Australia (Assisted Passages)

Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Relations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th October 1952.

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Photo of Mr Albert Evans Mr Albert Evans , Islington South West 12:00 am, 30th October 1952

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations the number of assisted emigrants to Australia during the last four years; and the number of these who returned to this country before two years had elapsed.

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

During the period 1st January, 1949, to 7th October, 1952, 147,666 men, women and children were granted assisted passages to Australia. No statistics are available to show how many left Australia within two years of their arrival there.

Photo of Mr Albert Evans Mr Albert Evans , Islington South West

Will the Minister take the trouble to obtain the statistics of those returning and present them to the House, because I understand that many of these people go out there on assisted passages and are forced to return because of inadequate housing accommodation?

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

I do not think that that is the case. The only estimate we can make of the number of people coming back is by the number of refunds that are given, and between March, 1947, and June, 1951, the number was 1,058, which is 1,058 cases out of 80,000 persons. If a few more are added to that total for dependents it looks like a figure of about 2½ per cent.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Will the Minister ensure that we work closely with the Australian Government and the refugee organisations in Geneva, which is now dealing with emigration troubles of a similar kind?

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

I will take note of the right hon. Member's question.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Macpherson Mr Malcolm Macpherson , Stirling and Falkirk Burghs

Does the Minister recall a case to which considerable publicity in the Press was given a few weeks ago concerning people who went to Australia on a firm promise of employment there? When they got there there was no employment and they decided to come back. Can he do anything to improve the relationships between our end and the Australian end in matters like that, because cases of that sort do a great deal of harm?

Photo of Sir John Foster Sir John Foster , Northwich

That should be the subject of another Question. I remember something about it.