EXPOSING THE SLAVERS
‘Beware how you speak of my son Ernest. He is too well known for base slanders to affect his character. His morals were not learned in New Guinea.’ So cabled an enraged Rebecca Morrison to Captain Lilyblack, master of one of the slavers during the controversy that erupted in the wake of Morrison’s exposé.
The young reporter was under fire, not only from the scoundrels engaged in the trade but also from their political protectors in the Queensland Government. Premier Mackenzie had by then been succeeded by Samuel Griffith, whose later claim to fame was as one of the architects of the Australian Constitution.1 In fact, the federation of the Australian states would have an unintended consequence for Griffith and his ilk. A combination of the implicit racism in British imperial