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Friday, 30 October 1970

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Treasurer) - As at June 1970 the number of migrants who returned to their home countries was about 27,000. I think it is fair to say that some of that group were undoubtedly what may loosely be called disgruntled migrants. However, it is equally true that a large number were certainly not disgruntled. One irritating facet of Press reports of this issue is that when the number of returning migrants is reported in daily newspapers the total number is inevitably prefaced with the word 'disgruntled' when in fact that is not the case. Migrants return home for a wide diversity of reasons and the investigations that have been carried out by my Department indicate that these reasons reflect as much on the personalities of migrants as on the conditions in Australia. If I may I will very quickly give an instance. This is as mobile an age as there has been in our history and people regard it as reasonable to move from one country to another without any definite intention to settle. Many migrants return home for personal reasons. Of the total group, this accounts for a substantial percentage of those who return to their home countries. Of the balance - that is to say, those who return because their expectations in this country have not been fulfilled - it is fair to say that a reasonable proportion on returning home seek the opportunity to come back to Australia a second time. I recall that when I was in Britain recently the number of persons who had sought a second assisted passage was around 18,000. But undoubtedly this is not an area in which we can be complacent because one returning migrant is certainly one too many. I have initiated several major studies within the Department to search out those areas in which our performance can be improved.

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