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Thursday, 1 July 1937

Senator COLLINGS (through Senator Brown) asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister upon notice -

1.   What action, if any, has been taken by the Government regarding a scheme or schemes for the introduction into Australia of migrants from (a) the United Kingdom: (b) any other countries?

2.   What negotiations, if any, have been conducted with this objective in view (a) with the United Kingdom; (b) with any other countries?

3.   Under what terms and under what authority are migrants now being admitted into Australia?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE The Acting Prime Minister has supplied the following answers: -

1.   The question of the resumption of assisted migration from the United Kingdom was discussed informally at Adelaide in August. 1936, by a Sub-Committee of Commonwealth and State Ministers. Members of the SubCommittee then decided that definite proposals in writing should be submitted by the Commonwealth to the States for their consideration.

The Prime Minister accordingly addressed a letter on 16th September, 1936, to the Premier of each State in regard to the matter. The following suggestions were embodied in the letter as being worthy of consideration, emphasis being laid on the fact that all applications for assisted passages must first be approved by the State in which the prospective migrant wouldreside -

(i)   the extension of the grant of assisted passages of relatives of persons already in Australia;

(ii)   if it should be the desire of any State that female household workers and/or youths for farm work be introduced, the Commonwealth would arrange for their introduction ; and

(iii)   persons of British stock resident in the United Kingdom who would be in possession of -

(1)   in the case of a married man, not less than £300 capital on. arrival in Australia, or, alternatively, a pension or other in- come of not less than £100 per annum ; and

(2)   in the case of a single man, not less than £50 capital on arrival might be given the same benefits in respect of assisted passages as were contemplated in regard to nominated migrants.

The Commonwealth Government considered the question in the light of the replies received from the State governments, and, in view of their divergent character, decided to deal with assisted migration on a State basis, i.e., if any State were desirous that assisted migration be resumed, either wholly or in part, the Commonwealth would arrange -

(i)   to select in the United Kingdom, and

(ii)   to grant assisted passages to migrants whom any State wished to introduce.

The present position is that the Commonwealth is prepared to provide, in conjunction with His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, assisted passages to the extent desired by the States.

The grant of assisted passages is confined to such classes of migrants from the United Kingdom as are asked for by the States concerned.

(b)   None.


(a)   See reply to No. 1 (a). The United Kingdom Government co-operates with the Commonwealth Government in the provision of assisted passages on a 50-50 basis to approved migrants from the United Kingdom.

(b)   None.

3.   White British migrants are admitted into Australia if in sound health, of good character and in the possession of valid passports, provided also that there is no reason to believe in any individual case that the migrant, if admitted, is likely to become a charge upon the public.

It is necessary for alien migrants to obtain Landing Permits before being admitted into Australia. Residents of Australia who wish to introduce alien dependent relatives, such as wives, minor children, &c, are required to furnish guarantees for their maintenance. If the intending migrants are not close dependent relatives of persons already settled in the Commonwealth, the Department of the Interior requires to be satisfied that they can be absorbed in trades and occupations in Australia without detriment to local workers. In the case of non-dependent relatives, it is also the rule, if the issue of a Landing Permit is approved, to require the migrant to be in possession of £50 landing money if his maintenance has been guaranteed, or £200 if his maintenance has not been guaranteed by someone resident in Australia.

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