Australia (Assisted Passage Scheme)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire 12:00 am, 27th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in view of the continuing high level of unemployment he will take steps to reintroduce the British contribution to the Assisted Passage Scheme to Australia.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Is my hon. Friend aware that this modest contribution in furtherance of a policy of migration to Australia, especially of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, was fully justified? Will he say why the Government abolished this contribution and why it is not to be reintroduced?

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

My right hon. and learned Friend is right: it was a modest contribution and would amount to about seven Australian dollars for each assisted migrant this year. But it would need a massive change in outward migration of about 250,000 a year to have any influence on the size of the population here, and I very much doubt whether the Australians would be willing to receive so many people.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman , Manchester Ardwick

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the implication in the Question—namely, that we should ship our unemployed abroad—is quite unacceptable and that what is required is all necessary Government action to create jobs in this country?

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

That is a different question. But there is no doubt that the contribution which was fixed in 1920 is now not relevant to Australian needs or ours.