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Wednesday, 5 September 1928

Mr PARKHILL (Warringah) . - For many years I have held the view, of the correctness of which- 1 feel more certain every day, that a larger population is one of the greatest needs of this country, and must be obtained if it is to survive. We cannot continue to hold such a mighty continent with a sparse population while the over-crowded nations of the world are seeking an outlet for their surplus numbers. The policy of the Labour party, so far as I have been able to lear-n it, is that not a migrant should enter this country so long as one person in it is out of work. Under those circumstances there will never be any migration to Australia. It is the duty of this Parliament, and of every man who has any love for his country, to see that it is populated in such a way that no hardship will be imposed upon the people who already live here. The policy that is being pursued at the prosent time does not impose any hardship upon our citizens, but on the contrary is a statesmanlike attempt to increase our population by the introduction of om kith and kin from Great Britain. That is not being done by the Federal Government or by this Parliament directly. This Government says to the governments of the States - " You are principally concerned with the question of employment ; you have the lands in your charge ; you are responsible for unlocking those lands; you are in control of practically all public works, and the disposal of employment in connexion with them; therefore you know what migrants you can absorb." Every assisted migrant who comes to Australia to-day must first be authorized by, and receive the permission of a State Government. That system has been in operation for a number of years. At the present time there are in Australia three or four Labour Governments which give their sanction to the nomination of migrants. Surely they are as good Labour men as my friends opposite? If it is wrong for the Federal Government to pay the passage money of migrants, it is equally wrong for any Labour Government to bring migrants to Australia. No assisted migrant can come from Great Britain to Victoria without the consent of the Hogan Government, to Queensland without the consent of the McCormack Government, or to Western Australia without the consent of the Collier Government. Similar conditions applied in the case of the Lang Government; yet during its tenure of office thousands of nominations were authorized. I go further and say that a contributory factor in the distress that exists in the Newcastle district is the number of miners who were permitted by the Lang Government to go there.


Mr PARKHILL - My statement can be verified by a reference to the records.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The ex Minister for Mines told me that an embargo was placed upon miners coming in.

Mr PARKHILL - I have not the slightest doubt that he would say so, because to-day he is being blamed for the distress that exists. The records will prove that he was responsible. I am in favour of migrants being brought here from Great Britain. I agree with the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Ley) that every such migrant who is given employment upon arrival increases our national wealth and enlarges the avenues of employment for those who are already here. If that system is sedulously and consistently adhered to by the governments of the States, if they see that only those who have a job to "go to are permitted to come here, no harm can be done to the workers of Australia; but, on the contrary,' a great deal of good will result by the provision of additional employment.

Mr Blakeley - Does the Federal Government provide employment for the foreigners who come here?

Mr PARKHILL - There is no assisted foreign migration; each foreigner who comes here pays for his own passage. The item we are discussing deals with assisted British migration, which is justified in every way. I should like the vote to be much higher, so that a larger number of British migrants could be sent to Australia under the rigid safeguards that are in operation to-day. It is wise that when there is general unemployment all over the world, such as that which 'exists today, migration to Australia should be regulated by the Commonwealth Government in conjunction with the States; but it is regrettable that it should be limited to its present extent. The future prosperity and safety of this country are indissolubly bound up with a large increase in its population. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Blakeley) has advocated the Labour policy. It is news to me to hear that we should make the workers more prosperous by piling additional burdens upon their backs, by grinding the faces of the poor, and by making it harder and harder for them to live. If that is the method by which honorable members opposite propose to solve the problem of unemployment, I am opposed to it. It is not a solution that will commend itself to the working-class people in the industrial constituencies. I shall be satisfied if honorable members will advocate that platform, then there will be one question upon which any honorable member of this House can go into a Labour constituency and get a hearing. But this panacea for improving the happiness of the people by increasing the cost of living by means of Labour extravagance and arbitration laws is quite a new one.

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