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Tuesday, 5 July 1949


Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration) . - in reply - Most of the things which honorable members wished to say in relation to this bill were said during the consideration of the Immigration Bill, which has just been disposed of, as the result of an understanding that whilst the two bills were to be treated separately in accordance with the Standing Orders, the debate would be concentrated on the Immigration Bill as that procedure would to some degree save the time of the House.


Mr Menzies - We covered the ground in the discussion of the Immigration Bill


Mr CALWELL - As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) has said, the ground has been covered. On the measure now before us the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Lang) has delivered a bitter and bucolic speech. He has charged me with all sorts of things. I did not note his exact words, nor did I read a word of his speech as reported in Hansard or in the press ; but I knew from the general tenor of his observations that he was seeking an opportunity to pay back a few old scores. He is entitled to that privilege if he desires to exercise it. "What I propose to do by this bill is to strengthen legislation we have just passed, so that if the Immigration Act does not suffice, this special measure will meet the situation. This bill specifically deals with the ease of war-time evacuees. If the House agrees to this bill it will decide that all war-time evacuees, without exception, must leave Australia. If honorable members opposite want a division to be taken on the second reading of this bill, I shall be most happy to hear the division bells ringing.


Mr Francis Mr. Francis interjecting,


Mr CALWELL - The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) does not want a division to be taken on this bill any more than do other Opposition members. The honorable member for Reid has been in this Parliament for only a couple of years.


Mr Sheehy - Two years too long!


Mr CALWELL - I agree with the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy). The honorable member for Reid has indulged in a lot of bitterness in the speeches which he has made in this Parliament. I do not suppose he was ever more violent or vicious in his attack than he was in the few words which I heard him say when speaking on this measure last week. In my charity I ascribe it all to his senility. One cannot expect an elderly man past the middle seventies to have the alertness which he exhibited in his earlier years. The honorable member is well aware of what I, perhaps more than anybody else in Australia, did to depose him from the leadership of the Australian Labour party in Few South Wales. So, these bitter speeches from the honorable gentleman are not unexpected. If honorable members opposite join him in calling for a division I shall be most happy. On this occasion, however, although he is their de facto leader they will not follow him.


Mr Holt Mr. Holt interjecting,


Mr CALWELL - The honorable memfor Fawkner (Mr. Holt) has returned to the chamber for the discussion of this bill after having been sent out during the discussion on the Immigration Bill. It will be interesting to see whether or not he will ask for a division on this bill. The honorable member for Bourke (Mrs. Blackburn) has foreshadowed an amendment seeking to embody in the bill a provision which is included in the Aliens Deportation Act. The Government cannot accept her amendment. I shall give the reasons why I do not propose to limit my authority or the authority of any officer-







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