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Thursday, 23 June 1904

Mr McCOLL (Echuca) - It has been gratifying to hear the views which have been expressed this afternoon upon the subject brought up by the honorable and learned member for Ballarat. It is a pity that it can be dealt with only in a transitory fashion, but I hope that the speeches which we have heard will not be forgotten. This House has for the last four months been dealing with legislation which, although it may appear important to some, is to my mind by no means so important as that affecting the matter referred to by the honorable and learned member, because it is very doubtful whether it will accomplish much good. We seem, however, to be now returning to something like common-sense views, and to be appreciating the real reasons for the Federation of the States. Federation was accomplished in order to push Australia ahead, and I hope that the discussion this afternoon will have some effect in removing the mistaken impression that has been created in the old country and elsewhere, that we do not wish to see our population increase. Our first duty is to our own people, and here are thousands who wish to settle upon the land, but who cannot do so. In this country, however, very little can be done in the way of land settlement, unless water is provided. I hope that the Minister of Home Affairs will give his attention to that matter. If he does, he may earn for himself a name which will endure! to all time. It seems to me that there is no more desirable population than that which comes from the south of Europe. The people living in that part of the world are accustomed to a climate similar to our own, and will bring with them industries which this country needs. Mr. J. M. Sinclair, who was sent by the Government of Victoria to inquire into the condition of agriculture in the United States, informed me that in that country he occasionally came upon very fine settlements, almost every one of whichwere populated by Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, or Frenchmen. If success has attended the efforts of these people in America,. I think that, with proper departmental guidance, and good government, the same results would happen here. The honorable member for Franklin spoke of Italians as undesirable immigrants. Like other people,' there are both desirables and undesirables among them, and no doubt, many undesirable Italians have gone to the United States, but I trust that we shall be able to keep such men out of Australia. I hope that the debate will not fail to have effect, and will be regarded by the Government as an indication that the House is prepared to back them up in any scheme they may take in hand for the development of Australia and the increase of our productions.

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