Oral Answers to Questions — Internees, Australia (Release for Work).

– in the House of Commons on 29th January 1942.

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Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary whether he has any information as to the release of civilian internees in Australia?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

Yes, Sir. The Commonwealth Government have recently announced that plans have been completed for using on a voluntary basis the labour and skill of civilian internees sent to Australia who wish to participate in the common effort for the defeat of the Nazi and Fascist aggressors and their accomplices. The Commonwealth Government have expressed their agreement to the enlistment of fit men of military age in labour units of the Australian military Forces and the employment of specialists and technicians in work of national importance. They are also prepared to agree to the release of youths under the age of 18 to continue their education and studies or to learn occupations such as farming, provided that they have adequate means of support, and to the release of aged and infirm internees subject to the same condition. The release of these internees will, for administrative reasons, be gradual, and each case will be referred to me to ensure that there is no objection on security grounds: and it has been made clear by the Commonwealth Government that release will not in any case imply that the individual concerned will be allowed to remain in Australia after the war. I am sure that the House will share my gratification that, at a time when the Commonwealth Government are preoccupied by the many urgent problems arising from the extension of the war to the Pacific, it has been found possible to make these arrangements, and I trust they will meet with a good response from these internees who are willing to assist the Allied cause.

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

Will the right hon. Gentleman take care that this extremely gratifying decision is made known as quickly and as widely as possible, in view of the fact that answers to Questions about internees do not always go out to Australia?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I think the hon. Lady will be glad to know that the Australian Government have, in this case, already made a public announcement in the Commonwealth.