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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2065

Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) - I seek some information from the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee). I understand from his second reading speech that from 1 November 1972 certain responsibilities have been transferred to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Being a pragmatist, I point out to the Minister that within 3 to 5 years citizenship problems could arise from conflicts as to status in the British work force between people from the European Common Market countries going in and out of Britain and Australians going over there. What I am concerned about is whether, if someone cables back here and complains about something in the United Kingdom, under the change in our representation in Britain our representative there will deal direct with the British Home Office. Just what is happening in this respect? I am prompted by Senator Greenwood 's reference to the previous Prime Minister to recall that about 3 months before the last election I asked a question about Mr McMahon conferring with Mr Heath. I asked whether when he visited Chequers on a weekend the subject of better citizenship rights for European Common Market nationals than for Australians was discussed. There was no immediate indication that it was not. When I followed it up with a question to Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, asking who was the Australian spokesman and who discussed it with whom, I did not get very far. Then I wrote to the former British Home Secretary, Jim Callaghan, and received a slightly different view. I sum up by asking the Minister When we get, as we will, problems concerning the rights of Australians going on to the British labour market in competition with people from the European Common Market countries and representations are made here about them, will Mr Grassby get in touch with our representative in England who will then take the matter up with the British Home Office? Just what will happen?

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