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Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Page: 1747

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs to the often lengthy delays in the processing of applications for permanent residency. I ask: How many applications for permanent residency from Britain and Canada have been received but either not approved or refused for a period in excess of six months? What are the reasons for the failure to process these Commonwealth applications? Can the Minister give the Senate an assurance that the delays in the processing of applications from Britain, Canada and Europe are not a part of this Government's apparently pro- Asian, anti-British and anti-European immigration policy?

Senator Cook —Racist.

Senator Gareth Evans —Contemptible.

Senator Chipp —That is a disgusting thing to say.

Senator Gareth Evans —That is contemptible, absolutely contemptible.

Senator Chipp —Disgusting. A so-called Christian. How many of you Liberals support that sort of rubbish?

Senator Ryan —All of them.

Senator Cook —That is a disgusting question.

Senator Gareth Evans —Are you going to make it a racist election? 'If you want an Asian living next door, vote Labor'. Is that to be your next slogan? You are contemptible, the lot of you!

The PRESIDENT —Order! The House will come to order. I called the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

Senator GRIMES —Mr President, I do not think I need add much to the reaction of honourable senators on both sides of this House to Senator Bjelke-Petersen's final remarks. This Government does not have a racially based immigration policy . It does not have a policy which is pro-Asian or pro anyone else. I am very surprised to hear someone who proclaims herself to be a Christian bring up that sort of attitude in this place. I can also assure Senator Bjelke-Petersen that any delays, such as they are, are not part of a Government policy of discrimination against British or Canadian migrants. I think they were the ones she mentioned. However I do not have the fine details for which the honourable senator asked. I will seek those details from the Minister and get them to Senator Bjelke-Petersen in the hope that she will not misuse and abuse them in the racist way that she has abused Question Time here today.