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Arthur Calwell part two

In their own words

Recorded 1967

Arthur Calwell part two
Audio: 2 minutes

No country can have a highly successful immigration scheme without full employment, and no country can have full employment without a rapidly increasing population growth. Now in Australia, our population was small and the demands upon us – upon that community – to expand and grow quickly were very great. We could take and absorb migrants and I set the figure at one per cent of the population. That was the target figure by which we would increase our population by the arrival – of a surplus of arrivals over departures. We had to increase our population, too, by natural increase, and we reckoned that perhaps we could grow annually at the rate of one per cent from natural growth, although that was low.

We always got – in my day – we always got the one per cent increase by immigration, but we sometimes had a two per cent increase through natural growth. We averaged about two-and-a-half per cent increase for a number of years, and that was highly satisfactory. After 22 years we can say that we have received more than one million people by way of migration – two million by way of migration, or immigration, and two million by way of natural increase, so that after 22 years our population of seven-and-a-half million has grown to practically 12 millions.

I have always believed that we were being inbred here, descended from English and Scotch and Irish and Welsh for the most part, and I welcomed the infusion of European blood because it gave us what I would like to call a biological transfusion.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Arthur Calwell is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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Arthur Calwell

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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