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Friday, 29 March 1946

Mr McEWEN - Certainly, it is unanswered.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - The Minister did not attempt to answer it. I say that until every man born in the Commonwealth who is serving in the Australian forces has been given the right 'to complete, or commence, a university course, the Minister has no right to resort to the stratagem to which he has resorted in this instance. Taking these people at their best, as enemy aliens, stateless or whatever they may be, they did not come to Australia for Australia's good or because they had any particular love for Australia. They came here because circumstances in their homeland made it uncomfortable for them to remain there. And, with the recent turn of events in Europe and the reconstitution of certain European governments, I have a strong suspicion that most of these people would go back to the countries from which they came. They did not come here 'as ordinary immigrants, or to settle here, but simply to accept the asylum which was offered to them by the Government of Australia. Consequently, they have quite a lot to thank this country for.

Mr Beazley - And a great many countries have a lot to thank people for who went to them for asylum to escape persecution in their own countries.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I do not deny that. 1 am as well aware as the honorable member for Fremantle that over the centuries many people Wen to England from the Continent for that reason. But there is also the kind of person who leaves his country for his country's good. Sometimes he turns out to be a good man in some other country under different conditions, and sometimes he does not: whilst in other cases he goes to that other country for his own good, and having' done well there, is quite happy to go back to the country from which he originally came and disown the country which was willing to receive him in his day of trouble. I have heard of case after case of young men, aged nineteen and twenty years and still in the forces, who have been denied the right to start a university career in Australia. As for the Minister's preference in this instance to person* of alien birth, I say that whatever service they may have rendered to Australia they would have been forced to render that service in practically any .country in which they might have been found during the war. So, we owe them nothing on that account. The position is intolerable, and the Government would do well to alter it.

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