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Thursday, 5 March 1942


Mr FORDE - I am not aware that prisoners of war are being employed to make flower gardens near internment camps. Reports which have reached me indicate that their services are being used to grow vegetables for use not only in internment camps, but also in soldier camps and prisoner-of-war camps throughout Australia. Prisoners of war are ako being employed to cut firewood for use in their own camps, and also in internment and soldier camps. There is difficulty in employing labour of this class. The quarantine authorities, acting on the advice of the Director-General of Medical Services, require prisoners of war to be in Australia for six months before they may be put to work of a general kind, for many of them suffer from a form of dysentery which, if it became epidemic throughout Australia, would cause great trouble. Not many prisoners of war have been in Australia for six months, so not many are yet available for work. Those who have become available are working in our fruit-growing districts and also on cer tain public works. That policy will be more widely applied as more prisoners become available. I shall take into consideration also the other suggestions of the honorable member.







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