkum," and the hon. member knows it is not. As has been said, the control of our aborigines is a difficult problem.
Mr. DAVIDSON: Is the hon, member en the Aborigines Protection Board ?
Mr. ARDILL: I am. That is why I am in sympathy with the aborigines. It has been said that the board has appointed managers of station; who have not been sympathetic and who do not understand the aborigines. The objective of the board has always been to select the very best people offering to be its officers. There may be individual cases where an employee of the board has not shown the sympathy, understanding and interest that the board would desire, but the board is not slow to dispense with the services of an officer who does not possess those qualities.
Mr. BADDELEY: How many stations are there in New South Wales?
Mr. ARDILL: There are twenty two under the administration of the board. The other day the board appointed a welfare officer, and considerable time was taken over the selection of that officer. One of the chief objects that the board had in view was to ensure that the person who occupies the position must have had a definite knowledge of, and have had contact with, aboriginals.
Mr. LANG: Why did the Government that the hon. member supports put foreigners on the board! Does he think all the members of the board understand the aboriginals?
Mr. ARDILL: All I have met do. They are all gentlemen whose sole desire is to help the aboriginals in all circumstances. I have no desire to delay the passage of the bill by speaking at greater length, but I commend it to hon. members. I believe it is a step m the right direction, and that it will provide something that has long been wanted by the board to enable it to more effectively control the aboriginals in New South Wales.
Mr. GOLLAN: I move: That the question be now put.
The House divided: Ayes, 40; noes, 25; majority, 15.
Question so resolved in the affirmative
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
(Mr. BATE in the chair.)
Clause 2. (1) The Principal Act is amended—
(c) by inserting next after section eight the following new sections: —
13B. Whosoever, without lawful authority or excuse the proof whereof shall lie on him, removes an aborigine or causes, assists, entices or persuades an aborigine to remove from a reserve shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.
(i) by inserting next after section 13A the following new sections: —
13B. In any case where an aborigine is living with, or employed by, any other person, and the board has reason to believe that such aborigine is not receiving fair and proper treatment, and is not being paid a reasonable wage, or the board is of opinion that his moral or physical wellbeing is likely to be impaired by continuance in such employment, or that he is being enticed to continue in such employment, the board shall have the power to terminate same and remove the aborigine concerned to such reserve, home or other place as it may direct. For the purposes of this section any officer of the board, or member of the police force, shall have access to such aborigine at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such inspection and inquiries as he may deem necessary.
l3c. In any ease where it appears to the board to he in the best interests of the aborigine concerned the board may direct employers or any employer to pay the wages of the aborigine to the secretary or some other officer named by him and any employer who fails to observe such directions shall he deemed to have not paid such wages. The wages so collected shall be expended solely on behalf of the aborigine to whom they were due, and an account kept of such expenditure.
13d. All actions and other proceedings against any person for the recovery of wages (ie to an aborigine who is, or has boon, employed by such person, or for any breach of an agreement made with an aborigine, may lie instituted and carried on by, or in the name of, an officer of the board, a member of the police force, or any other person authorised by the board.
(j) by inserting next after section fourteen the following new section: —
13e. The board may authorise the medical examination of any aborigine and may have such aborigine so examined, removed to and kept in a public hospital or other institution for appropriate curative treatment, or may require such aborigine to undergo such treatment as and where provided.
Any such examination shall be per formed only by a medical practitioner authorised in that behalf either generally or in a particular ease by the Chief Medical Officer of the Government.
(i) by inserting next after section I3 the following new sections: —
Mr. LANG (Auburn) [9.47] : There is something in the proposed new section, the principle of which I do not agree to, and never have agreed to. The proposed new section states that ''whosoever without lawful authority or excuse, the proof hereof shall lie on him," and so on. I cannot agree lo allow the proof to rest on the person who is accused. To say that a man is guilty unless he can prove his innocence is anti-Australian and anti-British.
Mr. L. O. MARTIN : It does not say that!
Mr. LANG: It means that.
Mr. L.O. MARTIN: It does not!
Mr. LANG: The proposed new sections states "the proof whereof shall lie on him."
Mr.. L.O. Martin: That means the proof that he has lawful authority!
Mr. LANG: It may he, but I cannot agree to the proposal. I move:
That in proposed new section 8b the words "the proof, whereof shall lie on him" be struck out.
Mr. HENRY (Clarence) [9.49]: The leader of the Opposition has on other occasions expressed his dislike to the incorporation of this principle in Acts of Parliament, and I also have intimated my dislike to it. There is a growing tendency to insert this kind of wording in Acts of Parliament making the proof of innocence lie on an accused person, or person interested. It is importing inTo our law a principle of Continental law under which an accused person is regarded as guilty until he disproves the charge against him. I do not think these words are necessary in Acts of Parliament in this country. They are not found in the ancient precedents on which our law has been built up. There is no need for them. The charge should be that the accused party enticed an aborigine to leave a reserve. If the facts are proved he should he convicted. To tell a man that he is charged with enticing an aborigine from a reserve and he is presumed guilty until he proves otherwise, is a horse of a different colour. I agree with the clause but not with the wording and intend to support the amendment.
Mr. DAVIDSON (Cobar) [9.531: I mentioned at the second-reading stage what would be the effect of this bill in this regard.
Captain CHAFFEY: Might I mention that all that is proposed is that a man should show he has lawful authority for enticing an aboriginal away from the reserve. That is not accusing a person !
Mr. DAVIDSON: If a person approached a reserve and an aboriginal voluntarily went away with that person the latter would be accused of enticing the aborigine away. The man might have to prove that he had not enticed him away. The onus .should be on the accuser, not on the accused, that is a principle of British justice. The same principle as this is to be noticed throughout the hill. The onus, for instance, is placed on a person of proving that he is not an aboriginal. For these reasons I support the amendment.
Mr. FOSTER (Vaucluse) I cannot quite see the truth of what the hon. member says. I appreciate the principle he refers to and I do not think the onus of proof should be on the accused. Might I point out to hon. members that if a man is travelling in any country on a passport he must, in order to prove his bona fides, produce that passport on demand. That has been so also in Australia since the passport system was introduced. If a person can show that he has authority to remove an aboriginal it is his duty to produce that authority, I take it that in an ordinary way we are not allowed to remove aborigines from reserves, as their position is somewhat different from that of white men. If, however, I have authority to entice an aboriginal away -
Mr. LANG: No one can get authority to entice an aboriginal!
Mr. FOSTER: I think the clause is plainly put.
Mr. LANG : What happens when someone entices an aboriginal lady out of the reserve ?
Mr. FOSTER: They are not regarded as entirely responsible. A man might say he did it because he had such and such, a reason. If it were a valid reason it would satisfy the person making the inquiry. Provided I had reasonable excuse I could rebut the charge of removing an aboriginal. I might say that it was in the interests of the man himself, for instance. It is my duty to explain my reason. Although I agree with the principle that the onus of proof should not be on the accused, I think, in this case, the position is quite clear.
ABORIGINES PROTECTION (AMENDMENT) BILL
(Consideration resumed from an earlier hour.)
Question - That the words proposed to be struck out (Mr. Lang's amendment) —put. The Committee divided:
Ayes, 37: noes, 26; majority, 11.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived.
Mr. DAVIDSON: (Cobar) [10.5] I move:
That in proposed new section 13B the words ''a reasonable wage" be struck out and there be inserted in lieu thereof the words "a wage in accordance with award rates of wages where such rates are applicable or a reasonable wage when no award a appropriate to his calling exists."
I mentioned during the second-reading stage of the bill that when a half-caste; is employed in any industry, and he is generally employed in the rural industry, if he is a member of the Australian Workers' Union he must be paid the award rate applicable to the work he is doing, and if he is not paid the award rate the Australian Workers Union is there for the purpose of seeing that his rights are protected. In many instances, owing to the actions of the anti-Labour Governments, the whole legislation which protested rural workers has been repealed. There are many occupations in the rural industry where no award rate applies. For that reason, if a man is working and is entitled to the award rate of wages, he should get that award rate, but if there is no award for that occupation the aboriginal should be entitled to a reasonable wage for the work that he is doing. If this amendment is carried, the Aborigines Protection Board would be able to intervene in such cases and see that where there is no award rate a reasonable wage is paid.
Mr. BATE (South Coast) [10.10 pm]: I do not wish to delay the Committee, but I would ask the hon. member to read the whole clause. This clause is designed to deal with those unfortunate cases where girls have been taken into the homes of white people, and it has been discovered that they are working without wages.
Mr. DAVIDSON: A reasonable wage should be fixed for that class of employee !
Mr. BATE: We want to provide for specific cases such as that of the girl who was employed in domestic service for ten years and received no wages.
Mr. BOOTH (Kurri Kurri) [10.13] : I wish to draw attention to certain statements made at the second-reading stage.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. NESS) : Order! I will not allow the hon. member to do that; he must deal with the amendment.
Mr. BOOTH: I support the amendment, but the person concerned should have control of the family endowment allowance, which is part of the basic wage.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. NESS) : Order! There is nothing about family endowment in this clause; the question before the Committee is the payment of the award wage, or where there is no award, a reasonable wage.
Mr. BOOTH : The award wage should be paid. Government supporters said that if an aboriginal mother spends her endowment money in a proper way family endowment is paid in cash.. That is absolutely untrue.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. NESS) : Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the amendment.
Mr. BOOTH: The amendment provides that award rates shall be paid, and if there is no award a reasonable wage, shall be paid. Family endowment is part of the basic wage, and I submit that I am in order in dealing with the matter on the amendment. The Aborigines Protection Board takes family endowment paid to aboriginal mothers and decides how the money shall be spent. I will cite a case from Cardiff. A woman there asked the board for .sufficient money to enable her to buy a perambulator, but the board refused.
Mr. ARDILL.: "Bunkum!''
Mr. BOOTH: It is futile for the hon. member to say "bunkum." If the husband is working for a private employer or is engaged on relief work he receives the wages to which he is entitled, but the board retains family endowment and instructs the storekeeper how it shall be spent. If that is not humiliating, I do not know what is. What is more humiliating than for a half-caste, who has never been in a camp, and whose husband has never been in a camp to be told that the local storekeeper has the endowment cheque and that the money must be spent either on groceries or not spent at all.
Mr. ARDILL: The hon. member docs not know what he is talking about. The storekeeper does not get the cheque!
Mr. BOOTH: The hon. member asked for specific cases, and I am quoting one. The cheque is paid to the storekeeper, and the lady concerned is bound to go to that particular store to spend the money. She cannot even nominate the store that she will deal with. For a respectable woman who does not drink and whose integrity has never been questioned to be, told by the Government that it has no confidence in her, that she is dishonest, and that she cannot spend her endowment money properly, is humiliating in the extreme. The Minister should accept the amendment that has been moved by the hon. member for Cobar.
Question—That the words proposed to be struck out stand—put. The Committee divided:
Ayes, 38; noes, 26; majority, 12.
Mr. DAVIDSON (Cobar) [10.20]: I move:
That in proposed new section 13c the words "'the secretary or some other, officer named by him, and any employer who fails to observe such direction shall be deemed to have not paid such wages. The wages so collected shall be expended solely on behalf of the aborigine to whom they were due, and an account kept of such expenditure" be struck out and there be inserted in lieu thereof the words "such aborigine."
The bill provides that in the case of a prosecution against an employer for wages for an aboriginal the wages shall be paid to the secretary of the board, supposing the prosecution is successful. The proposed new section states that the secretary or some other officer named by him, and any employer, who fails to observe such directions shall be deemed to have not paid such wages, and that the wages so collected shall be expended solely on behalf of the aboriginal to whom they were due, and an account kept of such expenditure. That means that instead of the wages being paid to the aboriginal who does the work they will be paid to the secretary of the board, or to some other officer appointed by the hoard. It will be similar to the payment of family endowment. The wages will be taken control of by the board, and the board will decide how the money shall be expended. I know from experience that the aboriginals would resent such treatment. They feel that if they do the work and earn the money they are justified in saying how the money shall be expended. They know better than the board what, the requirements of their families are. To say to an aboriginal, "You are competent to do the work and earn your wages, but you are not competent to spend the money," is going too far. I know of dozens of cases m connection with which endowment has been confiscated by the board. The managers of the aboriginal missions decide in what manner the money shall be expended, and often they buy something which, for the time being, is useless to the aboriginal's family. I realise it is important that the board should have some control where it is proved beyond doubt that the man who has done the work and earned the money would not use it in the best interests of his family. In such cases the board should step in and take control. But the board has power to do that now, and it does so. The proposal goes too far, because it takes away completely the liberty of these people. Instead of doing that, we should give them more liberty. The least Parliament can do is to say that if these men are competent to earn money they should be allowed to spend it.
Mr. BATE: (South Coast) [10.30] : I hope the Committee will not agree to striking out these words. The board wishes to act only where it considers it will be in the interest of the aborigines concerned. The hon. member for Cobar said that it seemed to be considered that, the aboriginal is not competent to spend the money. The trouble is that he is not competent to hold the money. That is where the whole difficulty lies. It may be a young aboriginal who is receiving wages from an employer, and some older aboriginal gets the whole lot from him. All that is desired is that the money should be placed in some trust account for the use of the person who earns it. That is the whole idea.
Mr. DAVIDSON: Why not set up a similar board to protect white people?
Mr. BATE : It would be a very good thing- in many cases. I have already pointed out to the Committee a startling case of a man leaving a legacy to a young aboriginal that would be worth in time £800 or £900. The young aboriginal sold the rights of this legacy to a fellow in the city, who, I think, was a book maker, for a few pounds.
Air. DAVIDSON: That is an isolated case. The government does not hang the whole community because someone commits a murder!
Mr. BATE: We contrived to get the money back and it is now held in a trust account for this young man. If we had not been doing our duty he would have squandered it;. We only ask the right to do this in other cases where it is known that the money will be taken from them by other aborigines.
Mr. DAVIDSON: According to the hon. member's account, the right of doing that already exists!
Mr. BATE: .No. We took the risk. We put fear into this fellow's heart and he disgorged the money. The same sort of thing has happened over and over again. The older fellows frequent places where younger aborigines, especially girls, are employed and get their money from them. We only ask that power be given to place the money in a. trust account so that the money shall go to the person who earns it.
Question—That the words proposed to be struck out stand -put. The Committee divided:
Ayes - 33; noes -, 26; majority, 7.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived.
Mr. LANG (Auburn) [10.38] I do not seem to be very successful in getting objectionable clauses taken out of bills. I do not approve of the objectionable course proposed in the bill of making accused prove their innocence. There is only one reason the anti-Labour Government is doing this. The proper course will be to pay it back in kind. If 1 repeated the process in proposed new section 13D and aimed it at the employers, every hon. member opposite would vote against it. These poor aboriginals want protection. The employer may not be paying them their wages. According to what I have heard during this debate, they want a lot of protection and I propose to give it them if this Committee wil agree. I move:
That in proposed new section 13p after the word "aborigine" should be inserted the words "(and the averment in the information shall be sufficient evidence of the truth of such averment unless the contrary is shown to the satisfaction of the court)."
I do not like it, because it is a had principle. The principle is bad wherever it is applied, but this Government has been applying a bad, rotten principle in bill after bill. Now, to show the rottenness of it, I have moved this amendment. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. What harm is there in asking the employer to do that ? Has not the employer a receipt for the wages he has paid? Has he not got his hooks of account? Cannot he bring them along and produce them ?
Mr. SINCLAIR: What about a breach of agreement?
Mr. LANG: Let him prove it. If there is any case where it is alleged that wages are due to an aboriginal or there has been a breach of agreement let the employer prove his innocence. Let us apply this principle all round.
Mr. MAIR: Perhaps this is the first bill to eliminate it!
Mr. LANG: What does the hon. member mean'.
Mr. MAIR: Well, the leader of the Opposition has been arguing pretty solidly in the past, and perhaps this the first bill that eliminates the provision !
Mr. LANG: The Government will be in this position that it will vote to reject my amendment. It will be rejected when it is against the employer, but it is accepted when it is against the other individual. The Government will have to stand up to it. It is put in bill after bill in this House. I do not believe in the principle, but if it is included in the bill the Employers' Federation will soon want the Government to take it out.
Captain CHAFFFY [10.50]: The leader of the Opposition knows that he is asking the Committee to agree to something that he confesses should not be incorporated in any bill.
Mr. LANG: It should not, because it is a bad principle !
Captain CHAFFEY: The leader of the Opposition referred to his previous amendment. The Committee decided that it shall lie upon the person to prove that he has lawful authority for the action he takes.
Mr. LANG : No man can have lawful authority to entice a person, because that is a criminal offence. If a man entices a young person from a reserve he is guilty of an offence!
Captain CHAFFEY: Unless he can prove that he has lawful authority.
Mr. LANG : But he cannot have lawful authority for that purpose.
Captain CHAFFEY: An officer can hold authority from the Aborigines Protection Board to remove an aboriginal if he is being exploited by an unscrupulous employer or someone else. Provision is made for a proper method whereby that principle can be applied in such a case. If it is a case of wages both sides can state their case to the court, and the court can determine the matter on the evidence. If it is a case of breach of agreement, the agreement will be submitted to the court, which will determine the matter on the evidence. I ask the Committee to reject the amendment.
Question—That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted—put. The Committee divided:
Ayes, 26; noes, 34; majority, 8.
Question so resolved, in the negative. Amendment negatived.
Mr. HENRY (Government MP) (Clarence) [10.59] : I move:
That in proposed new section 14A after the word ''aborigine'' first occurring there be inserted the words "or a person apparently having an admixture of aboriginal blood", and also that after the word "aborigine"' second occurring there be inserted the words "or person".
Hon. members probably know what the definition of "aborigine" is in the Act. There the word means "any full-blooded or half-caste aboriginal who is a native of New South Wales." To overcome the limitation of definition of an aboriginal who may claim to have been born outside New South Wales, provision has been made in clause 2 (a) (i) to omit from the definition ''aborigine" in section 3 of the Act the words "New South Wales'" and to insert in lieu thereof the words "Australia and who is temporarily or permanently resident in New South Wales." I understand that the principal object of the bill is to prevent the spread of venereal disease infection in aboriginals to the eyes of white persons who come in contact, with aboriginals. The bill will bring diseased aboriginals under curative treatment. Under the Act the board may authorise the medical examination in any aboriginal, but "aboriginal" in the Act means a full-blooded or a half-caste native of Australia. If the man is a quarter-caste or an octoroon and is infected with a communicable disease he cannot be compelled to submit to treatment. Unless the Committee agrees to my amendment only full-blooded und halt-caste aboriginals can be dealt with. On the reserves to-day only one out of ten are full-blooded aboriginals, and probably only one out of four are quarter-blooded. The whole of the reserves may be inspected, but only the full-blood- and half-castes could be dealt with.
Captain CHAFFEY [11.5]: The point raised by the hon. member for Clarence deserves the earnest consideration of Parliament. At the moment I am just a little doubtful as to the probable effect of this amendment, but I appreciate the spirit in which it was moved. I desire to do the right thing, and I ask the hon. member to withdraw the amendment on my assurance that I shall go definitely into the matter, and if the position is as the lion, member says it is, I will ask my colleague in the Upper House to have the amendment made there. I clearly see the point that the lion, member has raised.
Mr.HENRY: On the Minister's assurance, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment!
Amendment (by leave) withdrawn.
Mr. DAVIDSON (Cobar) [11.7]: T move:
That in proposed new section the words "justice or" be struck out and there be substituted in lieu the words "or two."
Under the proposed new section the court would have power to determine whether or not a person is an aboriginal. Proposed new section 18 A provides that in any proceedings for an offence against the Act, or upon a breach of a regulation made thereunder, the averment in the information or complaint that any person therein named or referred to was an aboriginal, or the reference in the information or complaint to such person as an aboriginal shall be sufficient evidence of the truth of such averment, or reference, unless the contrary is shown to the satisfaction of the court. The tribunal will comprise a judge, coroner, magistrate, justice, or justices. Hon. members should bear in mind that many disputes arise when aboriginals apply for family endowment, and the board decides whether a man is an aboriginal for the purposes of endowment. Hundreds of those people are quarter-castes or half-castes, and the board says they are not aboriginals within the meaning of the law.
Captain CHAFFEY [l1.9]: I take it that the hon. member does not want to see these cases determined before a single justice of the peace. Section 13 of the Act provides:
Proceedings for an offence against this Act or for a contravention of the regulations may be taken before a stipendiary or police magistrate or any a member of a local committee, a guardian, a member, or an officer of the board, or member of the police force.
I think the hon. member has in mind the fact that a judge is sometimes referred to as a justice. Here again, I give hon. members an assurance that I will examine that matter and ascertain the full implication of the wording. I want to do exactly as the hon. member wants to do and avoid these cases being decided by a justice of the peace sitting alone. They ought to be determined by a stipendiary magistrate or two justices. Section I8 of the Act provided that a decision must be given by two justices. I ask the hon. member to accept my assurance that if the proposed new section does not do what I think and what he suggests ought to he done. I will take proper steps to give effect to his proposal.
Mr. DAVIDSON: If the Minister will do that and satisfy himself that the wording dotes not mean that one justice of the peace can hear the case I will withdraw my amendment!
Amendment (by leave) withdrawn.
Mr. LANG: (Auburn) [11.14]. Many of these coloured persons write in to hon. member; complaining about the harsh treatment they receive. They are not pure-blooded aborigines and they say they are hunted from town to town and suffer all sorts of persecution. A wife writes and says her husband is a good man, able and willing to work, but he is hounded down. If some authority is going to say that these married couples must be put back into a camp or mission, the difficulty is that it may not be possible to prove they are aborigines. There may not be sufficient evidence before the magistrate, justices, or judge to know that they are aborigines. No matter what they prove the judge, or magistrate, or justices can say that there is no evidence to show they are aborigines. The person on the bench may say, "I will have a look at you. According to your colour you are an aborigine—away you go."' That might apply even to an hon. member of this House. I want to help the board, but hon. members must be very careful in giving a vote that they do not inflict an injustice upon these people.
Mr. BATE (South Coast) [11.17]: The reason for the introduction of this amendment, is that there were two courses to choose between. One was to allow these people to go on in their nomadic habits. The other was to provide them with sanctuaries. Where they were living in insanitary conditions round about some of the towns and the board or council asked that they be taken they away, it was found that it could not always be done. In one case a clever solicitor said that the board could not show that n person was an aboriginal and we found that we could not, because when we produced the man's birth certificate there was nothing in it to show that the. man was an aboriginal. The only desire is to protect these people from being in the precincts of these towns. We want to provide them with a sanctuary, not to confine them. We want to take them away from these town- for their own sake as well as tor the sake of the public. The board, over and over again, has received complaints from councils and residents of towns, but has not been able to do anything. This provision will give it the necessary power. On the fact of it, it may look difficult or queer, but it is only in the interests of the people concerned.
Captain CHAFFEY [11.18] I want to add one observation to what the hon. member for South Coast has said. A similar provision to this exists in the Queensland, South Australian and West Australian legislation; it has operated for some time. As a matter of fact, it is couched in stronger terms than this proposal and the powers in those States are exercised, really, by the Commissioner or public authority, and not the court. I have not seen fit here to go quite so far and have left the determination, to the court. I believe the experience gained elsewhere, plus the fact that there is not a member of the Aborigines' Protection Beard whose sincerity is questioned by anyone, will result in this provision working smoothly and to the advantage of all concerned. The attitude of the board is one of sympathy and practical assistance to these aborigines; at the same time it protects their interests. In asking the Committee to accept the provision I feel confident it will work out satisfactorily.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Aborigines Protection Bill
30 June, 1936
ABORIGINES PROTECTION (AMENDMENT) BILL.
The Hon. J. RYAN (Assistant Minister) [5.32], moved:
That this bill be now read a second time.
He said: This bill is designed as a result of the actual experience of the Aborigines Protection Board—a very representative body which has had years of experience in dealing with matters affecting aboriginals—and its object is to afford assistance in the better promotion and safeguarding of the welfare of aboriginals, and also to bring the existing Act up to date in certain directions. An amendment is proposed with the object of bringing- within the jurisdiction of the Act aboriginals who enter New South Wales from other States. Under the existing law aboriginals entering this State from another part of the Commonwealth evade the operation of the law relating to aboriginals m the State whence they came, and who in this State are outside the jurisdiction of the board. This condition of affairs is most undesirable, and the proposed amendment has been drafted with a view to rectifying it. At the present time cases arise in which aboriginals who are actually natives of New South Wales claim, for various reasons of their own, that they belong elsewhere, and unnecessary difficulty is involved in controlling them. Methylated spirits is included in the definition of liquor in the bill. This has been done on the advice of responsible officers who have shown that methylated ..."
TO BE CONTINUED
In 1936 the Board assumed further powers with respect to Aborigines "living in unsanitary or undesirable conditions" or "not receiving fair and proper treatment" from employers. Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1936, s 2(l)(c).
Aborigines Protection (Amend.) Act 1936 [assented 10 July 1936]
Aborigines Protection Act 1936 is reprinted as amended. (Includes forcible
return to reserves and home State, forcible medical treatment). Reference may
also be made to the following Acts: Liquor act, 1912; supply of liquor to any
aboriginal native of Australia, or any person belonging to any of the coloured
races of the South Pacific islands. (Act No. 25, 1909) An Act to provide for the
care and protection of aborigines; to repeal the Supply of Liquors to Aborigines
Prevention Act; to amend the Vagrancy Act, 1902, and the Police Offences
(Amendment) Act, 1906; and for the purposes consequent thereon or incidental
thereto [Assented to, 29th December, 1909]
The Aborigines Protection Act 1936 is reprinted as amended. (Includes forcible return to reserves and home State, forcible medical treatment). Reference may also be made to the following Acts: Liquor act, 1912; supply of liquor to any aboriginal native of Australia, or any person belonging to any of the coloured races of the South Pacific islands. (Act No. 25, 1909) An Act to provide for the care and protection of aborigines; to repeal the Supply of Liquors to Aborigines Prevention Act; to amend the Vagrancy Act, 1902, and the Police Offences (Amendment) Act, 1906; and for the purposes consequent thereon or incidental thereto [Assented to, 29th December, 1909]
[Source: The Public Acts of New South Wales 1824-1937: (Law Book Company) Vol. 1, Aborigines Protection].
".. the aboriginal problem .. The White Australia policy is considered
"Professor F Wood Jones, Professor of Anatomy in the University of Melbourne, was one of the very few Australians who spoke up on behalf of Australia's Aboriginal population, at a time when most held Daisy Bate's views about The Passing of the Aborigines...... he said 'It has been said recently, and by persons of eminence, that when the white man came to Australia he found a dying and degenerate race... That is the humbug with which the white man has always gilded his extermination of native races.... The Aborigines were never a dying race until we started to make them die. When the white man came there were 300,000 aborigines living happily and healthily in Australia; today there are certainly fewer than 50,000, and twice as many half-castes, existing miserably. Has there ever been any desire, on the part of Governments or of the general body of the public, to preserve the native? No Australian Government, I venture to say, has had any desire to preserve the native race. The Government point of view is something like this-they are going to die; it is better that they should die and get rid of the blot as quickly as possible.... Referring to the need for medical aid for the aborigines, Professor Wood Jones said that easily cured diseases went untreated because the Government would not adopt the policies it had adopted so successfully in the mandated territories. The Government would not permit lay persons to give medical assistance, and the Government medical officers never got near the great body of the aborigines.' I could tell you most harrowing stories of natives who suffered from yaws ... It is extremely prevalent, and it can be cleared up quickly by an injection which can be administered by any lay person. But the Government will not allow a lay person to do it. The blacks must be left to suffer and die from yaws..'"
Wood Jones, Professor F, Argus, Melbourne:. "Blacks Not Degenerate", in Crowley FK, Modern
Australian Documents 1901-1939 (Wren Publishing 1973)
Committee on Aborigines Protection Board, 1937
Committee on administration of Aborigines Protection Board; proceedings ,, minutes of
evidence, and exhibits. (9.11.1937) (13.7.1938) NSW Pp.1938/39/40
of Royal Commissions DH Borchardt 1855-1960 (1975) ]
Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1940
In 1940 the Board was reconstituted by the Aborigines
Protection (Amendment) Act 1940 (No. 12). This Act renamed the Board the
Aborigines Welfare Board, and broke the nexus between the position of Chairman
of the Board and Inspector General of Police. From then on the Chairman of the
Board was to be ex officio the Under Secretary of the Chief Secretary's
Department. The other members of the Board were: the Superintendent of
Aboriginal Welfare (a Board official); an officer of the Department of Public
Instruction; an officer of the Department of Public Health; a member of the
police force of or above the rank of inspector; an expert in agriculture; an
expert in sociology and/or anthropology and three nominated by the Minister. The
Board's membership structure was changed once more in 1943 by the Aborigines
Protection (Amendment) Act 1943 (No. 13) which provided for the appointment
of two Aborigines to the Board. This Act also provided for the incorporation of
the Board; and for exemptions from those parts of the Act which prohibited
Aborigines from being supplied with alcohol. (These liquor provisions were
removed from the Act in 1963.)
come: documents 1937-1941
In 1940, the policy of "assimilation" was declared to be a policy to be pursued by the newly constituted Aborigines Welfare Board, which replaced the Aborigines Protection Board.' However, the degree of protection and control exercised upon reserves was not reduced. (Law Book Co.)
Government William John McKELL, Premier,16.05.41 - 06.02.47
Commonwealth given State's powers over Aborigines
Powers Act 1942 (number 18 of 1943); Commonwealth
given State's powers over Aborigines for 5 post war years.
Government James McGIRR, Premier, 06.02.47 - 02.04.52
Aborigines Protection Act, 1909-1943
Protection Act, 1909-1943 The
Aborigines Protection Act 1909 is
reprinted as amended by-Aborigines Protection Amending Act, 1915, Act No. 2,
1915, Assented to, 15th Feb., 1915) Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act, 1918, Assented to, 12th
March, 1918, Act No. 7, 1918; Aborigines
Protection (Amendment) Act, 1936. Act No. 32, 1936 Assented to, 10th
Government Gazette No 88 of 14th
June, 1940, p2525; Aborigines Protection
(Amendment) Act, 1943, No.13 Assented
to, 25th June, 1943. Date of commencement of s.(2)3, for certain
purposes, 25th June, 1943; for all purposes, 5th
1945; s.2(1) (2) and Government Gazette No 68
of 5th July, 1945, p.1165. Reference may be made to the
following Acts:- Aborigines Protection
(Amendment Act), 1940, s.2.(2);
Dissolution of the board for the protection of aborigines, Aborigines Protection
(Amendment) Act, 1943, s.2: reconstitution
of the Aborigines Welfare Board, Welfare Board's powers re land, custody,
(Amendment) Act 1946 (No.34 of 1946; repeal of
certain prohibitions on supply of liquor.
"In 1943 the newly-elected State Labor Government introduced amending legislation which gave some recognition to the granting of Aborigines' citizenship rights 2 Two positions on the Aborigines Welfare Board were reserved for Aboriginal representatives,3 and the exemption certificate system was created, which allowed certain Aborigines who, in the opinion of the Aborigines Welfare Board ought no longer be subject to the now repealed Aborigines Protection Act 1909, to enjoy the full privileges of citizenship." [Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1909, s 18c as inserted by Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1943].[Law Book Company Digest]
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
".. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights .. Article 2 'Everyone is entitled to all the rights set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.' On December 1948 the Assembly, with Evatt in the chair, had adopted its first human rights convention, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Genocide Convention Bill was introduced by Chifley. Menzies supported the bill and added, 'Legislation must follow to enact the Convention' ... No legislation has followed .. "
Whitlam, Gough; Abiding Interests (University
of Queensland Press,1997) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights .. Article 2
"Under the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948-1966, all Aborigines are British subjects and Australian citizens."
Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official
Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of
Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 957)
Party Act 1951,
relevance (see also Vagrancy Acts, consorting with Aborigines); cross references
to speeches about the dangers of, and the suppression of socialism (include
Minister Abbot's comment about socialism and Aborigines, 2002 and also March
Checklist of Royal Commissions DH Borchardt Part 1 Cth 1900-1950 131.
Board of inquiry appointed to inquire into the land and land industries of
the Northern Territory of Australia. Report. (23.3.1937) (8.10.1937)
A.Pp.1937/40 III: 813-