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Thursday, 1 December 1938

Mr CURTIN (Fremantle) - -by leave- Although I have not had an opportunity to consider in detail the statement which has just been made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen) with regard to the acceptance of European refugees in Australia, I feel that I can say unhesitatingly that the principles involved will be acceptable to the people of Australia. The Opposition feels, and I believe the country feels, that Australia is a place where lovers of liberty should be. welcome, and where those suffering from the inflictions of despotic authority should be given an opportunity to live lives which will enable them to realize their own highest and best future, and at the same time assist in the building of Australia into a great democratic power and a centre of civilization in its best cultural sense. I believe that the Government is anxious that, in accepting these refugees, there will not be involved any deterioration of economic or social standards in Australia. The quota suggested by the Minister seems to me to be a reasonable one. I feel also that the -vigilance exercised by the Government over these people will be sufficient to prevent the formation of racial colonies in Australia. The imposition of conditions under which refugees will be permitted to land in Australia conforming generally to the practice followed with respect to the admittance of white aliens, is a perfectly sound arrangement. I welcome the statement made by the Minister.

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