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Tuesday, 2 April 1957

Mr Ward d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

1.   Does the Government regard the standardization of Australian railway gauges, particularly those railway lines linking the State capitals, as being an urgent and essential national undertaking?

2.   If so, what consideration has been given to reports from committees of both Opposition and Government members with somewhat similar recommendations which were presented ' to this Parliament some months ago?

Mr Townley - The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following reply: - 1 and 2. The question of standardization of Australian railway gauges involves masters of policy to which the Government is giving very earnest consideration. It is not the practice to permit matters of Government policy to be the subject of question and answer.

Capital Punishment in the Territories.

Mr Bryant t asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

1.   What crimes are punishable by death in each of the territories?

2.   When, and for what crimes, has the death sentence been (a) pronounced and (b) carried out in each of the territories?

Mr Hasluck - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   This question appeared as question No. 19, notice-paper No. 78, on Thursday, 8th November, 19S6, and the answer appeared at page 2156 of " Hansard " for that day.

2.   Sentence of death has not been pronounced in any of the territories since that date.

Post Offices at Bankstown and Herne Bay.

Mr Costa (BANKS, NEW SOUTH WALES) a asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

1.   What action is being taken to extend the Bankstown post office so that it will provide adequately for the public?

2.   What action is being taken to provide a new post office at Herne Bay?

Mr Davidson - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The need for improving post office arrangements at Bankstown is recognized and a proposal is being developed to enlarge and renovate the existing building to meet requirements for a reasonable period ahead. The work will be put in hand as soon as more urgent projects have been dealt with.

2.   Provision for a new post office building at Herne Bay is being included in the programme for 1957-58.

Entry of Asians into Australia.

Mr Bruce (LEICHHARDT, QUEENSLAND) e asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

1.   How many Indians, other than students, have been allowed to enter Australia?

2.   How many Japanese have been given permits for permanent residence in Australia?

3.   How many Chinese have been given permits for permanent residence in Australia, apart from those who have been in Australia for a number of years?

Mr Townley - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Under established immigration policy, persons of non-European descent are not, in general, eligible to be admitted to Australia for permanent residence - the present Government has adhered to that policy and to the exceptions to it which were, in force when the Government took office. One of these exceptions is that, by a reciprocal arrangement with India dating back from the Imperial War Conference in 1918, Indians domiciled here may bring their wives and children to Australia for permanent residence. Under this arrangement, 120 Indians have been admitted to Australia since 1st January, 1950.

2.   One Japanese wife of an Australian exserviceman has been granted naturalization, and with it the right of permanent residence in Australia. This is in accordance with a decision announced in this House by the then Minister on 18th October, 1956. Applications by other Japanese wives of Australians are under consideration.

3.   Children born abroad of parents born or domiciled in Australia and arriving as infants with their parents are admitted to Australia without restriction. No record has been kept of the number of such children permitted to enter, but it would be a very small figure. No other Chinese have been given permits for permanent residence, apart from those who having been in Australia for long periods are no longer subject to the Immigration Act and are now eligible for naturalization.

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