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Thursday, 22 October 1964

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - To which item is the honorable senator relating his remarks?

Senator FITZGERALD - To administration.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - What division?

Senator FITZGERALD - Division No. 270. I wish to speak about the administration of the Department. This Department is not affected by the political differences which affect other departments. I know that we have our differences when questions of policy arise, but, generally speaking, immigration is dealt with on a non-party basis. I want to talk about the history of the Department, as well as about the present administration.

I support the remarks that were made by Senator Cavanagh. He raised a departmental matter rather than a matter of policy. I cannot understand why a person who has resided in Australia for 20 odd years cannot become naturalised. If a person is not eligible for naturalisation by that time, he has no right to remain here.

Senator Cavanagh - It was 37 years.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! I cannot see how this matter relates to any item of expenditure in the estimates.

Senator FITZGERALD - It relates to the administration of the Department, and I submit that it is relevant. Matters of this nature are referred to officers of the Department from time to time.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - We are dealing with the estimates for the Department of Immigration and any comments should be relevant to those estimates. We cannot, as it were, go around the world, dealing with all sorts of matters.

Senator FITZGERALD - I am speaking to the estimates and dealing with the administration of the Department. I think it is important that matters that are raised in the Senate should be brought to the attention of officers of the Department. Some of the very senior and important officers are here now.

The first Minister for Immigration was the present Leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Calwell. He was appointed in 1945. I think we all agree that he did a very fine job. I should like to pay tribute to the Ministers who followed him in this portfolio. I have no quarrel with the present Minister, who I believe is trying to do a good job. He realises the importance of the huge undertaking under his control. I should also like to pay a tribute to the staff of the Department. Those in this country and those filling overseas posts are achieving excellent results.

I should like to raise some points of criticism on behalf of a very good friend of mine, a person who occupied a very high and important post in the Department and made a contribution to the immigration programme. I refer to Mr. Jack Hooke. Recently he served in the United Kingdom and Europe as a technical adviser to the Department. He raised certain points which he felt might not have been brought to the attention of the Department. Therefore, I shall refer later to some of them.

I have always expressed sympathy towards the newcomer to Australia because it is only in recent times that he has been accepted in the community. Intolerance is one of the worst traits of man, whether it be in regard to religion, race or nationality. Migrants are among the people who are affected in this way. A young migrant who came to Australia seven years ago recently married into my family. He was asked about his first reaction when he arrived here. He said that he expected to see kangaroos and blackfellows throughout the length and breadth of Australia. To his surprise, that was not the case. I do not think that incident reflects a great deal of credit on the propaganda that has been issued on behalf of this country. I am a member of the Labour Party Immigration Committee, and I am happy to say that the material which has been supplied to us indicates that the propaganda is now worth while.

In the article by Mr. Jack Hooke, to which I have referred, he says -

The Commonwealth Department provides a flood of all sorts of material, most of it good of its kind although there is still rather too much emphasis upon black fellows and golden sand.

I believe that in England and in other parts of the world there is still too much emphasis on blackfellows.


Order! I cannot see that these remarks relate to the estimates under discussion.

Senator FITZGERALD - I atn referring to Division No. 274 - Immigration Services.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I must ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the estimates under discussion.

Senator FITZGERALD - I am doing that. [Quorum formed.] I am discussing the question of publicity in other parts of the world. In many instances in the past the publicity has not shown Australia to the best advantage, but I am happy to say that the publications that have been forwarded recently to the Labour Party Immigration Committee, and the advice that it has received from the Department of Immigration, show that the position has improved.

Pamphlet No. 18a of 1964 deals with the question of housing in Australia. It gives the impression that homes of a fine type, and in great numbers, are available to migrants on arrival in Australia. People who have lived in New South Wales for many years do not have houses of the same standard and with 'the facilities that are referred to in this pamphlet. I do not suggest that we should write Australia down, because it is important that we have migrants. I am certain that unless we populate the country we will not hold it for very long. The immigration programme has helped our population to increase to more than 11,000,000. To be a great nation, this increase must

There are 250,000 migrants, .including children, who are residentially qualified but who have not yet been naturalised. That is a matter which should concern us all. The municipal councils must be commended on their naturalisation ceremonies. The Department is to be congratulated on the way in which the ceremonies are conducted today. I come from the Waverley area, where a first class organisation operates. Our naturalisation ceremonies are regarded as show pieces, so far as television and photographic coverage is concerned. I pay a tribute to the mayors who have held office in Waverley for the last 12 or 15 years. Alderman Anderson, Alderman O'Keefe, Alderman Jeppesen and the present Mayor, Alderman Doug Morey, have conducted naturalisation ceremonies of which all our people can be very proud.

On the question of the naturalisation of the 250,000 migrants I have mentioned, I suggest that church leaders and the Good Neighbour Councils under the control of municipal councils might interest themselves in this matter. Migrants could be approached with a view to their becoming naturalised and more closely associated with the Australian community. Of the 250,000 migrants, 50,000 would be children. Therefore, there are some 200,000 adult migrants who could and should be naturalised. The municipal councils are in the forefront in this work. Leading citizens, not only in Sydney, but throughout Australia, could be asked to help.

The article by Mr. Jack Hooke. which 1 shall give to the Minister, draws attention to a number of problems regarding migrants that exist in other countries of the world. He points out that the migrant flow is definitely diminishing. He feels that the priorities which have operated in the past-

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