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Wednesday, 19 June 1946

Mr CALWELL - I have seen the report, to which the honorable gentleman has referred and I have asked my officers in London for their comments on it. In regard to the transport to Australia of wives and fiancees of servicemen and exservicemen, and of stranded Australians, responsibility for those in the first two categories rests with my colleague, the Minister for Repatriation, though the officers of my department have charge of the arrangements. Since Mr. Beasley went to London to occupy the position of Resident Minister the position has improved very considerably, and now very few brides who are ready to leave for Australia still remain to be transported to this country. The position in regard to finances is being considered by the Resident Minister and, approximately,750 young women are included in that category. There are also between 3,000 and 4,000 stranded Australians in the United Kingdom. The Resident Minister expects' the whole position to be cleaned up before the end of this year. As a matter of fact, when the Prime Minister came back from London he summoned me to a conference and told me of the position affecting persons desiring to come to this country, and as the result of these talks I asked the Resident Minister in London to arrange for about 1,000 building tradesmen to be selected and brought to Australia as soon as possible. The fact thatwe were able to do that indicates that the position in regard to persons in the priority classes is very satisfactory indeed.

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