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Wednesday, 8 December 1976

Mr O'Keefe (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   How many Lebanese immigrants have arrived in Australia since hostilities commenced in Lebanon.

(2)   Is it a fact that, at present, great pressure is being placed on migrant applicants to remain in Lebanon.

(3)   If so, is this policy seriously affecting the migration of Lebanese who desire to enter Australia.

Mr MacKellar - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) The numbers of Lebanese migrants who have arrived in Australia since hostilities commenced in Lebanon are as follows:


(2)   and (3) The honourable member may be referring to pressure on migrant applicants from sources within the Lebanon. I have no information which would enable any definite general conclusion to be reached on that matter.

Every effort has been made by the Commonwealth Government and by Australian officials to expedite processing of migrant applications by people from the Lebanon. Arrangements have been made with the Cypriot authorities to enable an orderly flow of Lebanese seeking entry to

Australia to proceed to Cyprus so that they can be interviewed there by a special task force of experienced Australian officers which is operating in Nicosia.

Lebanese who proceed from Lebanon to other Australian posts in the area have their applications for entry to Australia dealt with at those posts. This has been the only practicable procedure because of the difficult conditions in Lebanon in recent times.

The figures I have given indicate a substantial and increasing movement of Lebanese to Australia. Preliminary figures for October show arrival of 767 Lebanese in that month.

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