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Friday, 24 June 1949

Mr LANG (Reid) .- There are two immigration measures before this Parliament. They are based on two entirely different principles. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Calwell) recognized that when he made two separate second-reading speeches. One measure deals with immigration generally. The second measure is designed to deal with a number of special nonrecurring cases, and in that regard is entirely discriminatory. I propose, at this stage, to confine my remarks to the first measure before the House. That, I consider, is the only way to proceed in accordance with the proper requirements of deliberative consideration of the conflicting principles involved. This first measure, amending the Immigration Act, applies to every migrant who enters this country. It applies to Asians, to displaced persons, to citizens of the United States and to migrants from the United Kingdom. It will enable certificates of exemption to he used, in future, on a much wider scale than has hitherto prevailed. It would also appear to give the Minister power to declare a person named in such a certificate to be a prohibited immigrant, without going through the formality of a dictation test. So, this bill can be used to effect a revolutionary change in the system under which all migrants are to be admitted. In future, any one entering this country will be handed a " ticket of leave ". They will be able to remain here until such time as the Minister decides that they must leave. While the judgment given by the present AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt) when he was a justice of the High Court, in the case of Mrs. Freer, still stands, such "tickets of leave " can be issued to British subjects as well as to migrants from other countries. Despite the Minister's smokescreen, this bill has nothing in the wide, wide world to do with White Australia. It affects every migrant, irrespective of color, race or creed. It is just a bill to give this Minister more power. That is what he wants. The Minister himself, in his speech, admitted that such certificates would also apply to the admission of Europeans - both British and nonBritish. That is the basis on which it should bc considered by this House. It can be used as a threat of deportation hanging over the head of every migrant for a period of five years after arrival in this country. It will be used by this Minister and by his successors. It might be used at some future period to deal with any migrants who might become involved, for example, in strike action. This power might be used capriciously, or savagely. Nevertheless, in spite of all those things, this measure may prove to be very necessary. It is quite true that many undesirable types are entering this country; and the Minister is responsible for their entry. This bill will enable this Government, or future Governments, to correct the present Minister's blunders.

Evidence is accumulating to show that Communists are entering this country under cover of the Minister's entry permits. At least 300 refugees from Shanghai arrived in this country with passports issued by the .Soviet Legation in that city. The Minister has admitted that he had to send a special officer and the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) to Shanghai in order to stop the influx of such people. All these people had previously been issued with entry permits on behalf of the Minister. It was only when the security people commenced to ask questions that the intake of such persons was stopped. There could be a very interesting public examination of the way in which those permits were issued. We are now told that all migrants coming to this country are screened. If that is so, Such action is belated. A large number of migrants arrived before that practice was put into operation. Some months ago I asked questions in this House about a certain Tunica y Casas, and, at first, the Minister denied having any knowledge of that case. Tunica y Casas and her hus-. hand left New Caledonia in a hurry.

They were practically run out of that country by French ex-servicemen because of their Communist activities among the native population. Tunica y Casas was the secretary of the New Caledonian Communist party. She had links with the Communist organization throughout south-east Asia. After a long delay and after several questions had been asked in this House on the subject, the Minister admitted that those people were in this country. He said that they were here on tourist visas. Then he said that they would be asked to leave this country by the end of May. However, those people are still here. That is a typical case history which shows what can happen under the Government's present crazy migration plan.

There is similar evidence that Communists have entered this country from Europe. The Minister talked abour. 100,000 migrants coming from Italy; but in the next breath he told us that as a third of the Italian population voted in support of the Communist party at the last genera] election in that country, we must expect a similar proportion of Communists among the Italian migrants who come here. If the Minister's deduction is correct, that means that 33,000 Communists are coming to Australia from Italy. There will be two classes of Communists among migrants coming to Australia. First, there will be those who openly avow their Communist sympathies. That class will not present much difficulty. Secondly, there will be the undercover Communists, who will have a real mission in this country. Communists of that class will be coming into Australia among displaced persons. They will come as Baits, Estonians, Latvians or other nationalities akin to Russia. They will come here as Germans, Italians, Austrians, Poles or Czechs, because communism is international in its- organization. In Canada, Communists were found to be engaging in espionage while posing as anti-Communists. A Communist agent would have no trouble in getting through the Minister's screen. There are no records except the Nazi records. How reliable would those records be even if the Minister's representatives had access to them ? During the war there were many

Communists living underground in Germany. They were never traced or discovered by the German gestapo. "What record exists of their history? But when the Russians took over their sector of Germany Communists in that sector quickly threw off their cloaks and affirmed their allegiance to communism. However, many would still be underground in the western sector of Germany. They would have no trouble in passing through the Minister'9 screen. The Minister now admits that he has given entry permits to Germans, Austrians and Italians who fought against Australians in the recent war ; but he says that they are not Nazis. How does the Minister know that? The leader of the German air force has been cleared by a de-nazification court, hut there is not a shadow of doubt that he was one of Goering's most trusted lieutenants. There is a very thin borderline between the Nazi, the Fascist, and the Communist. A mercenary of one army can quickly change to being a mercenary of another camp. The Fascist of the Mussolini regime is the Communist of to-day. The leader of the German air force of Nazi days has been cleared by a de-nazification court. It is easy for the Minister and others to talk about the screening that takes place in respect of immigrants to this country, but what machinery has the Government got to carry out this job? How will the good immigrants be sorted out from the bad so that we shall be absolutely sure that the intake of immigrants to this country is 100 per cent, good? The Americans put every applicant for admission to America through an exhaustive pipeline that is under the control of its army officials. The pipeline is composed of the United States Displaced Persons Commission, the Immigration services the Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Public Health service and the State Department. "When the process was finished only 2,500 displaced persons were accepted, in the whole of 1948, for admission to the United States. Australia picked up many of the rejects. "We are told by the Government that we are lucky to get them. "When we consider the risks that we have been running as the result of the Minister's irresponsible migration admin- istration, the necessity for this measure becomes apparent. "When the Minister catches up with some of his mistakes, he will be able to deport the individuals concerned. Of course, the majority will still remain here. They will include both the good and many of the bad. That is the risk we run. Although the cost of bringing each displaced person here is a very heavy charge on the taxpayers and on the National Welfare Fund, perhaps the added cost of deportation may, in the long run, prove to be a worthwhile expenditure.

There have been several instances of passengers on European migrant ships stating that they were convinced that amongst their fellow-passengers there was a number of Communists. The Minister has been more eager to blanket such statements than to investigate them so as to prove their truth or otherwise.

In supporting this measure for the reason that there must be machinery to correct the Minister's blunders, I do so with a considerable number of reservations. Undesirables should be deported. Nobody questions that.

Mr Fuller - The honorable member ought to be with them.

Mr LANG - But will the deportations stop there? There is no guarantee that, while this Minister holds the Immigration portfolio, the administration of the Immigration Act will not be subject to sudden outbreaks of unnecessary provocation. There will be nothing to prevent the Minister from deporting as the result of a sudden whim, every alien who comes under the provisions of this measure. He will only have to sign a deportation order to do so. That power is not confined to Asians. It can be directed against Americans. If Colonel Carpenter, who married an Australian girl in Tokyo, ever decides to visit this country, he may find himself singled out for the Minister's special attention. Because of the decision in the case of Mrs. Freer the powers in this bill could even, be directed against British subjects. That was a decision by the present Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) when he was on the Bench of the High Court of Australia. Another important reservation that I have iri mind concerns the- possibility of migrants being deported for industrial offences. The Minister says thai we are to have 140,000 indentured labourers. Their permits can be cancelled and they can be deported on the say-so of the Minister of the day. That makes them slave labour. If they go on strike, no matter how good their case, they can be dealt with by this Minister, or his successor. They can be dumped in gaol without a trial and held there indefinitely. Some have already been so held. Then they can be put aboard a ship and deported. It would appear that we are back again to the old " blackbirding " days. Those indentured labourers will be afraid to stand up for their industrial rights. They can be used to undermine the- conditions of Australian unionists. That is why the Minister can claim so much anti-Labour support for his migration policy. It suits big business.

There should be safeguards against ministerial blundering, or limelighting. The processes of the courts might well be opened to those affected. Then each individual case could be judged on its merits. If necessary let a jury be empanelled. There could then be no suggestion of harshness or injustice. The treatment accorded to Harry Bridges by the United States authorities is an example of what happens under American democratic procedure. First, all the facts were examined by a grand jury. Bridges was then indicted, and he is now to be tried before a federal court, where he will have the right to defend himself. That is the essential difference between tho American immigration practice and the proposals contained in this bill. The present Government long ago abandoned any pretence that it has any faith in the normal processes of justice. It would, therefore, be futile to move any amendment to improve our procedure along the lines which I have just indicated. However, since I believe that it is most essential that machinery should be established to enable the Government to remove Communists from this country when they are discovered by the investigating authorities I propose to support the bill. The administration of the measure will then become the responsibility not only of the Minister for Immigration, but also of the Government itself, and I am prepared to give the Government this little extra piece of rope with which to hang itself if it so chooses.

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