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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 2935


Mr MULDER (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Minister for Immigration give an assurance that he will seek the same visiting rights for Australian businessmen and tourists as we give to overseas visitors and tourists? Is it a fact that Australians are under disadvantage in some neighbouring countries of Asia compared with Europeans? Will the Minister end this disadvantage and seek equal treatment for Australians?


Mr GRASSBY - It is true that this Government has a dedication to the freest possible movement between friends and neighbours particularly in our own region. We are contemplating some new initiatives to bring that about. It is true, as the honourable member suggests, that in one or two locations passport holders other than Australians receive some advantages. For example, in Japan British passport holders have one or two advantages over Australian passport holders. I think this is probably due to the earlier initiatives of the British Government. I hope that the new Australian Government will be able to ensure that we have an equal opportunity with British passport holders to come and go in Japan. I hope that all honourable members agree with that initiative. It is also true that there are considerations in relation to the easier movement of tourists into Australia that will concern the Minister for Tourism. It is very difficult to facilitate tourism if the applicant is subjected to an inquisition as if he were intending to come and stay permanently. It is proposed to try to streamline procedures, to cut the red tape and to facilitate visits between friends and neighbours particularly in our region.

The second point that might be made in j answer to the honourable member is that the * Minister for Civil Aviation is concerned that Qantas Airways Ltd planes often fly out of i Australia pretty heavily laden with tourists r but they do not always return so heavily laden from the same locations. This reflects the difficulties of processing tourist applications in other locations. Certainly we want to streamline the procedure and facilitate visits in our own region. I want to add only one thing to my answer to the honourable member. While we want to bring about this streamlining and improve facilities to visit other countries, particularly those in our region, this can only work if Australia in turn gets a fair deal in the way of tourists out of these who come. Someone who comes to Australia for a visit has to recognise that he is visitor. We love to have visitors, but a visitor is not a permanent member of our family and at the end of his visit he is expected to go. I hope that the proposed Government initiatives will be to the good of our region and Australia.







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