“nothing adverse”

by tobybee

“Outside the government’s immigration planning, [Arthur] Calwell [the Australian Minister for Immigration] informed Parliament, in March 1946, that ‘as an act of humanity’ he had granted permission for 2000 landing permits to be issued to persons who had close relatives in Australia ‘provided that the Europeans who were to be admitted had been in such prison camps as Belsen and Buchenwald, in slave labour gangs, or were now in dispossessed family camps, or were otherwise homeless or destitute in Europe’. Calwell pointed out that none of these holders of landing permits would be able to obtain shipping until Australian service personnel had returned from Europe. Finally, he explained that the persons within this quota would have to satisfy four requirements (a) they had to be in good health; (b) they had to be of good character; (c) the British security service should know nothing adverse in relation to them; and (d) their sponsors had to undertake to ensure that these immigrants would not become a burden on the state for at least five years.”

Michael Blakeney, “The Australian Jewish community and postwar mass immigration from Europe,” 1987, p. 323-4.

In other words, Australian governments have always been suspicious of persecuted racial others on boats, have always tried their hardest to alienate them, and have never allowed any more in than they absolutely have to.

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