Opinion Number. 239

Subject

TREATIES AFFECTING COMMONWEALTH AT FEDERATION EFFECT OF MOST FAVOURED NATION PROVISION IN TREATY BETWEEN UNITED KINGDOM AND JAPAN APPLIED TO QUEENSLAND

Date
Client
The Prime Minister

The question whether the Treaty of 1894 between Great Britain and Japan still operates with respect to Queensland was dealt with by Mr Attorney-General Deakin in an opinion of 16 January 1902.(1)

Mr Deakin was of opinion that, at least as regards immigration of Japanese, the Treaty as accepted by the Colony of Queensland was not binding upon the Commonwealth.

I observe that, upon receipt of telegraphic information of the purport of the opinion, the Secretary of State for the Colonies telegraphed as follows:

Your telegram of 18th January, am consulting Law Officers, but as at present advised consider Treaty with Japan and Agreement of October, 1900, still subsist and Immigration Restriction Act inconsistent with latter.

No information as to the opinion of the Law Officers seems to have been received.

I concur in Mr Deakin's opinion, and think that it applies also to the obligations of Queensland under Article V-which provides for 'most favoured nation' treatment in respect of the tariff.

I also concur with Mr Blair that-whether the Treaty is still operative as regards Queensland, or is not-so long as Japan continues to admit Queensland goods under the lower tariff, there is nothing to prevent Queensland merchants taking advantage of the fact.

I would suggest, however, that if Japan is granting tariff concessions to Queensland which are not granted to the other States, the Imperial Government might be asked to make representations with a view to removing the anomaly and securing equality of treatment.

[Vol. 5, p. 232]

(1) Opinion No.37.

* See also Opinion No. 301.