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Tuesday, 25 October 1949

Mr CALWELL (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Immigration) - I rose before six: o'clock this morning and travelled by air from Sydney to Canberra, and did not have a chance to listen to the broadcast to which the honorable gentleman has referred. It may be that it was a broadcast, from Moscow to the "CP." of Australia, and we know that on occasions some persons have confused the Country party with the Communist party. T knew of this matter before the question was asked, because a number of pressrepresentatives had typed copies of the question and had circulated them among: honorable members on both sides of theHouse. I have been waiting for the question for the last ten minutes. Now let me come to the question itself. The Tass: Agency's story is, as the honorable member for Indi will doubtless agree, a concoction. No person has been forced out of Denmark and made to come to this, country. The truth is- that Denmark has: given refuge to a number of displaced' persons. Being a small country, it hasbeen under constant pressure from Russia to repatriate those unfortunatepersons behind the Iron Curtain, but it has refused to do so. The Danish Government reported the matter to theInternational Refugee Organization,, and that organization asked whether Australia would take them. In. order to help the persons concerned and to relieve Denmark in a difficult, situation, we agreed to do so. I can imagine the annoyance and sense of frustration of the Tass Agency when it finds that these people are on their way to Australia. They will embark at either Bremerhaven or Naples. . The Tass storyis just as inaccurate as the other story that it has published about the International Refugee Organization. I assurethe honorable gentleman that no force is being used to bring these people here. As a matter of fact, we are encounteringgreat difficulty in Naples in keeping intending stowaways off vessels that are- bound for Australia. We have had to return some stowaways to Naples because our representatives have told us that if we allow persons who are anxious to come to Australia to enter the country without having observed the usual routine they will require machine guns to keep stowalways off vessels sailing from Naples to Australia. I am sure that the honorable gentleman shares my view that we ought to welcome to Australia as many good people as we can accommodate. Denmark has no grievance, and nobody is being forced to come to this country against his will.

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