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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr PROWSE - Will the Deputy Prime Minister direct the Agricultural Council, which is now sitting at Canberra, to give consideration to ways and means of meeting the shortage of man-power in agricultural areas by the employment of alien labour, regardless of whether the aliens are naturalized, interned, or otherwise? I ask the question because the Government indicated more than six months ago that it intended to do something in the matter. '

Mr FORDE - The Government would welcome the views of the Agricultural Council on this subject, but must itself accept responsibility. Internees cannot be employed unless they volunteer for work. Such persons have been interned in the interests of national safety, and the Government would create numerous other problems if it allowed them to be at large indiscriminately in order to work on farms, for doubtless many of them would make their escape. No contribution would be made to the solution of man-power problems if a guard had to be provided for every internee on a farm.

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