HC Deb 05 February 1953 vol 510 cc1997-8
1. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether, in consultation with the Government of Australia, he will put a ban on assisted emigration until jobs and adequate living conditions can be guaranteed to immigrants to Australia.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. John Foster)

I can give the hon. Member an assurance that present practice ensures that no worker is accepted under the Australian Assisted Passage Scheme unless there is a reasonable prospect that employment, with adequate living accommodation, will be available to him or her on arrival in Australia.

Mr. Thomson

May I ask the Minister whether he is aware that among a number of complaints I have received from constituents in this matter is one of British immigrants to Australia simply going down the gangplank of the ship on to the Australian dole queue? Is he further aware that the Australian Workers' Union, the biggest trade union in Australia, at its conference last week, passed a resolution asking that there should be a ban on assisted emigration until jobs and homes could be guaranteed? Is he aware that the Union complain that these people are providing a cheap labour force for Australian employers and does not the Minister think—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Minister is not responsible for statements made by a trade union in Australia.

Mr. Foster

I think I may help the hon. Gentleman in this respect. I am talking about the present practice, as of today. The Commonwealth nomination scheme, under which Commonwealth Governments nominated people to emigrate to Australia, has been terminated, on the ground that there is not sufficient assurance of employment. With regard to the personal nomination scheme, where persons in Australia nominate individuals, that continues, because there is a reasonable assurance of jobs and accommodation when they get there.

Mr. H. Nicholls

Is the Minister aware that the need today is not to ban assisted passages, but to encourage them? Otherwise, the time will soon be here when people going out to the Commonwealth with understanding of the real value of Empire will be in the minority, and that spirit of Commonwealth co-operation will be lost.

Mr. Foster

The Australian Government terminated their nomination scheme.