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Tuesday, 16 September 1958
Page: 1282

Mr DOWNER (Angas) (Minister for Immigration) . - If I may say so now, the Government proposes nine amendments to this bill. Two of them are purely of a drafting nature. Seven of them are principally of a machinery nature, and I think that when honorable members see them they will agree that they do not impinge upon any matters of policy. The first of these proposed amendments is to clause 7. I move -

At the end of clause 7, add the following subclause: - " (5.) An authorized officer may require a person who is a prohibited immigrant by virtue of sub-section (3.) of this section to leave Australia within the time specified by the authorized officer, and that person shall comply with the requirement.

Penalty for any contravention of this subsection: Two hundred pounds or imprisonment for three months.".

In a very brief explanation of this amendment, may I say that it quite frequently happens that a person admitted for a temporary purpose only refuses to leave when his permitted stay has ended. There has been already fairly wide experience of that. If the person is not eligible under immigration policy to stay, the Minister of the day is faced with only one course of action, which is to deport, him. This obviously involves, or could involve, considerable expense and effort on the part of every one except the person proposed to be deported and from whom, of course, the cost of deportation cannot be recouped.

What we now propose in this amendment will, in effect, give such people a strong incentive to leave without the necessity for bringing in this cumbrous and distasteful process of deportation. If he still refuses, the fine imposed will recoup to the Commonwealth the expense of any subsequent deportation that may be necessary. The final alternative of a prison sentence is, of course, necessary to meet cases where a visitor who proves obdurate claims that he has not sufficient funds to meet a fine. I think the committee will agree with me that this is a very sensible provision that we seek to insert. As I said before, it is purely of a machinery nature, and I commend it to the committee for its approval.

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