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Friday, 29 October 1920


Mr CHARLTON (Hunter) .- I understand that the objection of the Minister to the amendment is based upon his desire to secure uniform naturalization legislation throughout the Empire.


Mr Poynton - If the amendment be carried, the Bill, so far as Empire naturalization is concerned, will have disappeared.


Mr CHARLTON - The honorable gentleman desires uniform Empire naturalization. But the difficulty which he stresses may be overcome by providing for a two years' residential qualification within Australia, and a five years' residential qualification outside of it.


Mr Poynton - That would mean the issue of two classes of certificates.


Mr CHARLTON - We can permit aliens within Australia to become naturalized after a two years' residence here, and make the Bill conform to the British legislation upon this matter by providing fora five years' residential qualification outside the Commonwealth. It is quite true that this would necessitate the issue of two classes of certificates. The first class of certificate would enable an alien to become naturalized within Australia after a two years' residence here. Then, when he had completed a residence of five years in the Commonwealth, he would be able to make an application for a certificate of naturalization which would cover the entire British Empire. In that way, we could obviate any conflict between this measure and Imperial legislation. I think, therefore, that the amendment might well be agreed to. There are many things which have to be considered in dealing with a measure of this character, because to a large extent its provisions will govern the future of all aliens in our midst.


Mr Ryan - It will affect their right to hold property.


Mr CHARLTON - Exactly. The Minister (Mr. Poynton) may reasonably agree to an amendment of the clause in the direction of providing for a two years' residential qualification within the Commonwealth, seeing that he can still retain provision for a five years' residential qualification within the British Empire. The adoption of such an amendment would improve the Bill, and would, I think, meet the wishes of the Committee generally. The difficulty which the honorable gentleman has urged in regard to the issue of two classes of certificates is not an insuperable one. The Department could have two sets of certificates. A certificate of naturalization in respect of Australia could be issued to a person who had resided here for two years, and at the end of the five years' period that certificate could be withdrawn if desired, and a certificate of Empire naturalization issued. This, I think, is a very fair proposal, and I hope the Minister will agree to it.







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