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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1612

Mr MARTIN (BANKS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the Minister for Immigration seen reports of the failure of the settlement of Ugandan Asians in Britain? Is it a fact that since October 1972 Ugandan Asians have been in hostel accommodation in Sydney? What is the position in relation to these refugees? Does our experience parallel that of the British?

Mr GRASSBY - I cannot comment on the reports which I have seen about the difficulties of Ugandan Asians settling in Britain. But I should like to say that I think the position in Australia reflects great credit on both sides of the Parliament because it was under the previous Administration when permission was given for the issue of some 500 visas to assist in the problem of settling refugees from East Africa. I should like to acknowledge that that decision was made by the previous Administration. Since that time, we have had a request from the High Commissioner for Refugees for an additional 50 visas to assist in the remnants of the resettlement and the Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs was happy to agree with my suggestion that they be issued. So, on both sides of the Parliament, there has been concern to assist in the resettlement of Asians driven from Uganda. From October 1972 there were 50 Ugandan Asian families in the 'Endeavour' hostel in Sydney and I think all honourable members will be pleased to know that only 10 families remain at the hostel. All the others have been settled successfully and absorbed into their professions. Just the other day, Mr 1. H. Paddick a migrant selection officer, came back from Nairobi where he was instrumental in selecting many of these refugees. He was present at the 'Endeavour' hostel at a thank-you function to all the people in Australia who had been concerned with the resettlement of these refugees. I am pleased to acknowledge the efforts from both sides of the Parliament in this humane operation. Mr Paddick, who has had experience in East Africa, said that the people who have come here have been integrated in a way which surprised him, integrated in a far better way than they had ever been absorbed in East Africa. They unanimously expressed the opinion that they were grateful for the hand of welcome that had been extended to them. They wanted to become Australian citizens, and the Operation Refugee from East Africa reflects credit on Australia generally and on both sides of this Parliament.

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