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Wednesday, 12 April 1961

Mr DOWNER (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Immigration) - Mr. Speaker, the answer is, " No ". I know the honorable gentleman, who is a sporty kind of person, has an interest in these matters; but I think I can allay his fears.

Mr Menzies - Sobers is going to South Australia.

Mb. DOWNER.- I am glad- that my leader, who is a cricket enthusiast, approves.

Mr Menzies - South Australia needs him-, tool

Mr DOWNER - The Prime Minister has said that South Australia needs Sobers. I can assure him, my honorable friend from Perth, and the House that we will receive Sobers, warmly. The honorable member, for Perth- need have no qualms at all about the attitude of the Department of Immigration in this connexion. Indeed, it has been long-standing policy on the part of the Government and of the Department of Immigration that sportsmen of distinction, members of theatrical companies and the like, if they are invited here, or sponsored by. approved sporting bodies or by entrepreneurs, are admitted to Australia on a visitor basis. As a. rule, they are given a permit for admission to Australia for aperiod, of twelve months. If special circumstances arise which indicate that it would be desirable to extend the period of the permit, then in those special circumstances an extension will be given. But in this particular case that the honorable member for Perth- has mentioned",, there is no exception to general policy at all. In fact, it is an example of the way. in which the Government - I hope I am not claiming too much - humanely and sympathetically tries to apply its general immigration- policy.

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