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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I have no desire to occupy the time of the Senate very long. It is very gratifying to the Government that, after so many attempts have been made to pass a motion of this description, the end is so near, and that it has been left to a Labour Government to give effect to a policy which will afford to Australia - to its prospects and possibilities - the biggest advertisement it has ever received in London. A great deal has been said about the advertising proclivities of Canada, and the great results achieved. I am sure that if we make the people who come here comfortable, happy, and prosperous, they will very soon send such messages to their friends, not only in Great Britain, but in parts of Europe, that the Commonwealth will, as was stated by one of the Ministers in Victoria, have to build ships to bring out all those who want to emigrate to this country. In making comparisons between Australia and Canada, Senator St. Ledger, and others, should remember that it was in the sixteenth century that the latter was established, whereas it was only at the beginning of the last century that Australia really began to grow. Canada was, in large measure, a flourishing settlement when it was taken by Great Britain, and it has had time to grow ever since. Seeing that at the census taken ten years ago, the population of Canada was 5,300,000, and that the population of the Commonwealth of Australia was only about 3,700,000, the latter had approached pretty rapidly to the position of the former, which, let me repeat, had a start of a couple of hundred years. Notwithstanding all her advertisements, notwithstanding her proximity not only to the swarming population of Great Britain and Europe, but also to the immense population of the adjoining country of the United States, notwithstanding all her expenditure, and her advertisements, from 1901 to the end of 1909, Canada had increased her population by only 1,800,000. That was not a great achievement when it is remembered that the Dominion started the century with a popu- lation of 5,300,000. In Australia, we started in 1901 with a population of 3,700,000, and in ten years we had increased the population by600,000 which is nearly as great an achievement when we recall the difficulties which existed at the inauguration of Federation, and the disasters which almost overtook the whole of Australia in the shape of a drought, when hundreds of people were unemployed, and no one was urging persons to come out here. Prosperity returned with the advent of a Labour Government, and prosperity remains under a Labour Government. The ships which could have brought out all the emigrants who desired to come here ten years ago would not bring one-hundredth part of them to-day, and there is a Labour Government in power. That may only be a coincidence, but still the fact remains that people arc eager to come to Australia where a Labour Government is in power. I hope that the Labour party will give those who are anxious to settle in this country opportunities to do so. Not only do we hope that, but we hope also that adequate provision will be made in connexion with land settlement and other kinds of development, so that those who do come here will be able to establish themselves in happy and prosperous homes. We have not the slightest doubt that when we are of the same age as Canada is, we shall have double her present population, or even double the population which she may have a hundred years hence. To my mind, Australia is first every time, and the more we can do to show other parts of the world the greatness and the importance of the Commonwealth, by establishing in London offices for our High Commissioner, and the Agents-General for the States, and exhibiting our produce, the more we shall do in the interests of our fellow countrymen. I hope that the motion will be carried.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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