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Tuesday, 1 May 1973
Page: 1474

Mr DOYLE (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Has the Minister for Immigration seen reports which indicate that there is now a surplus of 40,000 males over females in Australia? Is the Minister able to indicate whether these reports are correct? If so, will he take steps to adjust the balance of the sexes?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - Speaking personally, I can only say to the honourable member that I made one small contribution in one daughter, but I suppose I could say to the honourable member, who has 8 children - I think 5 boys and 3 girls - 'Well, I did my part, you seem to have contributed to the imbalance'. I saw a newspaper article which indicated that there was a surplus of single males over single, females in the 20 to 24-year age group. The newspaper article stated that there were 40,000 more males in that age group. I was naturally interested to see whether the report was correct. The Commonwealth Statistician indicates that there are 164,000 more single males than single females in the 20 to 24-year age group. I would not like honourable members to be concerned about that too much.

The statistics also show that males tend to marry at an older age than females and that there is not a significant imbalance of the sexes in general. However in some ethnic groups there is an imbalance. I might say that I have asked the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council to give continuing attention to this matter. The last occasion on which it considered the problem was in 1969. We. certainly hope to use the immigration program to help correct the temporary imbalances in one or two groups. It is also interesting, I think, as a male in a male assembly, to note that for every 105 males born there are 100 females born, but the death rate among males is much higher than among females. In fact, by the time, males reach the age of 23 to 24 they still outnumber females though more of them die off. I want to assure the honourable member and the House that we will certainly use the immigration program to the best extent that we can to correct the imbalances which exist in one or two ethnic groups.

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