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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator CANT (Western Australia) . - 1 wish to direct the Minister's attention to Division No. 274 - Immigration Services - and the item therein relating to Italian migration. The appropriation for this item for 1963-64 was £44,800 and the expenditure was £18,053. For 1964-65 the appropriation is £93,200. If the Government could spend only £18,053 on Italian migration out of an appropriation of £44,800, it is rather difficult to understand why this year the appropriation has risen steeply to £93,200. I wish to raise the case of a migrant with whom I have been dealing who came to Australia in 1952 and remained here as a single man for three years. Then, owing to the illness of his mother in Italy, he had to return to that country. He was given permission to be out of Australia for 12 months. His mother lived longer than expected and, as a result, he had to stay in Italy somewhat longer than the 12 months' period he had been granted. His visa was withdrawn. While he was in Italy attending to his mother during her illness, he met a lady whom he married. Following the death of his mother, this man made application to return with his wife and two children to Australia. I am informed that the members of the family are in good health and that there is no health or medical reason why these people should not be able to come to Australia. The Department of Immigration has persistently refused to issue a visa for this man and his family to come to Australia despite the fact that he had previously been admitted to this country.

The Department has gone a little further than that. Iri one application for the issue of a visa, a mistake was made when the proposition was put up to the Department of Immigration that this man's uncle had accommodation for him and his family when they arrived here. Immediately this information was made available to it, the Department indicated that it was prepared to issue a visa. But the mistake was discovered. I want to say to the Minister that it was an honest mistake and that there was no intention to deceive the Department. As soon as the mistake was discovered, the Department was advised that it was not an uncle but a cousin who would provide accommodation for this man and his family and would support them until such time as the man was able to obtain a job. The Department of Immigration immediately decided that a visa would not be issued on the sponsorship of the cousin. Yet this Department constantly says that it is prepared to issue visas to intending migrants who are sponsored by near relatives.

The tragedy of this case is that this man had been admitted to Australia previously for permanent residence and it was only because of family reasons that he went back to Italy. It was only because his mother lingered much longer than expected that he stayed there as long as he did. As I have said, he was married while he was there and now has two children. They would be two very good Australian children if they were brought here. They would be brought up in Australian circumstances. But the Department refuses to issue a visa to the family. During the three years that this Italian was in Australia, at no time was he a charge on the Australian Government. He came here, went to work in the country and took the jobs that were available to him. At no time was he a charge upon the taxpayers of Australia in any way whatsoever. Yet, we find that, on this occasion, the Department is quite adamant that it will not issue a visa for him to come out here and bring his family with him. I think this is the sort of thing at which the Government should be looking. This is a man who came here and learned to speak our language and to live with our people.

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