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Tuesday, 19 March 1957


Mr TOWNLEY - To give an adequate answer to this question would take a very long time - perhaps not as long as an earlier question by the honorable member for East Sydney took, but a reasonable time. Briefly, since the immigration scheme has been in operation we have brought in 83 per cent, of northern Europeans and people from the United Kingdom. Out of the one million and a few hundred thousand immigrants already in Australia, about 560,000 have come from the United Kingdom. If people from the United Kingdom are nominated and the nominators can guarantee them accommodation and occupation, there is very little delay, but I am sure that the honorable member will see that it would be rather stupid for us to recruit immigrants in Great Britain and bring them 10,000 miles if we did not have a home to put them in; and that is one of the qualifications. The second thing is that there is a limit to the amount of shipping which is available from the United Kingdom. Putting that briefly also, we take every berth that is available in ships from the United Kingdom. In addition, we have our own ships, such as " New Australia ", and we have others under charter. I do not know of a berth that could have been used to accommodate a British immigrant that we have not taken in a ship bound for Australia. At the present time, we are negotiating with the British Government to charter two more ships to help to increase the flow of British immigrants to this country. During the last six months, for a part of which my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, was responsible for immigration, there have been most encouraging signs. The intake of British immigrants is increasing quite rapidly. In the first six months of this financial year, we received well over 30,000 British immigrants, which was the best tha' we had been able to do for some time. I am reminded that if a person in England wants to come to Australia and is prepared, as many people are, to pay his or her own fare, there are no restrictions whatever. As many such people as like to come here can come. But I was referring to assisted passages, and I think that that is what the honorable member for Mallee had in mind. We are bringing here, through the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration, people from practically every race in Europe, but, up to now, 83 per cent, of our immigrants have come from northern Europe or from Great Britain.







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