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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr McIVOR (GELLIBRAND, VICTORIA) r asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

1.   What is the total number of migrants who have entered Australia to date since the present immigration scheme came into operation?

2.   From which countries did they come, showing separately the number from each country?

3.   What number of migrants entered the respective States?

Mr Townley - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   From October, 1945, to December, 1956, Australia received a total of 1,155,330 permanent new arrivals.

2.   The available statistics of "permanent arrivals" showing "country of last permanent residence " may be misleading, as the tendency is to attribute to the country concerned all persons who stated they had resided there for twelve months or more. For instance, although 53,256 persons of German nationality have entered Australia since October, 1945, more than 177,000 persons (including the large bulk of displaced persons) have stated Germany as their last place of permanent residence. Other important discrepancies occur in respect of other countries, and particularly Austria and the iron curtain countries. Nationality figures give a more precise indication of the origins of migrants and I have, therefore, provided the honorable member with both "nationality" and "last place of permanent residence" figures in the following table. It should be noted that although nationality figures cover the period October, 1945, to December, 1956, "last place of permanent residence" details are available only on a full calendar year basis and cover the period from January, 1946, to December, 1956.


3.   Only since 1951 has the Commonwealth Statistician classified arrivals on a "State of final destination " basis. Prior to that date, if a migrant bound for Queensland disembarked at Sydney, the State of disembarkation only (New South Wales) would be recorded. Since 1951, the migrant's State of final destination as indicated by ship's passenger lists, has been recorded irrespective of the State of disembarkation. Only if all ships called at all major pons would figures for State of disembarkation coincide with figures for State of future permanent residence. A further important point is that while the Statistician's figures from 1951 onwards purport to show the State of future permanent residence of migrants, they have not in fact reflected the movement of Commonwealth-nominated migrants. These are persons proceeding to accommodation and employment provided for them by the Commonwealth Government. A great majority of such migrants have proceeded initially to Department of Immigration reception centres in Victoria and New South Wales, from which they have been provided with employment, often in other Stales. The State of final destination (i.e. the State in which the migrant was provided with employment) would not then have been known until the migrant was interviewed by employment officers at the reception centre. The figures then for New South Wales and Victoria will thus be inflated, while the figures for Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory will understate the actual position. As the great majority of migrant vessels call at Fremantle, and because migrants proceeding to reception centres in Western Australia would not generally be provided with employment in the Eastern States, the figures for Western Australia will be reasonably correct.

Bearing in mind the important reservations made above, the following are the numbers of permanent new arrivals recorded as going to the various States between October, 1945, and December, 1956. The Commonwealth Statistician maintains records of permanent arrivals entering the various States on a quarterly basis and the last quarter for which figures are available is the quarter ending December last: -


The Commonwealth Statistician has published in the 1954 Census, figures showing on a State basis the period of residence in Australia of persons born outside Australia. These figures refer to persons who, on 30th June, 1954, had been in Australia for periods up to eight years. The results in each State were as follows: -


The honorable member will note that the total shown of 681,616 is substantially less than the total figure of 1,155,330 in the first table. The two major reasons for this difference are -

(i)   The figures in the second table relate to a period 39 months less than do the figures in the first table (arrivals in the 30 months between 30th June, 1954, and 31st December, 1956. totalled approximately 309,000). (if) While deaths and departures of migrants would not, of course, be taken into account in the first table, they would be reflected in the second table.

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