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Tuesday, 29 November 1938

Mr Spender (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) r asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that no record of any description is kept by the Commonwealth as to the number of Jews who have been admitted into Australia over the past twelve months?

2.   If it is not the fact, what is the nature of such record, and what is the number of Jewish immigrants who have during such period 'been so admitted?

3.   What particular steps are being taken by the Commonwealth to ensure that the immigrants are not likely to and do not throw Australians out of employment, lower the living standards of the Australian workers, or disregard industrial conditions?

Mr McEwen - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : - 1 and 2. It is not the policy of the Commonwealth to inquire into the religion of any person desirous of emigrating to Australia. Persons admitted into Australia are recorded according to their nationality. It is known, however, that persons of Jewish race represent the great majority of aliens who are at present seeking permits to come to Australia from the European countries where there is active discrimination against Jews.

3.   Apart from dependent relatives, in every case where application is made by a person resident in Australia for the introduction of a white alien, inquiries are made as to the type of employment the nominee would engage in after arrival and whether there is opportunity for employment without detriment to Australian workers. If the result of the inquiries is not satisfactory, the application is refused. Applications made by white aliens overseas are considered on their merits. The persons concerned are required to furnish information as to their present occupation and as to their intended occupation. If it is considered that they are likely to engage in an occupation for which there are no opportunities for their absorption without detriment to Australian workers, the applications are refused. Investigations are made from time to time by departmental officers with a view to determining the economic effect of the introduction of aliens. Investigations have already been made in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. As the result of these investigations the issue of permits in favour of aliens who propose or are considered likely to engage in the sugar cane industry has been virtually suspended. It has also been decided thatin the absence of special circumstances in future, the issue of permits in favour of aliens who propose to take up residence in the Shepparton or Werribee districts will be confined to dependent relatives. In view of the importance of the matter, the Government proposes to strengthen the existing organization for special investigations of this nature.

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