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Wednesday, 14 March 1973
Page: 543

Mr MULDER (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Minister for Immigration investigate whether international criminals have slipped into Australia as part of the past immigration program? Have they been involved in recent violence in Brisbane and Sydney? Will he end this situation which brings the great majority of immigrants into disrepute?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - I address myself to the second part of the honourable member's question. He has raised a query about crime in the community generally and has referred to the concern of many people who have come here since the war - there have been 3 million of them - and who for some peculiar reason still have the title of 'immigrant' in many cases. I find that a bit anachronistic. We should be talking about Australians. The great majority of people who have come here since World War II are exemplary citizens. If one analyses crime statistics one will find that the people who have come here since the war, in all their categories and nationalities, have a lower rate of criminality than those who were born here or who were here before World War II. Those are the statistics and that is the position. I am pleased to say that, because it is a tribute to the overwhelming success of a major national enterprise which has involved 3 million people coming here since World War IT.

At the same time the honourable member has expressed just and right concern about violence that has erupted in his city of Sydney and in Brisbane. In relation to the events in Brisbane, I understand that these matters are at present before the courts.

Mr Killen - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I hesitate to interrupt the honourable gentleman but there are very serious charges pending regarding certain people in Brisbane. They are entitled to a fair trial. Public commentary respecting that matter would very much prejudice a fair trial.

The SPEAKER -The point of order is upheld.

Mr GRASSBY - I take the point of order. The honourable member for Moreton is absolutely correct. I was about to say just that to the honourable member. In this instance I do not mind being bracketed with the honourable member for Moreton. I accept the point of order.

Mr Whitlam - He is the best of them-

Mr GRASSBY - The next matter that was raised-

Mr Whitlam - I hope be gets them off.

Mr GRASSBY - May I say, Mr Speaker, that when one great advocate acknowledges another advocate that is indeed a compliment. Let me return to the first part of the honourable member's question. The honourable member very rightly raised the matter of whether our migration program is in any way conducive to the entry of criminals into Australia. All the procedures for which I have been responsible have tightened up every loophole. There is very little opportunity, if any, for anyone with a record and an attachment of violence to come here within the program at the present time. I would hope that that would have the support of all members of the Parliament. If there is a query as to whether there are loopholes in relation to migrants from one or two locations, let me say that it is true that there is room for an examination of the position outside the program and outside our arrangements. We will be looking at that. I hope that we will have the support of the whole of the Parliament in closing any loopholes that may exist because of historic reasons outside the program.

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