HC Deb 13 May 1892 vol 4 cc831-2
MR. WINTERBOTHAM (Gloucester, Cirencester)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies a question of which I have given private notice. Is it true, as reported in a Times telegram to-day, that the Royal Assent has been given to the Bill lately passed by the Queensland Government for the resuscitation of the traffic with Kanaka, which has been called the "White Slave Trade"?


I have seen the telegram, which is substantially correct. A telegram has also been received through the Agent General of Queensland, which I will read— Governor of Queensland out of reach of telegraphic communication. Act has been assented to. Merely repeals prohibition of issue of licences after '90. Present regulations remain in force until amended. Revised regulations, still more stringent, ready. Will be issued immediately on Governor's return. Government fully recognise necessity stringent regulations. Fully determined to prevent infringement. Many return Islanders waiting passage to Islands. It is proposed to issue recruiting licences under conditions of revised regulation to ships taking them. Sugar industry already shows great revival. Matter of importance to afford every facility for supply of labour as soon as possible.


Considering the deep interest taken in the country on this question, will the right hon. Gentleman not telegraph for these revised regulations, and have them laid on the Table of the House?


I cannot promise to do that. The hon. Member will see from the Paper which I shall shortly present that, as I have already stated, immigration has for the last five years been carried on without any complaint. Before licences can be issued, the regulations are to be made still more stringent. Under these circumstances, and having regard to the assurances contained in the telegram I have read, Her Majesty's Government do not entertain any doubt as to the efficiency of the safeguards proposed by the Queensland Government.


The right hon. Gentleman has not stated whether or not the Royal Assent has been given. He said the Governor's assent had been given. I suppose that can be overridden by the Royal Prerogative? Has the final assent of the Crown been given?


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The Bill has become law; and unless it is disallowed, it is in force.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the High Commissioner of the Pacific will look after the recruiting? Will the recruiting outside of British dominions come within the cognisance of our Agent?


I think the explanation I have given to the House is satisfactory. I have no reason to doubt for a moment the sincerity of the assurance given us by the Queensland Government.