The New Hebrides and the Transvaal

It has repeatedly been pointed out in these columns that there is no essential difference between the Liberal and Tory parties. The way the Liberals have shuffled out of their promises to the electorate, particularly regarding the Chinese Labour Ordinance, is patent to all; and now we have them perpetrating a New Hebrides Convention that is in all ways worse than the Ordinance they were elected to overthrow. Out of their own mouths they stand condemned. Thus the Daily Chronicle says :

“Let us state the case at its worst, so that Liberals may appreciate the point which they have to meet. The Liberal Party and the Liberal Government have denounced the system of indentured Chinese labour in South Africa. By the New Hebrides Convention the same Government has set its seal upon a system of indentured labour which is, or may be, far more oppressive and objectionable. The indentured labour drawn from China is confined to adult males. From the New Hebrides, unmarried women may also be indentured, and children ‘if they are of a certain minimum height.’ The women or children may be employed between sunrise and sunset, with an interval of only one hour, and at rate of 10s. a month. There might also, in the case of labourers indentured from the New Hebrides, be no inspection during employment.
“Such are the facts, or rather such is that part of the facts about which on Opposition platforms we are likely to hear a good deal more. In the debate in the House last night, the party business was largely of the pot and kettle order. To the Opposition’s taunt, ‘With what face can you condemn the Chinese Labour Ordinance when you have sanctioned the New Hebrides Convention ?’ the Ministerial reply was ‘With what face can you condemn indentured labour in the New Hebrides when you introduced it into the Transvaal ?’ Each side in turn described the other as ‘Satan rebuking sin.'”

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