Resource Sheet 2

The workers’ design for a triumphal arch

A cartoon from The Worker, January 1900.

The Worker, January 1900, State Library of Queensland.

A southern labour view – Mr McDonnell

Is this Commonwealth Bill going to improve the condition of the workers of Queensland? Will this Constitution that we are asked to live under for all time, and which our children will be obliged to live under, promote more the happiness and comfort of the people as a whole…?

…The local retailers will, at all events, reduce as far as possible their local purchases, and manufacturers will feel the effect from the very start. The result will be that there will be a decrease in the number of persons employed, and from the very start the manufactures of Queensland will suffer by the new arrangement. I feel certain that we are not in a position to compete with the more mature manufacturing industries of the southern colonies, and I am not in a position to subscribe to a Commonwealth Bill that will have the effect of throwing a large number of persons out of employment.

Queensland, Parliamentary Debates, Session 1899, Vol. LXXI, pp 281, 285.

A northern labour view – Mr Dawson

The alien curse was growing, and, judging the future by the past, Mr Dawson could not see much hope for the democracy of Queensland fighting by itself and effectually checking the evil…

“we shall federate in order to bring to our assistance the real power of our democratic brothers in the other colonies. I feel confident that when we are under the Commonwealth, with our own efforts and the tremendous assistance of our fellow-Australians, we shall put a very speedy and a very effective check on the coloured aliens, and whatever wealth there is to be gained, or comfort to be enjoyed, or work to be done, it will be for the white Australia…”

The Brisbane Courier, 8 August 1899.

Barton defies the ‘kanaka’ interest and cleans up Queensland

A cartoon from The Bulletin, 19 October 1901

The Bulletin, 19 October 1901, National Library of Australia.
Students, please note: today, a cartoon such as this would be considered racist.