26 JANUARY 1951, Page 2

Populating Australia

A speech made by the Australian Minister for Immigration this week indicates the practical and considered policy Australia is pur- suing in the matter of attracting new citizens. She needs a larger population, and a balanced population. The immediate requirement Is for skilled workers rather than unskilled labourers, and it is proposed to draw them from the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and Italy, as well as from Displaced Persons centres, the total contemplated for 1951 being 200,000. These are wise and enlightened plans—as it was wise and enlightened to appoint a special Minister for Immigration in the first instance. Australia is determined to remain essentially British, and nothing in her immigra- tion policy threatens that. Out of a population of 8,200,000 last June all but the odd 200,000 ranked as British and at the present rate of immigration nine persons out of ten will be British in 1960. Australia has the experience of the greatest of all " reception " countries, the United States, to learn from. Even there, though immigration was heterogeneous and unrestricted till the beginning of this century, assimilation has on the whole been adequate. In Australia's case there will be both limitation and selection, and the newcomers should be integrated into the national society without difficulty or delay. The decision to attract 25,000 Germans a year is particularly sound, for Germans make extremely good settlers.