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Tuesday, 16 November 1976
Page: 2680

Mr INNES (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) -I ask the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs: Is it true that the extended criteria for entry into Australia by relatives of residents of this country will cease to apply at the end of 1976 and that any applications not completely processed at that date will be considered only on the basis of the previous restricted criteria? If this is the case, will the Minister assure the House that, because of the apprehension that migrants in Australia feel for the safety of their relatives in some areas and the humanitarian aspects of family reunions, the extended criteria will continue to operate in the future?

Mr MacKELLAR (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs) -The Government over an extended period has given special consideration to people resident in the Lebanon who have relatives in Australia. My latest announcement in relation to this matter was a statement in the House on 23 September in which I said that a special task force was being sent to Nicosia, that relaxed criteria would apply in relation to the relatives of Lebanese residents in Australia, that the task force would be in operation for 3 months and that the situation would be reassessed at that stage. That statement stands. Obviously when special arrangements apply they cannot apply indefinitely. The arrangements were made to cover a specific situation that has existed and, unfortunately, to some extent still exists in the Lebanon. We have to reassess that situation from time to time and I am not going to speculate on the result of that reassessment.

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