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Thursday, 20 October 1949

Mr CALWELL (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Immigration) - The honorable member for Swan raised this matter recently in a question which related to the alleged treatment in France of the Australian singer John Brownlee. I have supplied the honorable gentleman with a detailed explanation of the whole situation.

Mr Hamilton - Was that done by letter ?

Mr CALWELL - I have given a copy of the reply to the question to the Clerk of the House. Our attitude to the issue of vises is dictated by a concern for the security of this nation, and by that alone. We could do what Great Britain has done in respect of Spain, France, Switzerland and other countries.

Mr White - Why not?

Mr CALWELL - If the honorable member for Balaclava will be patient and remain silent, I shall tell him why not. We could allow Frenchmen, Spaniards and other foreigners to enter this country without vises, but if we did so the very first persons to criticize us for not adopting a proper system of security screening of persons entering this country would be certain honorable gentlemen opposite, who have repeatedly raised this matter. The honorable member for Parramatta was the first to raise it, because he had encountered some difficulties. Nobody need meet with difficulties if He will take the necessary but easy preliminary step of approaching a consular or diplomatic representative of the country to which he desires to travel and asking for a vise.

Mr Ryan - That has been done in this instance.

Mr CALWELL - I do not know whether it has been done. If it has, the fault lies with the Spanish authorities and not with the Australian authorities. The fault cannot be that of the Australian authorities. If the Australian Government has raised no objection to the issue of the passport and if the Spanish authorities have issued a vis6. obviously the fault lies with the Spanish authorities if an Australian citizen is not permitted to land in Spain. I do not intend to cast any reflection upon Mr. Morell. I have not the pleasure of knowing him, but for many years I served on the Melbourne City Council with his father, an Australian citizen, a former Lord Mayor of Melbourne and a Consul-General for Spain. The honorable member for Flinders will find that the trouble lies, not with any Australian authority but rather with some Spanish authority. While this Government remains in office, which it is certain to do for many years to come, we shall not depart from a system that ensures the protection of the security of this nation. That should be the first consideration of all Australian citizens. That is far more important than is th, convenience of globe-trotting persons who are concerned only with their own pleasure.

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