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Friday, 3 December 1965

Mr Collard (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

1.   How many persons who applied for naturalisation during the past five years have had their applications permanently refused on the grounds of unsuitability?

2.   How many of these persons are still in Australia?

Mr Opperman (CORIO, VICTORIA) (Minister for Immigration) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows -

1.   The Department of Immigration maintains statistics to show the number of applications for naturalisation which are not approved, but separate figures are not kept to show whether such applications are rejected or are deferred for a period. From 1st January 1961, to 30th June 1965, 8,987 persons had their applications for naturalisation either rejected or deferred. 7,564 of these applications were deferred because of the inability of the applicants to meet the language requirements of the Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1,026 because of offences committed, 201 on security grounds and 27 because of inability to meet residence requirements. During the same period, review of applications previously rejected or deferred resulted in 2,102 being approved.

2.   This is not known.

Geneva Convention.

Sir Robert Menzies . - I promised the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) on 1st December, further information on the attitude of the countries involved in the fighting in Vietnam towards the Geneva Conventions on War?

The attitude of the Republic of Vietnam, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong was set out by my colleague the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) in a reply to a question from the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) on 28th October. This was that -

The Government of the Republic of Vietnam has formally confirmed its willingness to observe the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners and to co-operate actively with the

International Commission of the Red Cross to this end. North Vietnam has filed a document of accession to these four Conventions with Reservations but we cannot be confident that North Vietnamese troops or the Viet Cong, who are under the direction and control of North Vietnam, would respect them in practice. The Viet Cong have for example indicated that they do not regard themselves as bound by the Geneva Conventions and have shot two United States prisoners, an act which is completely contrary to the provisions of these Conventions. The North Vietnamese have threatened to try captured United States pilots as " criminals ", which would also be contrary to the provisions of the Conventions.

I can also confirm to the honorable member that, so far as the actions of Australian troops in Vietnam are concerned, the Government regards itself as bound by the terms of the Geneva Conventions. I understand that a similar position is adopted by the Governments of the United States, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

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