Paul Keating once said ‘the best migrant is the infant Australian’

On the 17th of March 1970, former Labor PM Paul Keating gave his maiden speech in Parliament. Below is an excerpt ADVANCE has transcribed. Note: if someone said this in Parliament today, he'd be labelled a racist, sexist misogynist etc...

The other basic social ill facing Australia – it is a by-product of the situation to which I have been referring – is the problem of workers having two jobs. How many men are working at two jobs? I am not sure whether such statistics are available. How many men are working 60 hours a week? Would we not all agree that the 40 hour week is a joke? The 35 hour week is an even bigger joke.  

It is bad enough for the working man to be dragged away from his home at night when he should be with his wife and family but it is even worse when he has to send his wife out to work in order to make ends meet. The honourable member for Adelaide referred to the exorbitant cost of housing and to the restrictions placed on young married couples seeking to buy a home. Husbands have been forced to send their wives to work in order to provide the necessaries of life. Young mothers have been forced out of their homes by economic pressure. We must not forget that this Government has been in office for 20 years. It has had the duty and the opportunity to rectify the present situation. Family life is the very basis of our nationhood. In the last couple of years the Government has boasted about the increasing number of women in the workforce. Rather than something to be proud of I feel that this is something of which we should be ashamed.

The shortsightedness of the Government's policy was borne out by the headlines in this morning's newspapers. The number of unfilled jobs has increased by six per cent while the unemployment figure has fallen by 10 per cent. How can we have national growth without people? How can we survive without a population? Is this Government doing anything about child endowment? Is it doing anything to put the working wife back in her home? It is not. It engages in a lot of claptrap. It denigrates the Labor Party for its constructive proposals.

The Government hopes to be able to offset the present population situation by immigration. It is time we considered the enormous cost of bringing migrants to this country. We must bear in mind this cost when we consider the cost of subsidising Australian families. We could have a system of subsidies paid to families on a sliding scale according to the number of children they have. For example, on the birth of a fourth child $1000 might be deducted from the mortgage on a home; $1500 on the birth of a fifth child. These figures may sound high, but they are not when we compare them with the cost of bringing migrants to this country. After all, the best migrant is the infant Australian. 

We wonder why Keating changed his mind...