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Wednesday, 5 October 1927

Senator REID - Would it not be better to spend the money on other industries where a return is assured?

Senator GRAHAM - Senator Reid and other honorable senators representing States in which industries such as the sugar industry in .Queensland have received assistance, do not seem willing to support the industries of other States. Mining is always uncertain; but when valuable mineral deposits are discovered, the population immediately increases, and the revenue of the State materially benefits. I am sorry that provision is not made in the budget for immediate financial assistance to the gold mining industry.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the honorable senator in favour of mining machinery being admitted free of duty?

Senator GRAHAM - I believe in goods which cannot be manufactured in Australia being admitted free of duty; but, in order to provide employment for our own people, we should manufacture all we can. In certain industries in Australia, the wages paid and the conditions that obtain are a pattern to similar industries in other parts of the world. This is due to the protection given them. Australian manufacturers are getting the maximum return from their employees; the conditions under which they work practically make it "impossible for them to do otherwise.

As honorable senators are aware, a good deal has been said during recent months concerning the influx of Southern Europeans into Australia. The Prime Minister's explanation of the position is altogether unsatisfactory. I believe in Australia for the Australians, and will always endeavour to assist in improving the conditions of Australian workmen ;. but, whilst we are advocating a White Australia, and an Australian sentiment, thousands of Southern Europeans, who do not know the English language, are entering the Commonwealth. This1 is due to the fact that there are on committees in the capital cities influential Greeks and Italians who nominate their own countrymen. These migrants do not have to pass the language test.

Senator Ogden - They do.

Senator GRAHAM - No, they are nominated. There are large numbers of these Southern Europeans on the canefields in Queensland, and if the present influx continues it will not be long before we shall have in Australia a mixed population, such as is to be found in the United States of America. On the Kalgoorlie gold-fields these Southern Europeans are let loose like fowls from a crate. The Melbourne Herald of the 30th September, states -

Alien migrants in Victoria in many cases accept low wages in order to secure employment, according to statements made by several of the European consulates to-day.

These people are being brought out at the expense of the rank and file of Australian citizens, because they are ever ready to work for reduced wages. Unless prompt action is taken it will be difficult later-, to stem the on-coming tide of Southern European migrants. According to figures furnished by the Commonwealth Statistician, the Commonwealth has paid up to'3&th June, 1926, over £5,750,000 in bounties for the encouragement of Australian industries. The principal payments have been - Sugar, £3,899,542; frozen beef, £244,352; wire netting, £284,991; fencing wire, £243,619; galvanized sheet or plate, £147,376 ; pig iron, £186,699 ; shale oil, £125,492, and I have nothing to say against the legitimate encouragement of Australian industries, because I realize that, in their earlier stages, many business ventures require assistance. Nor have I anything to say against the large sum paid in connexion with the Queensland sugar industry; but I think that all those industries that have benefited in this way should have some consideration for the people of Western Australia.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) during the last election campaign, had a good deal to say about a scheme of child endowment. The Government, he said, intended to protect the motherhood of Australia. Up to the present, however, nothing has been done by the Commonwealth Government. The Prime Minister now offers the excuse that it is ,a State matter. It may be, but how is it possible for the States, in their present financial position - many of them have to come cap in hand to the Commonwealth for financial help - to carry out such a scheme? The Prime Minister has admitted that th;' child is Australia's best asset. Therefore child endowment is a national matter and the scheme should be launched by the Commonwealth Government.

Senator Elliott - Did the honorable senator say that the Prime Minister had promised to bring in a scheme of child endowment ?

Senator GRAHAM - Yes.

Senator Elliott - Where ?

Senator GRAHAM - In Perth, I am given to understand.

Senator Elliott - I am told that the Prime Minister was not in Perth during the last election campaign.

Senator GRAHAM - In the Commonwealth there are approximately 1,630,000 children under the age of fourteen years. The parents of approximately 90 per cent, of that number are in receipt of less than £300 a year. We must look to the present generation of boys to take their part in the defence of Australia, if war should come again, and we may be sure that whilst the present capitalistic system continues, there will be war in the future, though it may not come in our time. Child endowment is plainly the duty of the National Government. I have only to say, in closing, that it is high time the Government took steps to prevent the influx of Southern Europeans into Australia.

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