The victorious election speech of Alfred Deakin is a reflection of the sentiment of the entire Australian parliament in 1903, it reads:
You probably believe that a white Australia is secure. I hope it is, but it won’t be secure unless a vigilant watch is kept upon proposals to tamper with it. None of a serious character have been put forward by anybody in a responsible position, but there are indications that we may have to defend the principle yet. So far as this Government is concerned it will be ready for the emergency. A white Australia does not by any means mean only the preservation of the complexion of the people of this country. It means the multiplying of their homes, so that we may be able to occupy, use and defend every part of our continent; it means the maintenance of conditions of life fit for white men and white women; it means equal laws and opportunities for all; it means protection against the underpaid labor of other lands; it means social justice so far as we can establish it, including just trading and the payment of fair wages.
A white Australia means a civilisation whose foundations are built upon healthy lives, lived in honest toil, under circumstances which imply no degradation. Fiscally a white Australia means protection. We protect ourselves against armed aggression, why not against aggression by commercial means. We protect ourselves against undesirable colored aliens, why not against the products of the undesirable alien labor?
A white Australia is not a surface, but it is a reasoned policy which goes down to the roots of national life, and by which the whole of our social, industrial, and political organisations is governed.
The next necessity for a white Australia will be to pass the Arbitration Bill, to prevent strikes, and lock-outs, and provide for the adjustment of all those feuds between employer and employee by an impartial industrial court, which will give a certain guarantee for the investment of capital, and for the just treatment of white workers. This measure will be introduced in the first session of the new Parliament. It was only laid aside on the last occasion because it was perfectly plain that this election must be held shortly, and there would not have been time to pass it through both Houses. If we attempted it we should only have lost many useful measures without securing it.
A white Australia is not possible without whites. Where is Australia to obtain white men and women if we neither produce them ourselves nor attract them from abroad. (Cheers) Look at the matters which lie within the control of the states. They own the land, and land is the great temptation to new settlers from the old world. They own the mines, and the mines have helped to make the reputation of Australia. They own the waterworks, which determine a the distribution of settlement in many districts. They also own the railways, by which the land has been opened up. They control all these factors. (Cheers)
Alfred DeakinIn the United States the Government owns the land, and there is now proceeding in the western states of that country one of the most gigantic operations in the sway of settlement ever witnessed, the reclamation of hundreds of thousands of acres of what is desert land by means of the utilisation of the water resources in its neighbourhood. This is being undertaken by a Federal Government, but we a have not under the Constitution any power to make a commencement in such a work. Consequently when you consider the need for cheap land, for liberal mining laws, for an efficient water supply, and for low freight rates, all these must be obtained from the state Legislatures. The Commonwealth may co-operate with them, and will do so to the utmost of its power. We want white people; we want them on the soil.