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Wednesday, 16 March 1966

Sir KEITH WILSON (Sturt) .- We all look forward to the time when the world will be at peace and we can devote our resources to the development of Australia, the raising of the standards of living of the people of Australia and the assistance of the under privileged, both in Australia and in undeveloped countries. However, we know that this is impossible at the present time. The most populous country in the world, Communist China, has adopted a policy of international Communism. It is determined to subject all the peoples of the free world to the materialistic, atheistic policy of Communism. It wants to force the doctrines to which it is dedicated upon the peoples of the free world and to enslave them for the benefit of the ruling clique of Communist China. While this threat exists, we have no alternative but to spend a sub.santial portion of our resources upon our defence and upon the maintenance of freedom throughout the world.

To establish that the threat of Communist China exists, it is not necessary to do any more than read the statements of the Communist leaders. They have been quoted in this House and I do not propose to repeat them. Quite apart from the words of the leaders of Communist China, we have only to look at their actions - their unprovoked attack upon India, their attempts to subvert South Vietnam and their present threats to Thailand. Anyone who shuts his eyes to Communist statements and Communist actions is simply deluding himself. Today we are defending Australia by stopping Communist aggression in South Vietnam. It is much better for us to defend our country from this fiendish doctrine of Communism away from Australia - away from our own backyard. I believe that the most pleasing thing in the very excellent statement made by the Prime Minister was his reference to his talks with Mr. Healey from the United Kingdom and with the Vice-President of the United States of America. It showed in the clearest terms a realisation of the need for the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia to get together and formulate a common foreign policy. I believe that each of those countries and New Zealand realises that our defence depends not only upon ourselves but on one another. If we can stand united we can be the greatest force for peace that the world has ever seen.

The policy of the Communists is to divide the United States and the United Kingdom; also, of course, they want to divide Australia and New Zealand but we, being smaller, are less important in the eyes of the Communists. What the Communists fear most is the unity of the United Kingdom and the United States. The closer we can get to both of these countries, the more we can aid them and stand side by side with them, the greater chance we have of securing world peace and the greater chance the world has of securing peace. I should like honorable members to think for one moment of what would have happened had the attempted coup in Indonesia on 30th September succeeded. Everybody realises that it was just touch and go. The Communists of Indonesia, backed by the Chinese Communists, worked out a carefully prepared plan to a stage a Communist takeover on 30th September. They succeeded to the extent of murdering a number of Indonesian generals, but fortunately one general escaped and he, rallying the remaining forces of Indonesia, was able to defeat the attempted coup. As a result, Indonesia has taken action to rid itself, in part anyway, of this fiendish, murderous group of Communists who were backed by the Chinese Communists in attempting to take over the country. Had the attempt succeeded instead of being defeated, at this moment we would have had Communists on the border of Australian territory. Any Australian who does not realise the importance of backing to the full the United States and the United Kingdom in their attempts to stop Communist aggression in South East Asia is just putting his head in the sand and is blind to the realities of life. We had an extremely fortunate let off through the failure of the attempted Communist coup in Indonesia, and I trust that never again will we allow people in Australia to believe that we are safe so long as the Communists are not fighting in this country itself. We have to stop them now, and every time we allow them to take over another free country we are helping them to take over Australia.

The threat to Australia is so serious that no time can be lost in training every young Australian to defend his country, and in defending it he should defend it wherever it needs to be defended and not only within our shores. Therefore I wholeheartedly support the action that has been taken to increase the number of national service trainees and to send thom wherever they are required for the defence of Australia. Efforts should be made to go faster than we are going with our training programme, and from time to time we should send the maximum number of troops that we have available to stop the Communists in South East Asia, wherever they may attack.

In the few minutes left to me I propose to refer to the excellent reforms in our immigration laws announced by the Prime Minister. At present Australia has the most liberal immigration policy of any country. I believe that we can proudly assert it and explain it. We can prove to the world that it is the most liberal of all policies. At present there is no bar on the ground of colour or nationality. The guiding principle of our immigration policy is the ability of the intending migrant to be successfully integrated into this community. This is the policy that in substance has been followed for many years, but unfortunately it has had one feature that has led the world to believe that our immigration policy has been based on colour or nationality. At present there is nothing in our Act, regulations or policy that discriminates against migrants either on the ground of colour or of nationality. The actual facts are that the numbers likely to come into this country in future will not be very different in proportion from the numbers that have come in the past. But the image of our policy has substantially changed. The policy of the future will be that the Government each year will set the annual target it considers can be successfully integrated into the community, taking into account the economic circumstances of the time, the employment opportunities, housing opportunities and matters of that nature.

Having set that annual target the Government, or the Minister for Immigration, will, as in the past, make an estimate of those likely to come from the United Kingdom, from which country migration is free of any restriction. He will then ascertain by how many migrants we fall short of meeting our target. That number will be divided between the various countries from whom migrants come.

When a person seeks a permit or visa to enter Australia the guiding principle in granting his application will be his ability to be successfully integrated into the community. Keeping in mind this guiding principle in the selection of migrants, it may be said that anybody coming from the United Kingdom, speaking the same language as Australians, having substantially the same kind of religion as Australians, having a similar educational standard and a similar background, may be successfully integrated into the community. The people of northern Europe, on the other hand, speak a different language to ours. So they are not as easily integrated into the community as are people from the United Kingdom. But people from northern Europe have an educational standard similar to ours. Generally speaking, they are able to learn the English language within about five years. Bearing in mind our policy of allowing these people to apply for full citizenship after five years residence here, it could be said that, generally speaking, migrants from northern Europe are likely to be successfully integrated into the community.

When we turn to southern Europe we see that the general standard of education is not nearly as high as it is in Australia, the United Kingdom or northern Europe. Greater care must be taken when dealing with migrants from southern Europe to ensure that they are likely to be successfully integrated into the community. We cannot take everybody who wishes to migrate from Italy or Greece, but this is not because we have anything against those countries. In fact, we take more migrants from Italy than from any other country except the United Kingdom. On the other hand, more applications from Italians seeking to migrate here are refused than are applications from other countries, but this is not because we do not like Italians. We like them very much. The reason for the refusals is that the standard of education of these people is so much lower than our standards that we cannot in all cases be satisfied that the intending migrant will be successfully integrated into the community.

When we turn to the countries of Africa we find that in many cases 90 per cent, of the inhabitants are totally illiterate. So the number of Africans who may be successfully integrated into our community is very low. Their applications to migrate would be refused, not on the ground of colour or nationality, but simply because they could not be successfully integrated into the community. All kinds of friction would be caused if numbers of illiterate idle coloured people were allowed to settle in this country.

It is essential that our policy be understood by other countries. I am sure that the countries of Africa and Asia will understand why so few of their people are allowed to migrate to Australia when we explain our policy to them and tell them that it is not a matter of colour or nationality but simply a question of whether they can be successfully integrated into our community without causing friction. Educational standards in Asia vary substantially. The religion of many of the people of Asia is different from ours. All of these things must be taken into account when the Minister for Immigration, exercising the great authority vested in him, decides whether a person can be successfully integrated into the community. If time had permitted, I would like to have proved what I said earlier about migration. Our migration policy is now the most liberal of any country. Let us consider the migration policies of some Asian countries. The only people admitted for permanent residence into Indonesia - our nearest neighbour - are people possessing special qualities and techniques who can usefully contribute to national development. So our nearest neighbour refuses to admit just anybody.

Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.

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