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Wednesday, 12 October 1927

Senator NEEDHAM - That may be so to some extent, but it does not dispose of my contention that Italian migrants have displaced Australian returned soldiers in certain avenues of employment. In the first six months of 1926 the net excess of Italian arrivals over departures was 805, and in the first six months in 1927 th e excess - comprised of Italians - was 2,996.

Senator Sir William Glasgow - None of the money provided for in this bill will be used to assist foreign migrants.

Senator NEEDHAM - I am aware of that.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Senator NEEDHAM - In the matter of Italian immigration, the net excess of arrivals over departures for the first six months of 1926 was 805, and for the first six months of this year the figures were 2,996. In 1924 the figures were 4.971; in 1925. 5,762; and 1926, 3,921, or an average for the three years 1924 to 1926 inclusive of, roughly, 5,000. In South Australia and Western Australia the situation is particularly acute.

Senator McLachlan - What does the honorable senator suggest?

Senator NEEDHAM - That Italian migrants should not be permitted to land here while we have so many unemployed.

Senator Ogden - That would involve discrimination.

Senator NEEDHAM - The question of international relationship does not arise. Mussolini has stated that he does not wish the Italian people to leave their own country. The Government should prevent Italians landing in Australia until our own people are placed.

Senator Sampson - But these men place themselves.

Senator NEEDHAM - Yes ; to the disadvantage of Australian workers.

Senator Ogden - Would the honorable senator be in favour of placing a similar restriction upon Scandinavians?

Senator NEEDHAM - I am speaking for the moment of Southern Europeans.

Senator Duncan - But they are members of unions.

Senator NEEDHAM - Yes. When they come to Australia we have to extend to them the rights of citizenship. As there is no fear of international complica tions arising, the Government should take drastic action to prevent such a large influx of Southern Europeans.

SenatorREID (Queensland [8.5].- The question of foreign immigration affects Queensland perhaps more than any other State. It was said that the recent industrial trouble at the South Johnstone mill in Queensland was due to the presence of certain Italians. I was in the South Johnstone district during the strike and am able to say that the number of Italians concerned in the dispute was infinitesimal. Why do Australian sugar cane-growers sell their farms at high prices to Italians? They are not compelled to dispose of their properties to foreigners. The plantations have been sold in many instances because the owners have been harassed by the Australian cane-cutters. If they had been fairly treated by the Australian cane-cutters the Italians would not have been able to purchase plantations. The Italians realise the value of co-operation. Many of those who came to Queensland possessed little money and commenced cane cutting. When the season was over they pooled their funds, paid a deposit on a plantation, and then worked it on a co-operative basis. During their spare time they took contracts on other plantations in order to obtain more money. They have always been willing to work, and by their industry have allowed the cane growers to keep their contracts with the mill owners. It is useless denouncing the Italians who are coming to Australia, as they are doing their work well, and not giving any trouble. Their womenfolk are often employed to do the cooking for the men.

Senator Needham - Is the Italian a better man for the State than an Australianborn citizen.

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