[Editor: This untitled article was published in the news section of the Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 27 May 1892.]
[The speeches of the members for Balmain]
The speeches of the members for Balmain on Wednesday evening showed the difficulty in which Australia has been landed by the black labor legislation of Queensland. Mr. Johnston, speaking on that subject, said that, so far as colonial federation was concerned, he would be no party to federating with any colony that employed slaves.
This is, no doubt, the feeling of a large number of electors; but the kanaka problem can be looked at from another point of view. That it has arisen at all is a fault of federation not having been undertaken in a workable and acceptable form.
Relations with inferior races would be a matter with which a federal government would be peculiarly fitted to deal, because if such a matter has, as at present, to be left to separate legislatures, one colony may encourage an immigration which it cannot prevent injuriously affecting neighbors who may not want alien labor but have no natural frontiers at which it can be dammed back.
The utterances of Mr. Playford, the South Australian Premier, reported to-day, concerning the necessity of surrounding with the most complete safeguards the scheme for introducing Coolies into the Northern Territory, a scheme which he favors, point the same moral as the remarks of Mr. Johnston. Mr. Playford says
It is a serious thing to locate permanently, or indeed without proper safeguards to introduce into any part of Australia an Asiatic people, however few they may be at first; and he asks when these people had increased and multiplied, how could they be confined to tropical Australia? Would they not find their way south, with the inevitable result that they would compete with our own people, and thus compel them to live as Indians, to leave the country, or drive them back again into tropical Australia?
The great question, which we are inclined to answer in the negative is, are any safeguards likely to avail?
Another point of Mr. Johnston’s speech was worthy of note, that in which he said that although he did not always agree with the articles in the press, he must admit that if some of them were more carefully perused a great deal of trouble would be saved.
It is so rare to find a non-journalist who does not think that he could edit the London Times better than the gentleman at present entrusted with that duty, that when he is found he should be made a note of. The discovery of such a phenomenon in the bosom of the Labor party is specially noteworthy, as that party has hitherto been inclined to hold that the press was unanimously “agin it,” misreported it, and misrepresented it.
Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 27 May 1892, p. 4
agin it = (Scottish; dialectical; vernacular) “against it” (opposed to it), often used in a facetious or humorous manner
Balmain = an electorate for the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales; in earlier years it varied between being a single-member electorate and a multi-member electorate
See: “Electoral district of Balmain”, Wikipedia
coolie = a low-cost Asian worker, unskilled labourer, or indentured labourer, especially one of Chinese or Indian ethnicity (can be spelt with or without a capital letter: Coolie, coolie, although usually the latter; plural: Coolies, coolies); of or relating to coolie labour
dammed = stopped, obstructed, restricted (to stop something, just as a dam stops the flow of water)
hitherto = previously, before, up until now, up to now, up to this time, up to this point, heretofore
Johnston = James Johnston (1854-1930), trade unionist, politician; he was born in Liverpool (England) in 1854, moved to Australia with his parents in 1857, represented the electorate of Balmain (1891-1894) in the NSW Parliament (for the Labor Party, and then the Protectionist Party), and died in Sydney (NSW) in 1930
See: 1) “Mr James JOHNSTON (1854 – 1930)”, Parliament of New South Wales
2) “James Johnston (New South Wales politician)”, Wikipedia
Playford = Thomas Playford (1837-1915), politician; he was born in Bethnal Green (London, England) in 1837, moved to Australia with his parents in 1844, was Premier of South Australian twice (1887-1889, 1890-1892), Senator for South Australia (1901-1906), Minister for Defence (1905-1907), and died in Kent Town (Adelaide, SA) in 1915
See: 1) John Playford, “Playford, Thomas (1837–1915)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Thomas Playford II”, Wikipedia
press = the print-based media, especially newspapers (can be spelt with or without a capital letter: Press, press)
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]