Furore over ‘Pommie bludgers’

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‘POMMIE BLUDGERS’ screamed the Journal’s front page headline on 21 March 1974.
The furore that followed still bemuses then editor John Woods.
“British migrants,” read the first paragraph “were described yesterday as ‘bludgers’ by a top Dandenong clothing manufacturer”.
“The manufacturer said: ‘From sad and long experience British migrants are the worst offenders of the job-dodgers we have in Dandenong’. The manufacturer added: ‘I hope to God the Immigration Department doesn’t bring in too many of them’.
“It was the biggest furore I ever caused,” Mr Woods said “as the story and its follow-ups certainly proved!”
Bomb threats, abuse and warnings of legal action swiftly followed.
The next week the Journal devoted three pages to the reaction from “irate Britishers”, including a phone call from a woman who threatened to “come in later with a bomb in my hand”.
Then Immigration Minister Al Grassby also weighed in phoning the Journal to say that hanging labels on migrant groups was “un-Australian”.
Forty years later Mr Woods is still keeping mum about the identity of the mystery manufacturer.
“Only Marg (Stork) and I knew the identity of the businessman.”
– NARELLE COULTER

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