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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2241

Senator KILGARIFF(3.28) —Speaking briefly to the 1984-85 immigration program, as the previous speaker has said, it appears that in 1984- 85 there will be a fall back in numbers. Whereas in the previous year it appears that 86,000 visas were issued, this year the number will be something less-in the vicinity of some 62,000 to 64,000. I have always thought that when considering the intake figures we should also consider the figures of people who have left Australia. There is always quite a number of people who leave, which at times is surprising to me. In order to establish the actual figure of increased migration, we should also have the figures of those who have left.

In regard to the overall situation, it appears to me that we will see a boost, as has been reported, in the European skilled migrant intake. Those migrants will be from the technical area and will include those who want to be involved in, for example, business and investment. They are certainly to be encouraged. I am also pleased, like other speakers, to see that people will continue to come to Australia from Vietnam and South East Asia under the family reunion program because I believe that we have a responsibility not only in the area of refugees but also in regard to those people who want to come here from South East Asia for family reunions. As I see it, Australia is part of South East Asia and has a responsibility to the people of that area. Our future lies very much with the people to our north and in the ensuing years it will pay Australia well to become more associated with and be more understanding of our neighbours and, when necessary and possible, to have those people come and live with us.

We have come a long way over the last few years in our immigration policies. People have come to join us in this country from, I think, as many as 72 or 74 nations. They have brought much to Australia. So, like other speakers, I hope that our immigration numbers do not dwindle and that we look to further the immigration of people from all those areas, such as England, Europe and South East Asia, who can give much to Australia.

A lot has been said about immigration policies and some of the debate over the last few weeks has been rather emotional. I will say no more about that at the moment. All I wish to say now is that we should confine ourselves to the very sound principles of immigration set down by Mr Michael MacKellar, when he was Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, in the House of Representatives on 7 June 1978. He laid down nine principles, saying:

These nine principles have a common basis: The interests of Australia and its people, together with compassion and international responsibility.

I seek leave to have these principles incorporated in Hansard. The document has been shown to the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Walsh, and to the Government Whip.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-


Immigration Policies and Australia's Population

Immigration Principles

1. It is fundamental to national sovereignty that the Australian Government alone should determine who will be admitted to Australia. No person other than an Australian citizen, or a constituent member of the Australian community, has a basic right to enter Australia.

2. Apart from people admitted as refugees and for family reunion, migrant entry criteria should be developed on the basis of benefit to the Australian community , and the social, economic and related requirements within Australia. As a general rule, Australia will not admit for settlement people who would represent an economic burden to Australia through inordinate claims on welfare, health or other resources, who would endanger the community by criminal or other anti- social activities, or whose entry would be to their own detriment.

3. The size and composition of migrant intakes should not jeopardise social cohesiveness and harmony within the Australian community.

4. Immigration policy should be applied on a basis which is non-discriminatory. There are external restraints on the extent to which Australia can apply a non- discriminatory policy. Some countries will not allow their nationals to emigrate ; other countries allow only those with exit permits to leave; some countries will not permit the emigration of skilled and professional workers. Some countries will not allow advertising for migration purposes, others will not allow immigration offices to be established within their territories, or allow immigration officers to operate within their territories. In addition, there are varying degrees of interest in migration to Australia in particular areas. The principle of non-discrimination means that policy will be applied consistently to all applicants regardless of their race, colour, nationality, descent, national or ethnic origin or sex.

5. Applicants should be considered for migration as individuals or individual family units, not as community groups. An exception will be refugees in designated refugee situations, although even in such circumstances the criteria for selection will be related to the characteristics of individual applicants.

6. Eligibility and suitability standards for migrants should reflect Australian social mores and Australian law. Polygamous unions will not be accepted, or the entry of child fiances. The concept of immediate family, for eligibility purposes, will be derived from the Australian norm, that is, the unit consisting of husband, wife and minor unmarried children.

7. Migration to Australia should be for permanent settlement although there should be no barrier preventing the departure of persons wishing to leave. The guest-worker migration flow until recently popular in the industrialised countries of Western Europe will not be adopted for Australia.

8. While migrants will have the same rights as other Australian residents to choose their place of residence individually or collectively, enclave settlement will not be encouraged. Immigration policy will not consider communities for mass movement to Australia in situations where enclave settlement would occur.

9. Policies governing entry and settlement should be based on the premise that immigrants should integrate into Australian society. Migrants will be given every opportunity, consistent with this premise, to preserve and disseminate their ethnic heritage.

Senator KILGARIFF —I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.