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Thursday, 15 May 1924


Mr GABB (Angas) . -There is no occasion for me to apologize for bringing this matter before honorable members. I have waited patiently for eighteen months, ever since this Parliament was elected, in the hope that, as there has been an introduction of fresh blood to the House, and a coalition Ministry has been formed, something would be done to remove this affront to a great nation. If any. apology be needed, it should be made by the Government in this matter. The entry of German nationals is prohibited by section 3ge of the Immigration Act 1920-

For the period of five years after the commencement of this paragraph, and thereafter until the Governor-General by proclamation otherwise determines, any person who in the opinion of an officer is of German, AustroGerman, Bulgarian, or Hungarian parentage and nationality, or is a Turk of the Ottoman race.

The provision was the product of war hysteria. It is on a par with legislation passed in South Australia altering the names of different towns which had sprung up as the result of German settlement. For example, we had a little town called Klemzig. During the war its name was altered to Gaza. Buchfelde was altered to Loos; Rhine Villa was altered to Cambria; Steinfeld was altered to Stonefield. That, of course, was ridiculous. Honorable members will notice that the alterations were made in compliment to other foreign countries, with which it is quite conceivable we may be at war some day. Legislation of this nature may have farreaching effects, so it is high time that we took a sober view of the situation. We are at peace with Germany. Therefore we should treat her people with reasonable respect. I am not foolish enough to endeavour to take honorable members into the higher realm of forgivenesss in national or political matters, butI submit that since we are at peace with Germany we should not continue this affront to her people. We should not place them in the same category, in regard to immigration, as harlots, criminals, idiots, and otherundesirable persons. No other part of the British Empire is treating German nationals in this way, and no part of the British Empire is in greater need of a virile white population than Australia. I am not worrying about the special interests of Germany. I do not want to be misunderstood. I am submitting the motion as an Australian, and as one who has the interests of his country at heart. Critics may ask why I have singled out German nationals in this way. I have done so because I have had long experience of people descended from German settlers, who have proved themselves good citizens. Any remarks I make to-day I desire to support by giving my actual experience. We are attempting to build up a nation. I. believe that it is still true that " Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people ". Character must be at the very foundation of a nation if it is to be great. I do not argue that the German nation is a nation of righteous people, as I believe in the truth of the Biblical statement that "There is none righteous, no, not one ". I do not make that claim for people of German nationality, but I do say that my experience of them in South Australia is that they are a moral people, who observe the ordinances of their religion as closely as any other people I have met. I have memories of a similar occasion in this House four years ago, when, in 1920, I stood for justice for Australians of German descent who had been oppressed. At that time cries of "The honorable member for Berlin" were shouted at me. Some of the menwho uttered them are not now in this Chamber, but in case any members here consider that I am unduly prejudiced, I shall, as I proceed, back up my statements by quotations from various sources. In fact, I shall do so immediately in respect to the character of these people, the quotation being from a book entitled Early Experiences of Colonial Life, by John Bull, who arrived in South Australia in 1838. , The book was written 40 years, after that date. This is what the writer says -

The arrival pf Pastor Kavel, in the year 1838, with a flock of German Evangelical Lutherans, must not be forgotten as a valuable addition to our population. The influence of Pastor Kavel was very great, his personal exertions, on behalf of his countrymen were untiring, and with a perfect forgetfulness of self, so that he could not fail in establishing a community remarkable for probity and respect for our laws, as the annals of. the Supreme Court bear witness that there has bee.n no single instance in which one of his flock has been convicted of a serious offence.

At a later stage I propose to quote John Fife Angas, who will bear out the statements of John Bull with respect to the character of these people. There are no more law-abiding people in South Australia to-day than the descendants of these German pioneers. Intellect I hold to be the second requisite for nation building. I do not intend, this afternoon, to. give the names of the giants in philosophy, science, music, art, poetry, who have belonged to the German nation. X propose, however, to read from a recent issue of the River Murray Advocate, published at Murray Bridge, in South Australia, an account of a farewell gathering to the headmaster of the Tweedvale State School, Mr. Stone -

He believed he held the record for changes, 40 times since he had been in the Department - not through incompetence) - (Loud voices of " Never "J but in many cases through relieving other teachers..... He classed the children as equal, if not superior, to any he ever before had under his control.

Two things in connexion, with that statement I desire to emphasize; first, that Mr. Stone had been in 40 schools in South Australia, and, secondly,, that the children, in the Tweedale school ..are certainly SO per cent, of German origin. The third requisite for successful nation building is a patient, persistent, plodding, pioneering spirit, especially in respect to agriculture. In this connexion I desire to quote an extract from an

Adelaide newspaper of 1838, which appears in Edwin Hodder's George Fife Angas. The writer says -

The industry and quiet perseverance of the German character have been fully developed at Klemzig. Four or five months only have elapsed since the hand of man began there to efface the features of the wilderness, yet nearly 30 houses have been erected, and good and spacious houses some of them are. All are neat, clean, and comfortable. Considering that the season most favorable for gardening has not yet commenced, the number of vegetables which the Germans have at the present moment under culture affords strong proof of their- industry.

In my own district, and in other parts of South Australia, there is evidence of the industry of these people. I know that George Fife Angas was a conservative, hut having read his biography, I am glad that his name attaches to tie district I represent. If any m»n was able to speak of the Germans as colonists, it was he. The following extract is taken from an entry in. his diary for 18'52, when there was. a rush from all parts of Australia to the Victorian gold districts : -

I suffer less, perhaps, than any employer of labour, in consequence of the aid the Germans render mo as farmers, shepherds, sheepshearers, &c. Few of them have left the colony, and as the farmers who rent land from me have the right of pre-emption, they hope to buy their farms in time, and there-

Core stick to the soil with tenacity; while their strong regard for their religion, and attention to its ordinances, tends to depress the desire for gold digging.

When other people, were lured to tho gold-fields, these people patiently and persistently plodded on where they were in the hope that some day they would become the owners of the land upon which they were working. I desire to emphasize this characteristic, because, if we are to populate Australia, it is necessary that a great number of the migrants shall settle on the land. To-day 80' per cent, of the people of German descent in South' Australia are in rural districts. In tho metropolitan district of Adelaide, which contains more than half of the population of that State, I know of only two Lutheran churches; but there are dozens of them in the country districts. If the Government has sense enough to remove this prohibition, and will allow the nomination system to work in respect to these people of German nationality, the result will be that the German residents of South Australia will induce numbers of their agricultural friends to migrate te that State, in which case they will bc a decided asset to the community. They will go into the rural districts, just as: runaway. German sailors have done. They will go where they will be understood in their own langauge, and where they will have an opportunity of learning English. They can. do that in the country districts of the State of South Australia. It annoys me to read of a ship's captain being fined £100 because a young, strong, healthy German sailor has nin away into the Australian bush. In many directions we are spending large sums of money to get immigrants to come to this .country, yet- if one member of the German race desires to settle on the land, and has sufficient initiative to rup away from his ship, we fine the captain £100. This Parliament, and the Government endorse that policy to-day. It is time we woke up to the real significance of what we- are doing. I know of a man who left his ship in 1914. When the war broke out he was interned. 1 make no complaint about the internment, for he was a German subject. I could say something about the internment of Australian subjects of German descent, with which I do not agree. This man was not deported, like some of his compatriots. Recently he came to me and said he wanted to be naturalized. He had acquired some land in the Mallee, and wanted to many. I am thankful to say that the Government gave the necessary permission, and allowed him to become naturalized. He is now well on the way to matrimony. I' know of another German who came here in 1914. He went into the Mallee and remained there. For some reason lie was not interned. Perhaps he went so far back that the authorities did not find him. He wrote to me recently to ascertain whether he could get permission; for his sweetheart in Germany to come out to him. He left her there in 1914. I am glad to say that the Government agreed that the young woman should be allowed to come here, provided the British Consul would give a .certificate regarding her health, conduct, &c. That is the only case I can quote in which I have successfully tried to get permission from the Government for a person to come from Germany to Australia. A man who left Germany in 1914, battled in the Mallee for ten years, and still remained true to the girl he left behind him, is of the type we want in this country. I hope that he will secure the happiness he deserves. I speak feelingly, because I waited ten years for my wife. That is, perhaps, why I worked with more feeling than I might otherwise have done to see that this man had the opportunity to make the home he wanted and deserved. The fourth requisite for nation-building is courage, particularly courage for the purpose of defence. Some honorable members may say that that is a reason for excluding Germans, but I would remind them that history clearly teaches that the foe of yesterday may become the ally of to-morrow, and tha,t the ally of yesterday may become the foe of to-morrow. If we keep people out for that reason, we shall make' a great mistake. Whatever may be our opinion of the origin of the war, or whatever nation we may blame for it, we must al! admit that the stand taken by the German people, with foes all round them, was evidence, at any rate, of courage. I believe it would be wise to encourage people of that type to come to this country. It may be that the day will come when we shall thank God for every son of white parents that we have in Australia. I hope that day will not come, but if it should we shall not ask whether a man is a German or an Austrian; if he is of the white race, he will be welcome. The intermingling of the German race with ours is no detriment to us. I make bold to say, although I shall probably be taken to task for it, that for courage the German race is equal to ours, and has proved itself so. The fifth requisite for nation-building is to admit into this country only those races which will blend with ours. I shall not attempt, because my knowledge is too limited, to give a lecture on ethnology; but there are no races in Europe nearer to ours than the German, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish races. No other nations are more likely to blend with ours in building up a strong and virile people.







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