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Tuesday, 16 September 1958
Page: 1235

Mr DOWNER (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Immigration) - Australians generally, of course, will welcome any interest by the United States of America in migration to Australia. So far, our information is disseminated through three channels - from our embassy in Washington, from the Consul-General in New York and the Consul-General in San Francisco. I do not know whether my honorable friend is aware that we have in operation - and have had for the past two years or so - a general assisted passage scheme by which the Australian Government provides, in round figures, approximately ?47 towards the cost of passages for citizens of the United States of America desiring to emigrate to Australia. Since World War II., approximately 14,000 immigrants have come to Australia from the United States of America and, again in round figures, about 4,000 have come here under the general assisted passage scheme.

I ask the honorable member to remember, however, that the United States of America, as .with ourselves, is still a country of immigration. The American quota is probably still the largest in the world every year. Therefore, although we are very desirous of attracting highly skilled and suitable types of immigrants from the United States of America to come to these shores, I think we would be fanciful if we imagined that, considering the American scene, the high standard of living there, the high wages and generally prosperous conditions, we could get any considerable number of Americans to come to Australia.

Sir, thehonorable member has asked me whether we could extend our sources of recruitment. Bearing in mind what I have said, and also the fact that we have already three offices in the United States of America, I think it would be expensive and, perhaps, not altogether profitable, to establish new missions, even in large American provincial cities. As things are, we are most anxious to encourage American skilled workers and other suitable people to come to Australia, as I have said, but at this stage, it could best be left to employers and employers' organizations, who can offer them jobs when they get here, and accommodation. None the less, I wish to assure the honorable member that the Government is very well aware of these possibilities, is keeping a close watch not only on the United States, but on the North American situation generally, and will lose no opportunity to get those people to come here once sufficient opportunity demonstrates itself.

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