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Thursday, 22 October 1964

Senator MURPHY (New South Wales) . - I wish to revert to a matter I mentioned earlier. I asked the Minister for Customs and Excise whether any disabilities were suffered by United Kingdom immigrants who were British subjects but did not register as Australian citizens. I suggested then that there might be some disabilities or differentials and mentioned specifically the Homes Savings Grant Act 1964. I have made a quick perusal of this Act and it seems that my recollection of the details was correct. There is some advantage in being an Australian citizen in the context of this legislation because under section 14 of the Act, a person is an eligible person so far as residence in Australia is concerned if he has been an Australian citizen for three years. Then he has merely to reside in Australia for only three months before the prescribed date to benefit from the provisions of the Act. In other cases, the person concerned has to reside in Australia for three years before the prescribed date. So, offhand, it would appear that if a British subject went overseas for a trip during the three years before the prescribed date, he would be seriously affected if he were not an Australian citizen.

Possibly there are other similar disabilities tucked away in Australian acts. An incentive to obtain Australian citizenship to which the Minister referred might be provided if a search were made though various enactments. If they conferred some advantages on Australian citizens, these could be brought to the notice of persons concerned. I would not suggest that there should be any compulsion but all of us would like to see persons residing permanently in Australia become Australian citizens by choice. If there are some incentives, the Department of Immigration might consider ascertaining what they are and publicising them.

Proposed expenditure noted.

Department of Supply.

Proposed expenditure, £33,044,000.

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