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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 12. September 19, 1945

Rsa Motion Re Enemy Aliens Decisively Quashed

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Rsa Motion Re Enemy Aliens Decisively Quashed

(Last term a debate was held on the subject of the recent RSA motion concerning the expulsion of enemy aliens. It could scarcely be called a debate since so few supported the motion.)

Stan Campbell: He announced that in defending the RSA motion he was not indulging in Jew baiting. He is willing to allow the Jew to be peaceful and industrious. He was talking about Aliens—men, women and children. (Laughter.) "When you get to my age you realise that children are inevitable." (More laughter.) Any children born in N.Z. must be pure; we don't want to have the N.Z. spirit dimmed and dulled by intermarriage with enemy aliens. The appalling fact that 65 farm properties in N.Z. had been bought by these enemy aliens was pointed out. He appealed to the 700 women students of the College to help him to prevent the awful situation arising where an enemy alien would have a house which a good N.Z.-er might want. (Interjection: "What if she marries him?") Stan dilated at length on what he hoped would happen to the interjector. He finished by painting a ghastly picture of the people of N.Z. with a dark future before them in which the "aliens would be fattening like the goats of Esau and battening us down."

Nig. Taylor: The nearest approach to Mr. Campbell's speech is to be found in translations of Hitler's speeches. He is the "only man present who thinks with his blood." The defence of the RSA motion is a revival of the Nazi outlook and highly emotional. It (a) conflicts with philosophic and moral principles; (b) to exclude aliens would be as bad for us as for them. There are three considerations: (1) Is it good for us? (2) Is it good for the aliens? (3) Is it good for the country to which they would return?
(1)The aliens would not do us out of jobs as there are not enough of them. We all know of the manpower shortage; some of us too intimately. We need men to help provide food stuffs for Europe. These people bring their ability and culture and help internationalism.
(2)The aliens don't want to be expelled—they are regarded by their own countries as traitors and their lives would be made intolerable.
(3)They can do more good here than among hostile conditions. These people are not enemy aliens—they resisted our enemies.

Kevin O'Brien, In unusually subdued and parsonlike tones stated that the aliens owe New Zealand a debt. You can't separate the terms alien and enemy in this debate. They are free because we fought for them. New Zealanders made great sacrifices, they left their mothers, fathers, wives, sweethearts, children (what about great-aunts and cousins?). Germany is still a virile nation and these people can lead her into the channels of peace. It will be difficult, but then it must be difficult for aliens as well as for everyone else. The best way is to return these enemy aliens to their own lands. (Amen—echoed through whole audience).

Gordon Stuckey: This motion means the imposition of a penalty on potentially useful New Zealand citizens. It is a strike at the inalienable rights of man for which we have been fighting. Intolerance in modern society is bad. The individual must have the right to move round the world unmolested provided he abides by the laws of the society concerned. These aliens are a humble, adaptable people and have caused no concern. The returned young men fear that the values for which they fought may be lost.

Hickey: It's such a pity that New Zealanders don't realise their danger. Alfens worm their way into everything. Mr. Taylor wants to import aliens to buy up 65,000 farms. Aliens with their alien ways worm their way in.

Neuberg: I am one of these bogeymen. My son is a New Zealander by right. New Zealand did not open her gates to penniless refugees, they entered under the ordinary immigration laws. I won't go into Mr. Campbell's biological arguments.

Jim Winchester: So the aliens grow vegetables and tile, roofs—what do you want them to do. Hibernate? There are descendants of erstwhile enemy aliens in the hall—what about the Irish? (Indignant explosion by O'Brien provided amusement). "Some considerable time ago there were some other refugee Jews fleeing for their lives from a tyrannical oppressor, a man, a woman and a child. They fled to a country where the pagan inhabitants worshipped, if I remember correctly, crocodiles and cats, and yet these refugees were received and treated in a better way than this nominally Christian country would treat refugees. The man was Joseph, the woman Mary, and the child Jesus."

Meltzer: We should treat this debate seriously despite humorous interludes. Here are some facts: 1,053 refugees in this country—if Mr. Campbell thinks they are a menace, then I leave it to you what to think of Mr. Campbell. The RSA is trying to think of ways of crawling out of this resolution. 99 per cent, of the refugees have been deprived of their nationality in their native country, therefore they are not enemy nationals.

Roy Jack: The result on the population is negligible. The returned serviceman should take priority but the answer to this question is not expulsion. There is at least a temporary shortage of manpower and it is premature to support such a motion.

Brendon O'Connor: RSA is justified but has gone a little too far. They should have made constructive suggestions. "There are other ways of increasing population without resorting to enemy aliens."

Stan Campbell, summing up: I will deal with Mr. Meltzer. (You are one of the Innocents Abroad, Meltzer). All right, then let New Zealand be the big-hearted Arthur—the bread is being taken out of your babies' mouths.

The motion was lost with two dissenters. The Chairman (Dave Cohen) expressed his regret that it had not been unanimously lost.

Mr. Parker (the judge): "We all know Mr. Campbell and have been entertained by him before." I have had a good time tonight—we have had both very good entertainment and hard facts.