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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 759

Mr HODGMAN(2.57) —The Hawke socialist Government's radical and dangerous changes in immigration and ethnic affairs policies are arousing considerable alarm and anxiety throughout the entire Australian community. Putting it bluntly, Australia's immigration and ethnic affairs policies, under the new Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr West), have taken a radical and dangerous turn to the Left. Bearing in mind the Minister's well- known ideological commitment to the socialist Left, this is only to be expected. He is, of course, the only representative of the socialist Left in the inner Cabinet and it is therefore not surprising that he has used his muscle to ensure that under the Hawke Government's new-found immigration and ethnic affairs policies the philosophies which he espouses will be put into effect.

The upshot is that in the short period of just six months the character and direction of Australia's immigration and ethnic affairs policies have been radically altered-for the worse. These new policy directions are already causing an enormous electoral backlash and large numbers of the Australian community are gravely concerned about what is going on. In particular, many members of ethnic communities who swallowed the socialist bait and changed their normal vote on 5 March will most certainly be now voting again for the Liberal Party and the National Party at the next Federal election.

From the word go, the Hawke socialist Government's attitude to Australia's ethnic communities was, bluntly, having got their votes: We will now do our own thing. To the intense distress of the overwhelming majority of Australians and to the particular distress of many significant ethnic groups in this country, the Hawke socialist Government moved speedily to implement a policy of appeasement towards the Soviet Union by lifting all sanctions which Australia had imposed against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics following its brutal invasion of Afghanistan. This shameful and disgraceful sell-out provoked many leaders of ethnic groups in Australia to complain bitterly to me that the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and his Government were now pursuing precisely the same discredited policies of appeasement as Mr Chamberlain had pursued towards Hitler in the late 1930s and that the Hawke Government's action in lifting the sanctions was just as disgraceful as the Whitlam Government's action in according de jure recognition of Soviet incorporation of the three Baltic States -Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Within two months of coming to power the Hawke socialist Government, through this Minister, moved to introduce a harshness and rigidity in Australia's immigration program unparalleled in the history of this nation. The Minister moved to abolish all ministerial discretion in relation to persons in Australia on visas who wish to change to permanent resident status. He bluntly proclaimed that he was abandoning, and in fact destroying, his ministerial capacity to approve a change of status, with only one exception, and that was if the person concerned married an Australian citizen. It was bad luck if the person concerned was already married or did not want to get married. The Minister effectively said to thousands and thousands of talented young people from all over the world , who might, while visiting Australia, by coincidence meet employers who desperately needed their special talents and abilities, that they would not be allowed to stay permanently in Australia but would have to return to their home countries and join the queue in lodging an application for permanent resident status.

To put this matter in context, I inform the House that in the whole of 1982 some 15,000 people in Australia on temporary visas sought to change to permanent resident status. After very careful examination of their cases and the proper exercise of ministerial discretion, a mere 1,000 were permitted to remain in Australia and they have become very good Australian residents. Under this new Minister and the harsh new policies of the Hawke socialist Government, only those persons in Australia on visas who marry an Australian citizen have been permitted to stay. The rest of these talented people, most of them young, have been packed off home and told to make their applications at home, in many cases involving a delay of up to 12 months. Sadly for Australia, in the overwhelming majority of cases this country will never see these talented young people again. The loss is ours.

If the Minister in his speech again tries to suggest that I or the Opposition are advocating back door or queue jumping immigration, let me nail that argument here and now. It is a gross misrepresentation of the truth to suggest that the addition of about 1,000 new permanent residents in a year will adversely affect Australia's unemployment situation. It is a fallacy to suggest that in an overall migration program of between 80,000 and 90,000 for 1983-84 this small but, I repeat, very talented group of people will in any way affect the unemployment situation, particularly when the Minister and the Hawke socialist Government have faithfully promised the people of Australia that they will create an additional 500,000 jobs in Australia during their present term of office.

Mr Groom —They are not going too well.

Mr HODGMAN —No, they are not going too well, particularly in Tasmania, where 337 workers were put off. The Hawke Government has not provided a single job for those men who were put off the Gordon below Franklin power development scheme, in the electorate of the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Groom). The Minister, in his ministerial statement on 18 May, announced a massive cutback in the number of people who will be permitted to migrate to Australia under the occupations-in-demand sub-category. Incredibly, this socialist Government has dropped the points for English language in relation to family selection purposes , thereby blatantly introducing into our Australian migration program a deliberate bias-it is almost unbelievable-against prospective migrants who happen to speak the English language. Does the Minister not accept the fact that English is Australia's primary language? Why does he deliberately act in this incredible manner? Furthermore, the Minister personally strongly supports increased refugee intake from Central America and South America. The Opposition is concerned that there are some 300,000 refugees from Central and South America and again calls on the Minister to exercise the greatest care in this matter. If these people are genuine refugees, that is fair enough. If they are something else then Australia, under this Minister, could be importing into this country a veritable time bomb.

As if all these matters were not enough, other developments in recent months have shocked many Australians and many ethnic communities. The Government quite deliberately proceeded to appoint the board of directors of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation without including any representative of Australia's ethnic communities, notwithstanding the urgings of Senator Peter Baume and the Opposition spokesman in this House, the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd). The Government, at its first attempt, was prepared to go ahead and appoint political supporters to the Special Broadcasting Service and to leave out totally any representative of Australia's largest ethnic group, the Italian community. The Prime Minister most discourteously and ungraciously offended the Melbourne Greek community and Australian-Greeks throughout this nation by failing, at the last minute, to honour a firm commitment which he had accepted. The Minister was unable to be present, for reasons which I understand, at a New South Wales Ethnic Communities Council forum which was specially televised by Channel 0-28. But the Minister will be interested to know that his representative at that forum was obliged to commence his speech by telling the gathering that the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs had given him the wrong speech.

The decision by the Hawke socialist Government in July to issue an open slather invitation to Soviet cruise ships to visit Australia again distressed many ethnic groups and many Australians. The Government's failure to make any real progress on the question of East Timorese family reunions has dismayed everyone genuinely concerned with this major human rights issue. The Hawke Government's recent action in virtually abolishing deportation from the Australian statute books has appalled the entire community. The only people who will be cheering are those non-citizens engaged in organised crime, drug trafficking, and even espionage and the harbouring of spies who are now as safe as a church after 10 years residence in Australia. This was particularly well put by my colleague the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender), whose statement entitled ' Australia-a haven for organised crime' is worthy of special mention in this debate. I will read from this statement, which was written by one of Australia's leading Queen's Counsel. The honourable member states:

The Government's amendments to the Migration Act open up a huge gap in Australia's defences against organised crime.

Under the amendments, ten years' lawful residence in Australia, or lawful residence totalling ten years, makes non-citizens virtually secure from deportation.

So long as a non-citizen is not convicted and sentenced to at least one year's gaol for an offence committed during that ten year period, the Minister is powerless to deport him.

After ten years, the Minister's power to deport is limited to convictions for such extraordinary and unusual offences as treason or inciting mutiny.

The result is that non-citizens have after ten years' lawful residence in Australia, a licence to do what they will without fear of deportation.

It does not matter that they never intend to take up citizenship.

It does not matter that their actions constitute a threat to the security of Australia.

After ten years they are safe.

They are safe after ten years even if they then commit and are convicted of offences such as trafficking in dangerous drugs, organised criminal activities, murder, kidnapping, blackmail and extortion, to name but a few.

I add, as I pointed out in another debate, espionage or harbouring spies, including people such as Mr Valeriy Ivanov. The honourable member for North Sydney, and I agree with him, goes on to state:

The Hawke Government apparently believes that after ten years these kinds of non-citizens have rights in Australia.

The Government apparently believes that Australian society has no right to protect itself against these kinds of people by deporting them.

The Government's amendments to the Migration Act show an astounding lack of values and an equally astounding disregard for the need to protect Australians against predators who should never be allowed to live here.

I believe that the overwhelming majority of Australians would endorse and applaud those remarks by the honourable member for North Sydney. If we add to all those items the scandalous actions of the sort of people the Hawke Government is now admitting into Australia the picture is almost complete. I have only to mention the names of Professor Hidaka and Mr Brett Collins to make my point. In the Hidaka case the people of Australia are entitled to know why this man is now in this country, bearing in mind the very careful decisions of those most careful former Ministers, the present honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Macphee) and the former honourable member for Petrie. The people of Australia are entitled to know why this man is now in this country, bearing in mind the strong and unequivocal advice of Australia's former ambassador to Japan , Mr John Menadue, now a permanent head under the Hawke Government. They are entitled to know that bearing in mind the strong and compelling security advice provided to the former Government and a public statement by the former Leader of the Opposition, now the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden), that on the basis of the information put before him the Fraser Government's decision on Professor Hidaka, in refusing him admission to Australia because of his proven links with the Red Brigade, was justified. That is what the Minister for Foreign Affairs said just 12 months ago. What new information has come to light which justifies this socialist Minister making a 180 degree turn on the decision in the Hidaka case?

As for Mr Collins, I simply say that the Minister's answer in the House last week has raised more questions and more doubts as to what on earth he is doing to Australian migration policies than it has provided answers. If he does not believe me I suggest he talk to some of this Australian Labor Party colleagues in the New South Wales Government and they will put him on the right track. These radical changes, these dangerous changes, in Australia's immigration and ethnic affairs policies have shocked and astounded many, including a large number of traditional ALP supporters. What this socialist Minister is doing today will have a major impact on the sort of Australia we will see a few years down the track.