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Thursday, 15 May 1924

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I wish to say a few words in support of tile motion moved- by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Gabb) in favour of removing the present embargo which prevents persons of German parentage and nationality from entering Australia. I had hopes that there would be very little difficulty in carrying it. The Prime Minister stated very definitely that it is highly desirable that as soon as possible the war should be forgotten. In that statement he gives the very best possible reason for the removal of the restriction upon the immigration of Germans. The way in which to keep alive the spirit of war and hatred in Australia against the German people is to permit this restriction to remain upon the statute-book. If the Prime Minister were serious in all that he said this afternoon he should bo consistent and agree to the repeal of the provision. This blot on our legislation should not be allowed to remain any longer. Australia is practically the only country amongst the allies engaged in thelate war that has allowed legislation of this nature to remain on its statute-book. In Great Britain, I understand, the embargo was proposed for three years, and since honorable members supporting the Government have always expressed approval of British precedent, and a desire to follow slavishly the lead given by Great Britain - at all events, until recently - I suggest that we might very well do so in this instance. The Government would be well advised to follow the lead given by the Mother Country. Throughout her history Great Britain has shown an inclination to treat her former enemies generously. Witness her attitude towards the Boers after the war in South Africa. General Smuts, one of the most successful of the Boer leaders, has long since been admitted to the counsels of the Empire concerning Imperial problems. His advice is much sought after. Great Britain's policy towards her former enemies is the direct antithesis of the policy of this Government. The lion- orable member for Grey (Mr. Lacey) has just quoted significant figures showing the increase in German trade with Australia. If, in the interests of our primary and secondary industries, wo :i re prepared to trade with Germany, we should not allow this ban on her nationals to remain on our statutebook. The position is illogical. I remind honorable members also that, when the wool industry in Australia was in a very precarious position just about the time the Government here was placing this embargo on the German people, our low-grade wools were offered for sale to the Central European powers, and owing to strong competition from Germany the wool market was stabilized, to the great advantage of Australian wool-growers. I also direct attention to what has happened in Prance, which, since the war, has been pursuing a vendetta against the German people. The Government responsible for that vendetta has been practically wiped out at the ballot-box. The people of Prance, when they had an opportunity, clearly indicated that they wanted to forget the war, and to return to normal trade relations with their former enemies.

Mr Scullin - The militarists have gone down before the will of the people.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes; and the Prime Minister, in a speech this afternoon, indicated that he believed that the spirit of militarism is dying out amongst the nations. Yet he will do nothing to help kill ft.

Mr Maxwell - Iu the recent German elections the military party considerably increased its strength.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That expression of opinion by the German people was probably prompted by Prance's policy of hate.

Mr Scullin - In any case, the militarists in Germany were beaten, and are in the minority.

Mr Maxwell - Certainly; but they have increased their strength.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the French elections, at all events, the militarist party were decisively defeated. The people have made it plain that they want to return to normal conditions. This legislation, unfortunately, will do more than anything else to keep alive the spirit of hatred between Germany and

Australia. We on this side of the House are not alone in our views concerning the value of German nationals as citizens. A. former Premier of New South Wales and a member of the party to which my honorable friends opposite belong, stated, prior to the wai-, that he looked upon the German settlers as most useful citizens of the Commonwealth. German settlers furnish a valuable object lesson as to. the manner in which farm work should be done.

Mr Atkinson - Do you suggest that the Act should be repealed, and German nationals admitted as freely as the nationals of other European countries?

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I suggest that German nationals' should be placed in the same position as the people of other white races. In regard to land settlement, I would give first preference to Australian citizens who are willing and able to go up on the land, but after they had been provided for, there should be an opportunity for approved white settlers of other races. Who can say what may happen in the future ? We all know the possibilities, and therefore we should not close our doors to the people of desirable white nations. They should be encouraged to take up their position as citizens of this country, and share with us in its obligations. It is unfortunate that members of the Nationalist and Country parties cannot see the wisdom of doing what Great Britain has done in this matter. The people of Australia want to get rid of the war spirit. They want to get back to sanity. The Prime Minister has reminded us that parents of sons who fought in the war may take a different point of view on this subject. I submit that those parents are not unmindful of the possibilites of the future, and our greatest future safeguard against aggression is the peopling of this country by the" white races. It is folly to continue this embargo against people who may be most valuable allies in the future. We should not keep our doors closed against them any longer.

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