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Paul McCartney Questions Australia’s Racial Policy

June 18, 1964 - Beatle Paul McCartney today showed an unsuspected interest in the “White Australia” policy.

At a press conference in Sydney after the Beatles arrived for two concerts tonight, Paul was approached by a Nigerian journalist.

Paul said: “Are you an aboriginal?”

The journalist said he was from Nigeria.

Paul said: “I didn’t think that Australia allowed colored people to come in. I remember reading about this in geography in school, which I failed. I thought they were the only country in the world to do this.”

The journalist said he was allowed to stay in Australia under certain conditions, which included having a job.

He said Australia was host to more than 3,000 Asian students, and he had found no discrimination.

Paul said: “That is good because there is in Britain and in America.”

He said that apart from kangaroos and koalas his biggest early impression of Australia had been “this white-only business.”

“John and I were talking about it only this afternoon,” he added.

On other matters, Ringo Starr, who had several blisters on his hands, said they were caused by his break from drumming while he was in the hospital and by a new drum kit which he was using.

A radio newsman, seeking an interview, said: “I’m from Perth, Western Australia.”

Ringo replied: “Are you bragging or complaining?”

The newsman: “I have flown 2,000 miles to record this interview.”

Ringo: “Gee, your arms must be tired.”

Ringo said the three other Beatles planned to surprise Paul McCartney for his birthday today, but the details of the surprise would be left until after the concert.

George said the Beatles did not usually give each other presents. “I think you only give presents to people you do not really know so well,” he remarked.

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