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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr PROWSE (FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - They prevail over a large area extending from a district near Perth to Albany. This is demonstrated by the fact that the chairman of the Waroona Road Board undertook to convey the resolution to similar organizations as far south as Albany, and since that time, twenty of them have informed me that they agreed with it. The letter from the Collie Road Board, which is similar to others, reads -

With reference to the question of acute shortage of farm labour, and exploitation of the position by aliens, which was the subject of a special resolution of the Drakesbrook Road Board, I am directed by my board to fully endorse the views expressed, and trust the matter will be taken up with the right honorable the Prime Minister, Mr. John Curtin, at an early date.

Similar letters came to me from about twenty such boards. Our enemies com pel the men of conquered countries to work for them, but the aliens in Australia are allowed to earn large sums of money working for themselves. Our own people cannot sign contracts for the growing of potatoes for the Army because they cannot get the labour either to sow or to dig. About 75 per cent, of the contracts are going to aliens.

Mr Forde - Are they naturalized British subjects?

Mr PROWSE - Some are naturalized and others not.

Mr Forde - Naturalized British subjects are liable for military service, and aliens, whether they he enemy aliens or not, are subject to the call-up for labour corps.

Mr PROWSE - That is an additional reason for action.

Mr FORDE - Action has been and is being taken.

Mr PROWSE - The Chinese, who are our allies, are being employed at fis. a day to grow potatoes. I have been told that other foreigners, when asked to assist in the dairying industry, say : " Oh, no ! Me too busy - plenty work at my own place". The Minister will he able to get an idea of the tone of the meeting from the report which I will leave with him. I also ask him to refer to the file on this matter. On the 9th February, I received the following letter from the Minister for Labour and National Service: -

My colleague, the Minister for War Organization of Industry, has forwarded me copies of correspondence he received from you relative to the shortage of farm labour. I note the terms of the resolution carried at a meeting of primary producers and citizens of Waroona and district held recently, and shall be pleased to take up this matter with the appropriate authority.

Since then I have heard nothing. This is entirely a non-party matter. When our boys have gone from the farms and the old people are left there without help, the aliens should be formed into a corps and employed for the general good. Otherwise, why are they in the country?

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