Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 20 April 1966


Mr STEWART (Lang) .- Mr. Chairman,this clause will amend the definition of " Australian consulate " in section 5 of the principal Act. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) stated that the amendment had become necessary because some doubt had been cast on the legal effect of a register of the births of Australian citizens born abroad which is kept at the central office of the Department of Immigration in Canberra. The definition in the principal Act reads - " Australian consulate " means the office of a diplomatic or consular officer of the Australian Government at which a register of births is kept, or, in a country where there is no such office or in New Guinea, such office as is approved by the Minister and includes an office of the Department of Immigration.

The definition, in its new form, will provide - " Australian consulate " means -

(a)   the office of a diplomatic or consular officer of the Australian Government at which a register of births is kept;

(b)   an office in New Guinea or in a country in which there is no office of a kind referred to in the last preceding paragraph, being an office approved by the Minister; or

(c)   an office of the Department of Immigration, whether the office is situated in or outside Australia.

The change in the definition appears to be so minor that I wonder whether legal doubt will be cast on the proposed definition. The only real difference that I can see is in paragraph (c). This specifies an office of the Department in or outside Australia, whereas the existing definition merely specifies an office of the Department. I wonder why there should be a legal doubt in the first place, because an office of the Department of Immigration is an office of an Australian department whether it is situated in or outside Australia. Surely a register of births kept in any office of the Department would be a legal register of births. There should be no doubt about this. I ask the Minister to explain to me and to the Committee exactly what doubt arises and why it arises.


Mr Opperman - I shall reply to the honorable member tomorrow.

Progress reported.







Suggest corrections