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Tuesday, 10 November 1959

Mr DOWNER (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Immigration) - I have read a newspaper account of views attributed to Mr. Priestley on the subject of passports. Mr. Priestley, as honorable members will agree, is a dreamer of dreams and whilst many of us enjoy his writings not all of us would readily agree with his views. No doubt in what he is saying he is harking back to the ideal state that perhaps existed before the First World War, and which the older members of this House may perhaps recollect, when international passports were not required. However, circumstances have very much changed, and so far as this country is concerned it would be impossible to abolish passports on a unilateral basis. Such a thing could only be brought about by international, and virtually universal, action. As for Mr. Priestley's remark that any crook can have a bag of passports, I think the House will agree that that is an opinion that may belong to a distinguished novelist but not to a realist. In Australia we are convinced that our passport control is very effective, and there are remarkably few cases of people who are able to circumvent it.

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