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Tuesday, 11 May 1965

Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) .- I should like some clarification of clause 5 of the Bill. Clause 5 reads as follows -

Section 17 of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following subsection: - " (3.) Notwithstanding that the period within which an alien under the age of twenty-one years is required by sub-section (I.) of section nine of this Act to notify a prescribed person of the matters referred to in that sub-section has expired, or that a parent or guardian of the alien has been convicted for contravening that section, each parent or guardian of the alien shall, until the notification is made or the alien attains the age of twenty-one years, whichever first happens, con tinue to be deemed to have contravened that section and is subject to the same penalty as if he had been proceeded against for contravening that section.".

I ask the Minister: Is that not a departure from the normal practice in this country. A young person of 20 or 21 years of age might often have left the control of the family, yet the parents would be deemed to have committed an offence, despite the fact that they had no idea where their 20-year daughter or son might be. Does not that clause impose an extra burden on many of these people who are not well acquainted with our language and who might not understand English sufficiently well to become aware of their responsibility? Even though the Minister, in his second reading speech, said that the provision would be given wide publicity in advance of its being introduced I can foresee difficulty for many people whose knowledge of English is such and whose type of employment is such that they may not read our publications or even newspapers published in their own language. The come here as migrants.

In addition, I believe that we are in a difficult position in differentiating between an alien, in the spirit of this Bill, and a migrant. The purpose of this Bill is to protect the security of Australia against persons who are aliens in the true sense of the word. To do that, we must know the names and addresses of every alien in this country. That is fair enough. But we must also face up to the fact that many thousands of people are here as a result of our immigration programme. We are placing on the parents of young people an obligation which, I believe, is stretching our usual approach to these things a little far. Not only do we require that they should ensure that their 20 year old son or daughter registers but we hold them responsible for it. I should like to hear from some members of the legal fraternity in this place whether they do not think that is an imposition which departs from our normal approach to these things.

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