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Friday, 29 October 1920

Mr GABB (Angas) . -There are other reasons besides want of interest that have prevented many Germans from becoming naturalized. Cases have been brought under my notice in which Germans have paid to secure naturalization, but have been swindled through their ignorance of our language and our law.

Mr McGrath - I have had any number of such cases brought before me.

Mr GABB - Then, many persons believed that the law of South Australia is the same as that of the other States, and that they were naturalized by virtue of the naturalization of their parents. They found out their mistake only on going to vote, when they discovered, to their great surprise, that their names were not on the roll. I shall support the amendment. I recognise the difficulty to which the Minister (Mr. Poynton) alluded. He wishes to make the term of residence under the Bill the same as that provided for under the British law, in order to obtain reciprocity.

Mr Brendan - After all, what difficulty is created? It seems to me that there is only the desire to copy British precedent.

Mr GABB - Reciprocity, I understand, is to be obtained only under certain conditions, and one of them is that our law shall be similar to that of the countries with which we reciprocate. When the Passports Bill was before the Committee recently, I moved an amendment to increase the life of a passport from two to five years, but that was defeated. Now, a foreigner's passport is valid for two years only, so that if he remains longer than that in this country he cannot return to his own, even though he may not have been naturalized here, and he cannot be naturalized here until he has lived in Australia for five years. I think that the term of residence required for naturalization should be the same as that for which a passport is valid.

I wish to know whether the Government intends to deal in the same way with all aliens, whether they have been at war with us or not.

Mr Wienholt - You mean, whether their country has been at war with us or not?

Mr Maxwell - The honorable member will see that " alien " is defined as a person who is not a British subject.

Mr Tudor - The same conditions apply to Belgians and Frenchmen as apply to Germans.

Mr GABB - A person of German origin who wishes to be naturalized must have twenty years' continuous residence in Australia, and unless there are special circumstances must not be under fifty years of age, it being held that younger men must be regarded as dangerous. Younger men cannot be naturalized unless they or their brothers served on our side during the war, or their parents gave large donations to patriotic funds, or showed their patriotism in some other way. I hope that all aliens will be put on the same footing.

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