[Editor: This article illustrates the then common desire to “populate or perish”, to bring in more European migrants to fill Australia’s empty spaces, alluding to the millions of Asians to Australia’s north. Additionally, it is an example of the viewpoint that to be “Australian” was also to be “British”, as evidenced in the desire expressed by Howard Beale for Australia to be British, rather than Australian, in culture.]
War children as migrants
Suggestion by M.P.
A suggestion that Australia should accept as immigrants some of the 9,000 illegitimate issue of Norwegian girls and women who were mated with German soldiers billeted upon them during the war was made yesterday by Mr. Howard Beale, M.P.
Mr. Beale was addressing the Constitutional Association on immigration.
“I know I am entering controversial grounds when I say this,” said Mr. Beale, “but I am inclined to think we could do worse things for ourselves than bring as many of them as practicable to Australia, where, from early childhood, they may grow into a new environment and become happy, useful Australian citizens.
“This is a sad problem, and I think the Norwegian Government would be willing to share it with other countries who are willing to take these offspring.
“We must look in Australia for a large increased population, not from a natural increase, but through migration.
“More than 1,000 million over-crowded people of different race and tradition to ourselves, living not much more than one day’s flying time from Australia, are looking quizzically at our empty continent.
“They are finding it strange and almost intolerable and very difficult indeed to understand our so-called ‘White Australia Policy’ under which we claim the right of rigid racial exclusion and yet continue to leave our country virtually empty.
“If we desire to hold this country as a centre of Western civilisation and culture, if we desire to defend it for ourselves and our children, if we wish to make a larger contribution by the products of our soil and our work- shops to the people of the rest of the world, then we must populate it.”
Mr. Beale emphasised the need for educating the migrant in the British traditions which Australia had inherited. There might be a tendency, he said, to lay strong emphasis on Australianism to the exclusion of British traditions.
“We are British, whether we like it or not,” he said. “We inherit the English language, law, literature, and institutions. They must become part of the mental and emotional fabric of the newcomer also.”
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Tuesday 24 June 1947, page 22