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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2550

Mr Grassby (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

What are the percentages of settlers in the forty-nine national categories, listed in the Return for the year 1969-70 under the Citizenship Act, who have applied for and been granted Australian citizenship by naturalisation and registration during the years of the post-war migration programme.

Dr Forbes (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Immigration) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The following table shows the estimated percentages of eligible persons who have been granted Australian citizenship by naturalisation in the period 1st January 1945 to 30th June 1970 in the alien national categories listed in the 1969-70 Citizenship Return:



No statistics are available to show the percentage of eligible persons of each citizenship who have acquired Australian citizenship by registration.

However, between 26th January 1949, when the provision for citizenship by registration was introduced by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948, and 30th June 1970, 52,590 persons became Australian citizens by registration. This represents approximately 4.4 per cent of those eligible as at 30th June 1970 to seek citizenship by this means.

Of interest in this connection is the following statement made by my colleague the Hon. B. M. Snedden when introducing the Citizenship Bill 1969 which provided a very simple means by which British migrants could acquire Australian citizenship through the process of notification after 5 years residence:

British migrants, after living in Australia for long periods come to think of themselves as Australian citizens. Few of them give any serious thought to making application for the formal grant of citizenship by registration, for of course they have nothing material to gain from becoming Australian citizens, already having the right to vote to be appointed or elected to public office, and the like. It is therefore natural that after being in Australia for long periods they think of themselves as Australian citizens; and so, when they wish to travel abroad, for instance, they are surprised and hurt to find they cannot have Australian passports.It is a very common occurrence chat they do not have time before travelling to obtain Certificates of Registration, and as a result are obliged to obtain British passports from the British High Commissioner. The Government believes that these members of our community should have an extremely quick and simple way of becoming Australian citizens, and Clause 8 of the Bill will make this possible.'

This provision came into force on 1st May 1970 and since then slightly more than 4,500 persons have acquired Australian citizenship by notification.

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