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Tuesday, 16 September 1958

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It is the truth I -have had the experience -of seeking .permission for Cypriots to come here. This girl said that if -the Government - would not allow .her -mother 'to .corn e to Australia, it , should permit her sister, who -has been living in.. London for four years -with her husband, to .come here.

Mc , Freeth.-Be Government may have good reasons for its actions.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Government acted as it did 'because it is not allowing any more -Cypriots to come "to this country at 'present. It would not allow 'this girl's -sister to .come here, 'despite -the 'fact that she had been -living 'in London with her husband for -four -years. That -indicates clearly the -bitter prejudice -against Cypriots, probably because the .'Cypriots are 'seeking self-government^ 'the British -way of life, the right to govern themselves, and the right to have !the freedoms of -which we British people are so proud. I am sure that if it were not for (the great struggle going -on in Cyprus -to-day for self-determination, there would be .no prejudice against Cypriots. They would not be barred from entry to this country.

Mr Timson - Did you say that the Government was opposed to the entry of all Cypriots?

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Yes. Another matter that I should like to raise with the Minister is the subject of deportation. I do not know all the facts concerning recent deportations. I wrote to the Minister about certain immigrants who were to be deported, and the Minister told me that he could not allow them to remain in the country. He did not give reasons. I do not want to set the Minister against his secretary, but I think his secretary would have given me reasons - he usually does. They are given confidentially and they are kept confidential. I think that, where the Minister feels that he cannot accede to an honorable member's request, he should at least trust the honorable member with the confidential reasons why the request cannot be met.

Mr Downer - I send many confidential letters to honorable members.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 know, but the Minister did not send one to me in this case. Judging from the private conversations that I had with, the Minister, if he had been able to write to me in line with what he told me privately, I would have been completely satisfied that the action taken was justified. The Minister should follow a policy and never depart from it. He should allow an honorable member to know exactly the reasons for his action. Then honorable members will always know where they stand, and whether they should pursue the matter.

I should like to know whether henceforth all immigrants who are- convicted of a crime punishable by one year's imprisonment or longer will be deported, or whether their conviction and sentence will only form the basis for inquiry and, if the immigrant is found to be a particularly bad character, then and only then will he be deported. I should not like every person to be deported who is found guilty of a crime punishable by one year's imprisonment or more. I do not think that would be right, because in many cases, although the offence is punishable by one year's imprisonment or more, the offender is only sentenced to three months' imprisonment and, in fact, may only serve eight weeks. It would be unjust in those circumstances to deport the offender.

Mr Downer - That is not the policy. Each case is examined on its merits.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - An Italian, who was convicted of stealing a motor car, is awaiting deportation. I know of a Ukrainian who will soon be released from prison in New South Wales. He has been serving a term of three years' imprisonment. I hope that he will not be sent back to the Russian Ukraine because of that prison term. If he is deported, the Minister will be virtually bringing about his execution. I ask the Minister to consider that aspect carefully.

That is all I wish to say. I am pleased that at long last I am able to praise the work of a Minister. The Minister for Immigration is the only member of the Government about whom I feel that I can say a word of praise. I do not say it grudgingly. Now that he has tasted the power to deport people, I hope that the Minister will not allow that power to gO to his head. I hope that he will not derive pleasure from deporting people. I hope that he will only exercise his power hu special circumstances. If he continues in< the future to control his department as he has controlled it in the past, and if his. department is administered by men like Mr. Heyes and the executives immediately under him, as it has been since I have had anything to do with it, there will be no cause for complaint.

Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m..

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