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Thursday, 5 March 1970


Mr DALY (Grayndler) - At this stage I would like to say just a few words in reference to the Agreement. The Opposition welcomes the signing of this Agreement which has been outlined in some detail by the Minister for Immigration (Mr

Lynch). In the first place, I take it that the Agreement is broadly the same as the ones applying to most countries with which we have agreements for assisted passages. This Agreement does cement the relationship with a country which the Minister said has already given to us over 100,000 people of whom 74% have seen fit to be naturalised That in itself shows that not only are they establishing themselves but also they are undoubtedly prepared to accept the responsibilities of a new country. This is very desirable. Therefore, we welcome the signing of the Agreement and pay our tribute also - in the manner of the Minister - to the zeal, the energy and the ability they have displayed in industry and in their various vocations. The Agreement also represents, as the Minister has said, a completely new depature by the Government in furtherance of the immigration programme in that it is the first agreement with a Communist country. I do not say this in any way facetiously but this is not the. first time that the Government has seen fit to go to Communist countries when the necessity arose as in trade and other matters - with which we do not agree. It is now a good thing to see the Government, with the urge to get migrants and with certain avenues drying up, looking further afield and not discriminating politically against the countries from which migrants might come. In that respect this is a desirable approach and undoubtedly from what we have seen of the types of migrants who have come to Australia these new migrants will be very desirable citizens.

I note that the Government has a say in who shall and who shall not come to Australia from Yugoslavia but it is to be hoped that the Government is extremely tolerant in respect of political reports on people who might come. I would not like to think that political activities will be a tremendous factor in denying entry to people who will probably be good citizens because we on this side have certain views in regard to appeals and matters of that nature which are not yet accepted by the Government. We would not like to see political activities held against people without a proper inquiry being held in public or without the right of appeal. The signing of this Agreement with a Communist country is a new approach by the Government and, as the Minister said, it opens new avenues. It will be interesting to see what arrangements are made with other countries, probably of similar political persuasion, by this Government. I note also that the State governments have all approved of the Agreement. I take it that they approve of all agreements and in that respect this Agreement is to be no different from any other. I also note from the Agreement that the military provisions apply in accordance with the National Service Act and, of course, it is somewhat regrettable from our point of view that that Act applies at all in respect of conscription. In fact, we oppose it and I hope it will not be long before the Government is able, by legislation, to remove that provision completely from the Agreement because we believe that that Act should be repealed as it applies to conscription not only of migrants but also of Australian citizens.

There has been and, I hope, generally will be full and constructive support of the immigration programme by both sides of the Parliament. It is inevitable that a scheme which was started by the Australian Labor Party when in office should have the support generally of members of both sides of the Parliament but inevitably there must be differences with respect to administration and approach. The fundamentals of the scheme and what it means to Australia have never been denied by members on this side of the House or, 1 believe, by members on the other side. Therefore this Agreement signed with the Yugoslav Government takes us another step forward in a scheme which has brought to this country the best part of 2.5 million people, I understand. With horizons still to be reached and with greater difficulty in getting migrants this Agreement represents a step which, in this age, had to be taken and it is one of which we approve. I do not wish to say more at this stage other than that we welcome the Agreement.

I have read in the Minister's speech the compliments paid to the Yugoslav people who are here. I have no doubt that they will continue to contribute to the welfare and development of this country. I see also in the Agreement that the Minister has stated that the qualification of tradesmen is a factor not confined to Yugoslavia and I am hopeful that ultimately we can solve that problem in our interests and in the interests of those who desire to come here. I again commend the action of the Government in signing this Agreement and join in the tributes that have' been paid to those who are here and to those who will come, and trust that we will be successful in adding to the numbers whom we want to make citizens - be they skilled or unskilled - and who can add to our development and expansion through the furtherance of this Agreement. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.







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