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Tuesday, 16 September 1958
Page: 1291

Mr DOWNER (Angas) (Minister for Immigration) . - The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) wants some indication of the criteria which the commissioner would use in dealing with these cases. If the honorable member has studied the Immigration Act he will find that this bill reproduces what has been the law of this country for a great many years, including the part that he feels so critical about. It does not introduce any particularly new law or new considerations. The honorable member will find that there is not a country in the English-speaking world, or any Western country, which has not a measure of this nature on its statute-book.

Mr Bryant - That does not make this right.

Mr DOWNER - The honorable member says it does not make this right. I put it to him that every country has to have this sort of overall protecting legislation in the interests of the community generally. That has been the experience of practically all countries and of legislators for decades. I think that the honorable member, who I know is so interested in these things, ought to give the more weight to that aspect than he has done so hitherto.

I have no doubt that when cases are brought under clause 14, the commissioner will weigh the circumstances with the utmost care. I do not think that it is for the Minister of the day to lay down or dictate exactly what the commissioner's thinking should be or what his particular criteria should be in cases of this nature. After all, the object of the legislation is to check some of the power of the Minister and clothe the commissioner with it. He will be invested with a fairly considerable discretion and it will be for him to apply it in the interests of what he considers to be a just cause.

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