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Thursday, 2 December 1976

Mr MacKELLAR (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) - Acting upon information which came to my Department, visits were made to communes which were occupied by people who described themselves as 'The Children of God '. The communes are present in each of the States and the Territories. I am not sure of the actual number of communes which exist at present. I understand that no prohibited migrants were apprehended during the visits. Investigations were made into the present status of some people in the communes. They were found to hold valid visitor visas. The Department receives information from a number of sources in relation to people who are alleged to be prohibited migrants and it has a duty to investigate those claims. This was one such investigation. I do not believe that any civil liberties were infringed in any sense. I am not aware of any newspaper men being present except for a report I received that in one particular instance- I think it was at a commune in Western Australia- one newspaper man was present. I do not think I have anything to add to that.

Mr Innes - How many officers were involved?

Mr MacKELLAR - I am not sure of the number of officers involved and I have not received any estimate of the cost.

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