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Tuesday, 24 March 1987
Page: 1442


Mr COHEN (Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment)(11.00) —I would like to reply very briefly to the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Cadman). I have some sympathy for the cases that he raised. I certainly will refer the matter to the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr Young). I have had similar cases myself. In one recently a Jewish grandmother wanted to come to Australia for her grandson's bar mitzvah. There is no question that it was a humane case. I contacted the Minister's office immediately. I was very pleased to find out that within a very short period cables were sent and she was able to get here with 48 hours to spare to attend the bar mitzvah on the north shore of Sydney. A similar case happened with my aunt. My family on my father's side is of South African background. My father was born in South Africa and I have a lot of relations there. My aunt wanted to come here. Her sole remaining brother in Australia was very ill. Again, this matter was able to be fixed up within a matter of days.

The honourable member has raised a matter of concern to a lot of people. I hope that people with genuine humane cases are not being stopped from coming to this country and that the wrong people are not being punished. I strongly support the Government in making things as hard as possible on this question because I think we have to put pressure on the South African people and even sometimes, unfortunately, on those people who are not necessarily supporters of apartheid. I will make sure that the matter goes before the Minister. I certainly understand that the honourable member has raised the matter in a sensitive way.

I was going to reply to the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman). Unfortunately, he makes a ranting, raving exhibition of himself in this House. Talk about nazism and Moscow corner and that sort of gibberish-that is about all I can refer to it as-debases debate in this Parliament. Anybody who knows my background would understand that I find it thoroughly objectionable in any way, shape or form to be linked with the word `nazi'. I have told the honourable member this on many occasions. If he wants to argue or debate, to abuse Government members or to oppose legislation, of course he has every right to do so; but the sort of language that he uses debases debate and debases the Parliament. It does him no credit. No wonder he has the reputation for being the crown fool of the Australian Parliament.


Madam SPEAKER —The debate being concluded, the House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11.03 p.m.