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Tuesday, 16 September 1958

Mr CAIRNS (Yarra) .- I think clause 14 is the most important of the clauses in Division II. It contrasts with clauses 12 and 13 in that it empowers the Minister to take many factors and circumstances into account in determining whether deportation proceedings shall take place. Clauses 12 and 13 are quite specific. What is set out there could be proved by the production of court records or the records of an institution, but, under clause 14, if it appears to the Minister that the conduct of an alien has been such that he should not be allowed to remain in Australia, the Minister may, subject to certain provisions, order the deportation of that alien.

The advance that this clause makes on previous legislation is that it lays down certain procedure which must be followed. First of all, before the deportation is to proceed, a notice has to be served on the person concerned, specifying the grounds of deportation. That is an advance on anything that has happened before. Previously, a person could be deported without necessarily being given any reason or ground whatever for the action. In this case, however, a notice must be served. After the notice is served, the person may, within thirty days, apply for a hearing before a commissioner who is to be a judge of the federal court, or of a State Supreme Court cr a barrister or solicitor of the High Court of Australia. In my view, this is redundant. It means that in cases where a person to be deported seeks to make what may well be an appeal, the evidence on which action is being taken would no longer remain secret. It would be open to examination.

In a number of cases in the past I kept as closely in touch as possible with the evidence that was brought. I believe that some of it was quite unsatisfactory. I know sufficient of the procedure which takes place in at least one or two investigation branches in the country to know that an extremely narrow view is sometimes taken in interpreting the particular actions of persons who are brought within the provisions of this section. I feel that any reasonably qualified persons such as the commissioner to be appointed would not agree with that attitude. However, clause 14 is a considerable advance on previous provisions.

I would suggest to the Minister that he should not consider taking any further action in a notable case which has recently been under consideration until this measure becomes law and the new procedure for which it provides can be followed. Persons who are placed in the position of being liable to deportation will then be able to rely on the fact that they can obtain notice of the grounds on which it is proposed to deport them. This will give them the opportunity, if necessary, to apply for a hearing of the matter by a commissioner before further action is taken. It is time that the old procedure was brought to an end, and, when this measure passes into law, it should not again be followed.

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