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Thursday, 24 November 1927

Senator HOARE (South Australia) . - The Lender of the Senate (Senator Pearce) has claimed that the Government has not encouraged Southern Europeans to come to Australia. If it has offered discouragement, the results have been very poor, because they are coming here in droves. I am reminded of a story which was related to me last week, but for the accuracy of which I cannot vouch. A man went to a job and said to the foreman - " I speeka da Engleesh ; I catcha da cray; I eata da oyst; I eats da steak; I pusha da shov." The foreman said to him, "You are not a dago; why do you talk like that ?" He replied, " I am a digger ; but I have to talk like that in order to get a job." There is an element of truth in that story. The right honorable senator endeavoured to prove that unemployment figures were low when migration figures were high. He neglected to refer to the influence of the seasons. In a good season there may be few unemployed even though thousands of migrants come to Australia ; and on the other hand, during a bad season there may be a large number of unemployed and scarcely any migrants. The Minister went out of his way to refer to some person in New South Wales who leads an unemployed army. What has that to do with this question? It is an insult to the 40,000 honest working men who are unemployed, and whose families are in need of sustenance, to couple them with such an individual, who, in all probability, is not worthy to be called an Australian, even if he is one. I remind the right honorable senator that he and the other members of the Government owe their success at the last elections to men of that character. The British seamen's strike carried' them to victory. But for that circumstance, a Labour administration would now be in power. The Minister also claimed that it was necessary foi' Southern Europeans to have £40 in their possession when they arrived in Australia. He knows very well that that sum is regarded as a small fortune in Italy, and that any man who possessed it would not think of coming to Australia. It is also reasonable to suppose that those who had £40 upon arrival would not be looking for bread immediately afterwards. We have been asked to consider the "international complications that are likely to arise. Recently I quoted a statement by Mussolini to the effect that he wished to increase the population of Italy from 40,000,000 to 90,000,000 people. That disposes of the contention that there is a danger of international complications. If, as is contended, migration relieved unemployment, those nations which have a population totalling hundreds of millions would be a paradise. But the contrary is the case. Where there is the greatest population there is the largest number of unemployed. Until recently. Australia, in regard to employment, was the Best country in which to live. That result was brought about by beneficient legislation and good seasons. The present year is a bad one in every State except Western Australia: consequently there is a big army of unemployed. If Senator Pearce's arguments were sound, there would be fewer unemployed under a National than under a Labour Government. That, however, is not the case. There has been a National

Government in this Parliament for very many years, but the toiling masses have not had their conditions improved. The Bavin Government has not been in office in New South Wales more than a few weeks, but the army of unemployed in that State has already grown. Last week 200 men were dismissed by the Tramways Board, and hundreds of men have lost the employment which they held in the railways. National governments wish to have a standing army of unemployed, because it conduces to servility among the workers. When we initiated the White Australia policy, we had no fear of causing international complications. Why, then, should that bogy be trotted out with respect to the migration of Southern Europeans? Large numbers of men are unemployed in England, and they would be only too pleased to come to Australia if they thought that the conditions here were better. A nation that is making progress has no need to advertise its advantages. I have said several times in this Senate that if we cannot obtain Britishers in sufficient numbers we should seek Scandinavians, who are used to agriculture and country life generally, and make good, hard-working citizen*. The Southern European has a standard that is not comparable to ours. He does not make a good citizen, because he leaves Australia as soon as he has made a sufficient amount to make him comfortable in his own country. As a class they are not welcomed by the business man, because they do not spend very much. I am opposed to the migration of Southern Europeans because it will have a tendency to break down the high standard of living that has been established in Australia.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands). - The honorable senator has exhausted his time.

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