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Wednesday, 17 April 1985
Page: 1334

(Question No. 240)

Mr Ruddock asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 21 March 1985:

(1) Did the Auditor-General in his efficiency audit on the control of prohibited immigration recommend that his Department, while adequately recognising privacy considerations, actively explore with other government authorities the development of procedures to assist in the location of prohibited immigrants, and that other Commonwealth authorities assist to the extent possible in locating people who are in Australia illegally; if so, what action has his Department taken on this recommendation, and what have been the results of its discussions.

(2) Has his Department received adequate co-operation and assistance from other Commonwealth departments and authorities in implementing this recommendation.

Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) Yes. My Department advises that it has approached Commonwealth and State authorities over a number of years to provide information which would assist in locating people who are illegally in Australia. While there have been useful results in the past, it has encountered increasing reluctance to provide information because of privacy provisions and aspects of administrative law such as freedom of information legislation. Nevertheless the Department has renewed a number of contacts in writing and in senior officers discussions. I am informed that the responses are mixed, most authorities wanting to be helpful but feeling limited by legislation or policies. When the round of officer level contacts has been completed I will consider whether there is any further action I should take.