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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 114

(Question No. 4421)

Mr Coleman asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 20 August 1986:

(1) In what countries do Australian consular or immigration personnel question prospective immigrants concerning their political views.

(2) What form does this process take.

(3) What questions are currently being put or proposed to be put by South African based Australian consular staff in order to screen prospective immigrants from South Africa.

(4) Is there any presentation of Australian society made to prospective immigrants from South Africa, and if so, what form does it take.

Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Since the 1940s, Australian immigration officers throughout the world have been required to assess the capacity of all prospective migrants to settle satisfactorily in Australia. This assessment includes screening for extremist views which would make settlement difficult and which would also engender conflict and divisiveness in our multiracial and multicultural society.

Interviews often form part of this assessment process.

(2) and (3) Details of arrangements for making assessments of all prospective migrants, including questions asked in interviews, are not made public in order to protect their integrity.

This includes methods of making assessments of the possible security risks to Australia.

(4) Yes. The presentation of Australian society to prospective immigrants takes a number of forms, including

an extensive photographic display at the Australian Embassy in Pretoria which depicts the multicultural nature of Australian society. The material is currently being up-dated to provide additional focus on multicultural aspects of Australian society;

the provision of a wide-ranging series of information leaflets at the various stages of processing;

face-to-face counselling about the nature of Australian society and the Government's non-discriminatory policies. In addition, all applicants other than spouses and aged parents are required to attend group counselling sessions at which videos are shown which illustrate Australia's multiculturalism;

all prospective immigrants from South Africa are, therefore, informed directly and personally that Australia's commitment to a multicultural society, free from racial discrimination, is totally incompatible with the kind of institutionalised racism prevalent in South Africa.