Asian Studies Program

Chinese Australia

Digital Documents Record


1634 Proposed amendment to the Factories and Shops Act, 1904

Full Document Caption:
This article describes how a proposed amendment to the Shops and Factories Act would operate. This particular bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly but was not subsequently passed by the Legislative Council. It specifically targeted Chinese employees and employers working in factories or workshops. Chinese furniture-makers were the primary target of the bill.

Source: 'Chinese restriction bill', Argus, 23/11/1904, p.7

Region: Date From: 1904 To: 1904
Victoria    

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CHINESE RESTRICTION BILL.

The bill to amend the Factories and Shops Acts, with a view of restricting the competition of Chinese in the furniture and laundry trades, has aroused considerable feeling. As the bill was sent to the Council by the Assembly it provides that no Chinese person, whether an employer or employe, shall after January 1, 1905, work or be employed in any factories unless such person holds a license, and no Chinese person so licensed shall transfer or lend his license to any other person. The chief inspector shall issue such a license to any Chinese person who at any time during the October, 1904, worked in a factory, or was employed in or was the occupier of a factory of work-room in Victoria, and who applies for such a license within fourteen days form the passing of this act.

In the event of the chief inspector refusing to issue such a license to any Chinese person so applying for a license such Chinese person may appeal to the Minister against such refusal; and the Minister may grant such a license if satisfied that such Chinese person worked or was employed in or was the occupier of a factory or work-room at any time during the said month in the state of Victoria. No license to a Chinese person shall have any force or effect for a longer period than twelve months. Such period shall be expressly stated in each such license. A fee of 2/6 shall be paid for every license.

A Chinese person, whether an employer or employe, when working or employed in a factory or work-room, shall produce his license whenever demanded by an inspector of factories or a member of the police force. The onus of proof that a Chinese person is licensed under this section shall be on such person. No Chinese person who is an employer shall receive or keep as a boarder or lodger any Chinese person who is employed by him in any factory or work-room. No Chinese person who is an employe in a factory or work-room shall receive or keep as a boarder or lodger any Chinese person who employs him in a factory or work-room.

After January 1, 1905, no building or place shall be used as a factory or work-room in which a Chinese person is to work if there is any means of access from such factory or work-room to the dwelling (if any) attached thereto, without leaving the factory or work-room by a door opening directly into a public street or right-of-way. Every factory in which a Chinese person is employed shall be absolutely closed and locked up at fifteen minutes past 5 o'clock in the evening, and shall not be unlocked or opened or used again until half-past 7 o'clock the next morning. On each Saturday every such factory or work-room shall be absolutely closed and locked up fifteen minutes past 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and shall not be unlocked or opened or used again until half-past 7 on the next following Monday morning. This restriction shall not prevent any necessary measures being taken to extinguish any fire which may occur during the hours when a factory or work-room is closed and locked up.

In any factory or work-room no Chinese person shall be employed except in a room so constructed that it is visible from a public street or right-of-way. In every such room there shall be a window at least 1ft. square in size, the lowest part being not more than 5ft. or less than 3ft. above the ground. Such window shall, during the hours such factory or work-room is by law required to be closed, be kept free from any obstruction other than iron bars or wire netting, but such bars or netting shall be so placed or constructed as not to prevent the interior of the room being visible from outside such window. In any proceedings against a Chinese person for a breach of any of the provisions of the Factories and Shops Acts the onus of proof that the person named in the summons is not a Chinese person shall in all cases be on the defendant.