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Thursday, 12 October 1972
Page: 1546


Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) - 1 rise to support the case that has been put forward by Senator Cavanagh, Senator Georges and Senator Mulvihill relating to the inadequacy of our diplomat.matic and public relations and of our Department of Foreign Affairs. Australia is at the stage of its development where it has encouraged people to migrate here from all parts of the world, particularly from Europe. Many problems that are arising are being left in limbo because of a lack of awareness on the part of the Department of Foreign Affairs in making its contacts with these countries.

Senator Mulvihillsintention was to raise a matter relating to a Polish citizen who is an Australian resident. A reply from the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) in respect of this matter indicated that certain obligations arose from international agreements entered into by the Federal Republic of Germany after World War II but that they are not obligations which Australia can enforce as Australia is not a party to the relevant agreements. There is, of course, no peace treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and either Poland or Australia.

I draw the attention of Senator Wright who represents in the Senate the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the fact that, as Australia is acting as a catalyst in attracting people from these various European countries to migrate here, we should be able to make contact on all necessary levels so that the rights of these citizens can be preserved. Contact should be made with the countries from which these people come. 1 wish to support the case that has been put forward to demonstrate the many anomalies, loopholes and shortcomings in the Government's present policy with regard to the needs of a great number of migrants who have come here. A good deal of consideration should be given to a review to seek to make the necessary contacts with the countries from which these people have come in order to see that whatever rights these people who have been encouraged to come here have are preserved as many of them have migrated to Australia as a refuge or as their hope for the future. We have an obligation to look after their interests and I think the cases raised by Senator Cavanagh, Senator Georges and Senator Mulvihill have a lot of merit. We must take a deeper look at the situation that has been created in this country. These nationals still have a contact with their homelands and we must make closer contact with them.







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