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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - It has been Government policy for many years not to publicise reasons for refusing to admit immigrants to Australia. This policy has been followed by successive governments including governments of the same party political persuasion as is Senator Cavanagh. One has only to recall events of the past to appreciate that there are good and cogent reasons why we should not start giving reasons. Once that happens we will have disputation for ever and a day. We are now admitting about 125,000 immigrants to Australia each year and for a variety of reasons, including health and other grounds, sometimes we have to refuse some persons who want to enter Australia. It has been government policy ever since we embarked on an immigration programme not to divulge reasons for rejecting immigrants.

As to the other matters that have been raised by Senator Cavanagh, the Chairman has pointed out that the honorable senator was dealing with policy. It is Government policy not to permit delegates from Communist countries to enter Australia to attend a peace conference^ So far as I personally am concerned, I want to make it clear that this matter has been dealt with very adequately in the other place by the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) and by his representative in the Senate. As to the conference that is to be held and which has been mentioned by Senator Cavanagh, I find myself in complete and absolute agreement with everything that has been said by the Attorney-General and by Senator Gorton who represents him in this chamber. However, these are matters of policy and cannot be discussed appropriately in the debate on the Estimates.

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