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Wednesday, 14 March 1973
Page: 546

Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) (Minister for Immigration) - by leave - I table a progress report by the Immigration Advisory Council on its inquiry into the departure of settlers from Australia. In tabling this report I wish to express my appreciation to the distinguished members of the Council's Committee on Social Patterns, which is carrying out the inquiry. Its members are:

Professor Zubrzycki, Head of the Department of Sociology at the Australian National University, who is the chairman of the Committee; Miss Green, Chairman of the Australian Council of Social Service; Mr Hawke, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions; Sir Arthur Lee, President of the Returned Services League, Mr Lippmann, Chairman of the Migrant Welfare Committee of the Australian Council of Social Service; Air Marshal Sir John McCauley, President of the Good Neighbour Council of New South Wales; Mr McRae, President of the National Youth Council; Mr Nicholas, Executive Officer of the Australian Woolgrowers' and Graziers' Council; Mrs Reader, representing the National Council of Women; and Dr Alan Richardson, Reader in Psychology at the University of Western Australia.

The Committee was also most fortunate in having available to it as its consultant Dr Charles Price, Professorial Fellow in Demography at the Australian National University. The report was presented to my predecessor towards the end of the last Parliament. It has not been published pending presentation to the Parliament. Though the Committee has yet to complete its inquiries, I believe that its findings to date are already of such importance that they warrant the closest consideration. The Committee estimates that the rate of settler loss in Australia lies between 21 per cent and 24 per cent. This estimate is related to arrival and departure movement over the 6 years to 30th June 1972.

In de-fining the level of settler departures, the Committee adopted the concept of 'settler loss' as providing the most meaningful indicator of the proportion of migrants who leave Australia permanently. This concept takes into account various factors which are not covered by a simple measure of departures, including those who return to Australia as second time migrants and those who enter as visitors and obtain a change of status. The Committee found that there are many factors influencing departure, some of which may relate to the general economic and social structure not only in the receiving country, which is Australia, but also in the principal source countries. Others are of a personal nature, and relate to the particular needs of individual migrants. Some return because of unforeseen events in the country of origin, such as illness in the family. Others leave because of difficulties encountered in Australia.

In addition to coming to certain interim conclusions in relation to the recommendations of the previous inquiry, the Committee has been concerned to suggest remedial action where new factors leading to departure can be readily identified. It has arranged for a number of studies to provide it with evidence about the importance of individual reasons for departure. The Immigration Advisory Council will be making its final report after these researches into the causes of settler departures have been completed. This, J understand, is likely to be in July this year. The report recommends that there should be- a positive and continuing campaign to inculcate in the present and future generations, a feeling of national pride in the achievements of Australians of many national origins in all fields of human endeavour.

It points out that - those who arrive in this country as settlers would then be encouraged in even greater numbers to remain to share in the nation's destiny,

I fully support these remarks and emphasise that only when we have fully accepted all migrants into the Australian family, as citizens with equal ranking in all respects, will this desirable goal be achieved. To the extent that the departure rate can be reduced by improved selection procedures and through greater attention to the settlement problems of migrants, no effort will be. spared by this Government. A number of initiatives have already been taken and others are being developed.

We take even this preliminary report as a challenge to end the settler loss. We have taken action to develop fundamental improvements in the procedures for migrant selection and counselling; emergency interpreter services; citizenship centres; and special programs for migrant children in schools. My Department, the Department of Immigration - which I like to think of as the Department of Immigration, Citizenship and Settlement - is already taking action on the progress report. I am sure that honourable members, like myself, will await with interest the Committee's final report. I commend this report to all honourable members.

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