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Thursday, 19 June 2003
Page: 17059

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (3:22 PM) —My question is directed to the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. Can the minister confirm that Mr Dante Tan was granted Australian citizenship on 9 May 2002? Can the minister also confirm the claims of the member for Parramatta that he presided over a private ceremony held only eight days later at which the fugitive businessman—and Liberal Party donor—Mr Dante Tan was conferred Australian citizenship? Can the minister further confirm that Mr Tan was never actually a constituent of the member for Parramatta? On what basis, then, Minister, was the member for Parramatta able to preside over Mr Tan's citizenship ceremony?

Mr HARDGRAVE (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) —It has taken 108 sitting days and something in the order of 550 days of the 1,000-day plan of the Leader of the Opposition for a question to be asked of me by the shadow minister for citizenship. On this particular matter, I can confirm that all the matters relating to Mr Tan's application for Australian citizenship were handled by departmental officers who, as the delegated authority, made the decisions regarding Mr Tan's citizenship. The decision regarding that was made fully and completely without any discussion with my office, and it was all done in quite normal ways. As far as—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER —A number of people in the chamber have been warned this afternoon. They might care to bear that in mind.

Mr HARDGRAVE —Thank you, Mr Speaker. As far as the process of conferral of Australian citizenship on Mr Tan goes, it took place in Parramatta and, while Mr Ross Cameron, the member for Parramatta, was present, the process of conferral was undertaken by a departmental officer.

Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, I ask that—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Lyons is not only an occupier of this chair but a persistent interjector. It seems that removal from the chamber, leading to a failure to represent the people of Lyons, means nothing to him. The member from Lyons will excuse himself under standing order 304A.

The member for Lyons then left the chamber.

Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.