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Tuesday, 29 November 1983
Page: 2974

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of the undersigned citizens living in Melbourne, Victoria, showeth:

That Vietnamese refugees have endeavoured to settle in Australia and integrate into this community, and in a comparatively short time have achieved encouraging progress. However, settlement is a long and difficult process, and this process has been made harder because of unemployment and adverse economic conditions.

We respectfully submit that it is in the interest of our community that refugees who are accepted in Australia after having to risk their lives to escape persecution are helped in every possible way to surmount haunting experiences of the past, so that they can devote all their minds and energies to building a new life in Australia and making a positive contribution to this society.

We respectfully express our concern at the proposed increased level of visits by Governmental and other delegations from Communist Vietnam. Such visits, especially if they are frequent and highly publicised, will have the unfortunate effect of upsetting and unsettling those people who have suffered from the policies of the Communist regime in Vietnam in the recent past. Such visits will create confusion and tension and detract the refugees from their efforts of settlement.

We respectfully state that we are for diplomatic dialogue and that we support the Government's efforts to bring peace back in Cambodia on the basis of self- determination, as well as to uphold human rights all over Indochina. We respectfully ask that the Government, in pursuit of its policy in South East Asia, take into account the settlement needs of Vietnamese who are now members of our community and avoid any aspect or measure of policy that is likely to have an unsettling effect on them and hamper their settlement.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

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