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Thursday, 8 November 1956

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) .- I think all Australians will be delighted to hear the news that- the Government is giving asylum to 3,000 of the victims of Russian aggression in Hungary. I hope that the necessary transport and other arrangements will be made quickly, so that these unfortunate people may come to Australia where, already, there are sizeable Hungarian communities that can help them in their hour of trouble and assist their assimilation into the Australian community. I note that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Townley) stated that some cases would be treated on a compassionate basis. That is right and proper. I should like the Minister, now that he is examining cases on a compassionate basis, to have a look at some of the " hard core " cases that were under the supervision of the International Refugee Organization. Those people of half a dozen races, all behind the iron curtain, have not being accepted for resettlement in Great Britain, Canada, the United States of America, and Australia to date. Perhaps the former Minister for Immigration, the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) might lend his weight to consideration of this question of resettlement of the " hard core " cases on this basis. There are thousands of them, and this might be a fitting opportunity to bring to Australia these unfortunates who. because of the loss of an eye, an arm, or a leg, or because of some other physical defect, deformity or injury, were not able to come to Australia when we were selecting only the fittest and the ablest persons, with the exception that those who had parents could call them out later.

Many of these people still live in camps, under deplorable conditions, in Germany. Various honorable members have seen them, and so have the representatives of the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration who have been in Australia in recent times. I think that the Government might also extend its benevolence to these people. The action that has been taken is meritorious and commendable and will, I think, be supported by all the people of Australia who are sympathetic to the victims of Russian aggression, and appalled by the bestiality and brutality of the Russians in their attempt to suppress the liberty and the independence of the Hungarian nation.

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