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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3371

Mr RIORDAN (PHILLIP, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. Does Australia discriminate in its advertising in relation to migration from any country, particularly from countries in Asia? If so, to what extent does this discrimination occur, and in what form? If there is no improper discrimination, will the Minister refute reports that Australia is engaging in such discrimination?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - Australia's immigration program is totally and completely nondiscriminatory and based, in fact, on the assessment of individuals and not on their racial background, the pigmentation of their skin or their religion. In advertising we move into a realm which is dictated very much by the response of the countries concerned. In certain instances - in fact, in many instances - we are discouraged from undertaking such advertising. In other instances we are specifically prohibited from undertaking such advertising. So for reasons of goodwill and good neighbourliness we must proceed on a basis that the governments of other countries will accept. That is a responsible position and one to which we adhere. One of the things that happened with the change of administration and my own assumption of office was that I cancelled the advertising program which had been running, I thought on wrong lines, in the United Kingdom and on which in 1971-72 we spent $522,000. The advertising was selling Australia like selling soap. It indicated that we were offering some kind of instant paradise. Tn the last few months this procedure resulted in many letters from British migrants saying that they felt that it was misleading. So, in fact, that campaign with that procedure was suspended.

Mr Snedden - Finish the answer.

Mr GRASSBY - We had to look responsibly on what ought to be done, and in 1972- 73 our expenditure on advertising in the United Kingdom was of the order of $182,000. This year it will be marginally above that figure.

Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, how long is this answer to go on?

Mr GRASSBY - The whole of the emphasis of the present campaign is entirely different. It is designed to be responsible in giving facts with the invitation to people that we wish to come to Australia. There have been some interjections by the Leader of the Opposition. Per haps his conscience is pricking him a little because of the returnees in the last 5 years running at 25 per cent. This situation was revealed by an investigation that his own administration authorised, so I should think that his conscience would prick him on this matter.

Mr Snedden - I rise to a point of order. The Opposition is tired of these Dorothy Dix answers that go on day after day. The Minister is an obvious failure if he cannot answer questions in much shorter time than he is taking.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order. However, I would suggest to the House that the questions and answers should be as brief as possible. I do not like to see the abuse of question time by either' side of the House. I ask the Minister to make his answer to the question as brief as possible.

Mr GRASSBY - I, of course, reject the somewhat arrogant statement made most improperly by the Leader of the Opposition in taking a point of order. He spoke of ministerial failures. He would know more about them than anyone else. In summation, I rebut the suggestion that there is any discrimination, either in the policy or in the advertising that goes with it.

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