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Wednesday, 24 August 1983
Page: 237

Mr HODGMAN(10.59) —More in sorrow than in anger I have to say that the most charitable view one can take of the comments of the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr West) is that he does not understand his own Bill. Either it has not been explained to him or, if it has, it has not got through. I say to the Minister and to the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Lionel Bowen ), who is in the chamber, that they will be asked publicly to explain. They have the numbers tonight-that is an unfortunate choice of words-but they will be asked publicly to explain a little down the track. People such as the honourable member for Moore (Mr Blanchard), who worked hard and prepared a good speech on this Bill, will ask why they have given the Minister power to deport for sedition, treachery and treason but have not given him power to deport spies. They give him power to deport for an offence which carries a three-year sentence but they do not give him power to deport for an offence which carries a seven- year sentence.

I have read to the Government-this is the third and final time that I will do it-section 78 of the Commonwealth Crimes Act, which the Government, as a government of the Commonwealth, is obliged to uphold. Section 78 provides that people who are guilty of espionage, that is, spying, shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment following conviction on indictment. I draw to the Minister's attention-the record will demonstrate that I have done this before-the provisions of section 81. It provides for a penalty upon indictment for people who harbour spies. We are in no doubt-because the Hansard transcript of this debate will go to the Australian Law Journal and every other legal publication in the country-that a non-citizen who has been in this country for more than 10 years and who harbours a Soviet spy will not be subject to deportation. The Minister has been told this. He has been warned and he has ignored the warning. The Minister will bluster. He says that he has the numbers and he is going to use them. He will tonight do a great disservice to this nation, because his will be the first government, probably in the Western world, that has specifically legislated that it will not deport spies, murderers, drug traffickers or other criminals if they have been here for 10 years and one day. Shame on the Government! The people of Australia will judge the Hawke socialist Government harshly for bringing in this legislation.

Mr West —What about the immigrants?

Mr HODGMAN —The Minister blusters. The Minister waffled for 10 minutes on a matter upon which the Opposition has supported him. He does not understand his Bill but, worse still, he does not even understand when he is being supported on both sides of the House. The most charitable thing one can say about the Minister is that he does not even know why he is here. I have told him and the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender) has told him the facts. The fact of the matter is that in a few minutes a division will be called and voters' names will be taken down. I am proud to say that the Opposition will stand on the side of deporting spies, people who harbour spies, murderers, gangsters and drug traffickers.

The last thing I shall tell the Minister is this: The ethnic communities do not appreciate this go-soft attitude on the deportation of drug offenders. I told the Minister earlier that I would not comment upon decisions made by previous Ministers, and I will not. I simply say that, of the ethnic communities with which I have discussed the question of deportation, more have supported the original decision taken in one of those cases than have supported the latter decision. The Government makes history tonight by being the first government to make it the law of this country that spies are not to be deported. The people at the Soviet Embassy must be very proud of the Government. In Moscow the Soviets will cheer and cheer and cheer.

Mr West —I raise a point of order, Mr Chairman. Is the honourable member addressing his remarks to the Bill? I am sick and tired of all this reference to being friends of Moscow and all the rest of it.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! There is no point of order. The honourable member has concluded his speech. There is no redress in this situation.

Mr West —I would not expect a redress from him. Can I just say--

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The Minister will resume his seat. There is no point of order.