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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr MARTENS (Herbert) .- A week or so ago I asked a question in the House regarding the purchase of property by refugees. Some misunderstanding has occurred over the matter, and I have been attacked by certain people on the ground that I have made a discourteous reference to them. I stated that one could pick out the individuals to whom I referred by certain physical characteristics; but the refugees whom I had in mind were not necessarily Jews. Many of them want to purchase property at Point Piper, Rose Ray, Dover Heights and Clovelly. I was thinking of the many persons who are alleged to have left Germany as refugees. Some of them are, I think, the agents of Hitler, and may be found in Sydney and other capital cities of Australia. Certain persons in Sydney are to-day telling women that there will be a new religion in this country before we are much older. This is confirmed by statements made in other parts of the world by men who are not irresponsible. I hope that as soon as possible the Government will investigate this matter. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward) has certain information that I have placed in his possession, and he probably knows a great deal more about unnaturalized aliens who are buying up property in Sydney. In Sydney last week-end 1 rode on a tramcar on which there was a young returned soldier, who said that he had seen service in the first Libyan campaign, and in Greece and Crete. He was crippled and sent back to Australia. In the tram he was talking so that anybody who wished could listen to him. He said, " I believe that Australia is worth fighting for, but I am not going to ask anybody to fight for it unless the Government will stop these aliens from buying homes and renting them at exorbitant rates to soldiers' wives whose husbands are overseas ". That is a serious statement for any man to make, particularly a man wearing the King's uniform. Doubtless similar statements are being made in many other places. This sort of talk, which is justified, has more to do with the difficulty of recruiting men for the fighting services than anything else that could be said. Aliens should not be allowed to own one stick of property until they have sworn allegiance to our King. Anybody who allows them to do so is not acting in the best interests of the nation and the Empire as a whole. Therefore, I hope that this Government will stop their operations, if the State Governments will not do so.

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