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Wednesday, 12 October 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I cannot allow to go unchallenged the statement of the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Glasgow) that the Labour party is opposed to immigration. Proof to the contrary is furnished by Western Australia, which has had a Labour Government for over three years, and is carrying on the group settlement scheme under the migration agreement to which it, the Commonwealth Government, and the Imperial Government are signatories. The Labour party realizes that the handful of people in Australia to-day is not large enough to develop such a vast continent; but it says further that the system of migration" which up to the present has been in operation is not the correct one. The selection of migrants has been bad. In many cases undesirable persons have been allowed to enter Australia, and we have not been able to make them productive citizens. We would welcome an influx of British stock if we could place them, and make them useful citizens, so that competition with our own people would be eliminated. The trend of the debate so far has been to set the Italian on a pedestal above the Australian as a workman and a citizen. I will not follow Senator Reid in his discussion of eugenics; but as a law-abiding citizen, the Italian cannot compare with the Briton. If two Britishers fall out they settle their argument in a manly way with their fists. The average Italian uses the knife.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The honorable senator is now dealing with a matter that is not before the committee.

Senator NEEDHAM - It is said that migrants who are not of British stock join our trade unions. The trade unionists of Australia must work along lines that lead to self-preservation.

The CHAIRMAN - Order!

Senator NEEDHAM - I am not disregarding your ruling, sir. The class to whom I refer are to be assisted out of this vote of £300,000.

The CHAIRMAN - The vote has nothing to do with trade unions.

Senator NEEDHAM - This £300,000 is to be placed at the disposal of the Development and Migration Commission for advances of passage money, landing money, and medical fees to assisted migrants. Those people will join our trade unions after their arrival in Australia. We insist upon their doing so, for the protection of the Australian citizen. In the same way we insist that the foreigner also shall join our trade unions. I ask the Acting Leader of the Senate whether there is to be any improvement in the selection of migrants in London? The regulations should be tightened up, and only the best type of men should be permitted to come to Australia.

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