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Thursday, 23 March 1972
Page: 855

Senator MULVIHILL - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. What were the reasons for the sudden decision to expel the United States actor Stephen de Ghelder from Australia when he was on the verge of portraying Jesus Christ in the production 'Godspell'?

Senator GREENWOOD - There has been some reference in the Press to this matter. I understand the facts are that Mr de Ghelder arrived in Australia from Singapore last November on a one month visitor's visa and that subsequently he was permitted to extend his visa. I think that the current visa is to expire on 24th March. Of course, if he were to make any further application for an extension it would be considered. As a visitor he is not permitted to work in Australia.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Nor should he be when Australian actors are out of work.

Senator GREENWOOD - I understand that he made application to work in Australia and that, in accordance with the policy which the Department of Immigration follows, consultations took place with the Department of Labour and National Service and with the particular organisation - I think it was the Actors Equity Association of Australia - concerned and that on an examination of all the facts it appeared that there was no particular reason why this person should be preferred in terms of employment over Australians who were able to take the position. In those circumstances he was not given a work visa. He has been here for quite a number of months on a visitor's visa, which is shortly to expire but which would be considered afresh if he were to make application for that to be done.

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