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Thursday, 15 July 1926

Senator ANDREW - If honorable senators opposite would clear up the industrial troubles in Australia there would not be half that number of unemployed here.

Senator McHugh - We are not the Government. Why does not the Government clear them up ?

Senator ANDREW - If the referendum is successful they will be cleared up. When I was in Western Australia about ten weeks ago a vessel landed some immigrants at Albany, and a special train was provided by the State Government to take them to Perth. I was on that train. The majority of the migrants on it were young ladies, and I was very much impressed with their type. On the following morning I went to the Salvation Army Home to see what arrangements had been made on their behalf, and I found that a very fine system waa in operation. The practice was for the Army officials to get in touch with prospective employers, and if there was not a sufficient demand for the labour that was available, those who failed to secure employment were kept at the home until positions were found for them. They kept in touch with the young ladies after they entered employment, and a very homely club was provided to which they could go when they had a. night off. This organization could well handle a big percentage of the migrants who come to Australia. Victoria has acquired in the Gippsland district an area of 6,000 acres of land, which has been offered to the Commonwealth Government for use in connexion with this scheme. The Victorian Government is prepared to go right ahead with the negotiations, so that migrants may be put upon that land immediately. It is of fine quality, and highly productive.

Senator Barnes - Is it proposed to give female migrants £1,000 each to make a start on a farm 1

Senator ANDREW - The females follow different occupations. The wives of men who go on the land will have provision made for them, and single girls will no doubt be placed in other occupations. Another movement that is interesting itself in migration is the Big Brother movement. It will confer a great benefit on Australia. If we can induce young men to come to Australia and imbibe the atmosphere of this country, they will grow up as good citizens because they will acquire experience and a knowledge of local conditions at an impressionable age. The gentleman who is at the head of that movement is to be commended for the interest that he is taking in the boys upon their arrival in Australia. The activities of the movement ought to be embraced in this scheme. The more we interest public organizations the better for the migrants as well as for Australia. Migrants will be nob only producers, but also consumers, and additional work will be provided in fulfilling their requirements. It may be necessary to defend Australia at some future date and our ability to repel invasion will be increased if we secure a larger population than we now have. The migrants after their arrival in Australia will link themselves up with organizations that have as their object the development and defence of this country. The scheme has untold value in every direction. The early pioneers built up a great country. Any migrants that we may now receive will be the descendants of relatives of those great pioneers, and they will have not one whit less pluck and grit.

Senator Needham - Was there a migration scheme in existence when those pioneers came to Australia ?

Senator ANDREW - No ; they had the necessary pluck and grit to shoulder the task without assistance. When mv late father arrived in Australia he had only 10s. in his pocket, and he never knew want. Although honorable senators of the Opposition agree that we need migration, they do not offer any suggestion for bringing migrants to- Australia.

Senator Grant - I did.

Senator ANDREW - They have simply indulged in destructive criticism. Their contention is that Australia should not be made a dumping-ground for the surplus population of other countries. On the other hand, they claim that, during the period that the Labour party was in power in the Commonwealth, a greater number of migrants came to Australia than was the case in any other similar period. How do they reconcile those statements?

Senator Barnes - We attracted them here by offering them employment. Nobody was out of work during that period.

Senator ANDREW - I hope that we shall have a repetition of those conditions very shortly. At that time there were no State Labour Governments, and the necessary employment was provided by Liberal Governments. The Ministry is to be commended for having brought down this excellent measure. I am pleased to give it my support. I feel sure that it will be carried, and that it will prove to be one of the finest measures that this Senate has passed.

Senator Grant - ;Six of the finest billets in Australia are to be provided under it.

Senator ANDREW - If, as a result, Australia has added to her population in a couple of years an additional 500,000 good citizens, will it not have been worth while? In my business I pay for quality, and I get good results. The Commonwealth Government will have to act similarly to ensure the success of this scheme.

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