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Wednesday, 24 August 1983
Page: 230

Mr HODGMAN(10.22) —I wish to deal with the first amendment. While I make it clear that I do not oppose this aspect of the Government's policy in respect of sexual discrimination, I just want to read into the Hansard what is now happening as a result of this amendment. I think, from a legal point of view , it will become a draftsman's and a lawyer's nightmare. Section 6 (7) of the Act states:

A woman who enters Australia in the company of, and whose name is included in the passport of, or any other document of identity of, her husband shall be deemed to be included in any entry permit granted to her husband before his entry and written on that passport or other document of identity, unless the contrary is stated in the entry permit.

The Government's amendment takes out the words 'a woman' and substitutes the words 'a person'. So the section then really becomes ludicrous, unless the Government intends that that person may be a male person with a husband. I ask the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr West) what he is getting at. Apparently he is now prohibiting the use of the word 'woman' in the statutes of the Commonwealth. I just ask him: Is he inferring that there are male persons who have husbands? Why does the Minister take out the words 'a woman'?

Mr West —We would not be doing that, would we?

Mr HODGMAN —I ask the Minister: Why does he do that? He said that it was on the grounds of sexual discrimination.

Mr Keogh —A mistress?

Mr HODGMAN —The honourable member who has just interjected has had legal training. If he looks at the section he will see that it will now read, to the great benefit of the Hawke socialist Government:

A person who enters Australia in the company of, and whose name is included in the passport of, or any other document of identity of, her husband . . .

Why does the Minister put in the words 'a person', take out the words 'a woman', but leave in the word 'her'? I just have to ask the Minister: Is this not absolute-

Mr Campbell —It refers to-

Mr HODGMAN —I am not even going to honour the member for Kalgoorlie who was trying to interject by noticing him. I am sorry that I have even responded. I just say to the honourable member in passing that I would be very proud to join with him at any time, at any place, in another chamber or in another area to discuss the virtues or otherwise of maggots. As far as I am concerned, this is a serious matter. I ask the Minister: Will it now be the law of the land that we cannot describe a woman as a woman? That is effectively what the Minister is doing.

Mr West —I will answer you in a moment, if you want to go on with this nonsense.

Mr HODGMAN —I would be grateful if the Minister would. We now have the most ludicrous section in an Act of Parliament that I have seen in 20 years of legal practice. It states:

A person who enters Australia in the company of . . . her husband . . .

But we cannot call that person a woman. Having said that I turn now to the next provision.

Mr Keogh —It might be a Tasmanian.

Mr HODGMAN —I do not think so.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! I ask the honourable member not to respond to interjections and to address his remarks through the Chair.

Mr HODGMAN —I would be delighted to, Mr Chairman. The next matter is one of some seriousness. I do not think it has been correctly put to the chamber, although I appreciate that the Minister is perhaps reading to honourable members what has been presented to him. It relates to those persons who will now be liable to deportation whereas previously they were deemed not to be liable for deportation ; in other words I refer to those people who had stayed in Australia for a period of five years. The Minister, in his second reading speech, referred to those people as illegal immigrants. It is now quite clear from what the Minister said a few moments ago that those people are overstayers. An overstayer may or may not be an 'illegal immigrant' under the whole definition of the Migration Act which we will be amending in a few minutes time. The Minister assures us that it does not mean that they will be automatically deported. But I have to ask, in the light of other assurances by the Hawke Government: What comfort will that be to people who may have been in this country for much more than five years? The honourable member for Kalgoorlie raised a particular case. I would like to tell honourable members of the case of a man who overstayed in this country for 25 years. This Government is saying to that man that, if he comes and gives himself up, it is on the cards that he will be bulleted out of the country.

Mr West —That is not what I said.

Mr HODGMAN —I am sorry, that is what the Minister said. He is now trying to say that the law that he has brought into this Parliament will not mean what it says . He said that he would look at every case. He said that he would consider the matter. Under this legislation the Minister is now making these people liable for deportation when they were not liable before. The Minister will not be able to contradict me on that because that is the law. As the Minister has said, if they have been in the country for five years they cannot be deported under the present law. If they come forward and give themselves up they may now be deported. Many of these people from Anglo-Saxon and non-Anglo-Saxon backgrounds have been in this country for 15 years, 20 years and sometimes 30 years. I can tell honourable members of a person who has worked with the Hobart City Council for 28 years. He jumped ship 28 years ago when he came to this country. He has been a reputable citizen, he has worked for the Hobart City Council and he has brought up a family. Under this legislation the deportation happy socialists opposite will say to that man: 'You will have to wait and see whether the Minister is prepared to let you stay in Australia'. While we are on this matter, the point is brought into complete comparison when we bear in mind that the Minister is not prepared to deport drug traffickers, gangsters and murderers but he is prepared to amend the legislation to deport people who have overstayed for five years. I have to ask the Minister what are his values. How does he make this--

Mr West —Are you supporting it or not? Are you going to vote for it?

Mr HODGMAN —I ask the Minister to wait just a moment. The Minister is very good at asking me whether I support this legislation. He has brought it into this Parliament tonight. I, on behalf of the Opposition--

Mr West —I gave you a copy of the amendment on Monday.

Mr HODGMAN —The Minister did indeed and he brought the legislation into the Parliament tonight.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member for Denison will resume his seat. I want to make it clear that the Committee is dealing with complicated legislation . I will not have the debate degenerate into a process of interjections between the Minister and the honourable member who are both at the table. I want honourable members to understand that right from the start. I will not have this bypassing of the Chair. I call the honourable member for Denison.

Mr HODGMAN —Mr Chairman, the Minister asked me a question straight out. In the light of the Minister's failure to explain the legislation properly to the Parliament and, in the light of the fact that it will place many decent people in jeopardy, the Opposition will oppose that amendment.