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Thursday, 18 October 1956

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - 1 have given quite a lot of careful thought to this very difficult case. It is difficult for the two principal reasons that the honorable gentleman has mentioned. One arises from the practice in this country, which goes back very many years, and perhaps needs some reconsideration in the light of post-war developments and the settlement of a very substantial number of people here, of requiring immigrants who have become a charge on public funds, by virtue of the development of some serious illness, to be deported from the Commonwealth on the decision of the Government. I know that that practice does create a good deal of anxiety in the minds of persons who have uprooted themselves and come here to settle and establish themselves with their families. A case such as that mentioned by the honorable gentleman does stimulate such fears. On the other hand, we have the problem of . safeguarding the health standards of the Australian community. I have gone into this matter thoroughly with my colleague, the Minister for Health, and have in turn taken it up with the New South Wales health authorities, who raised the matter with us in the first instance. It appears that the form of the disease from which this man is suffering is a relatively mild one, and that it is curable and not likely to be infective. Having regard to these circumstances and the fact that he has a wife and two children here, it has now been decided not to proceed with the deportation. 1 think that the general question of what should be the legislative position calls for some careful review in the light of our current situation, and I am arranging for the Immigration Advisory Council to examine that question and make some recommendations to me.

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