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Wednesday, 17 September 1958
Page: 1315


Mr DOWNER (Angas) (Minister for Immigration) . - T can understand the point of view advanced by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) and I do not think that people would dispute the hesitancy he has expressed. I am glad to hear his expression on behalf of the Opposition of willingness to concur in the amendment. However, I think the honorable member would agree that virtually any person, certainly any reasonable person, given full reasons for his arrest through an interpreter, as so often would have to be the case, who really felt it was a case of mistaken identity, would dispute it without delay.

To find an indication of the spirit behind these clauses, I ask the honorable member to turn to clause 41. The committee will see that it provides -

Where a person is in custody under this Act, the person having his custody shall, at the request of the person in custody, afford to him all reasonable facilities for making a statutory declaration for the purposes of this Act or for obtaining legal advice or taking legal proceedings in relation to his custody.


Mr Clarey - That is at the request of the person?


Mr DOWNER - Yes. I think that clause, to which I draw the attention of the committee, discloses, as it were, the theme song of the legislation at this point.


Mr Haylen - It leaves a lot to the Minister. It will be quite safe with you, because you have been locked up yourself in the cause of the country.


Mr DOWNER - The honorable member is quite correct in reminding the committee that I am, in a sense I suppose, an ex-gaol bird, but I make no apology for that. However, our experience of Ministers for Immigration from both sides of the chamber has been that they are reasonable and responsible men. They have been entrusted with great powers and they have been very conscious of the great necessity for exercising them in a humane and, wherever possible, a generous way. I assure the honorable member for Bendigo that I shall keep his point of view in mind, but I do not think that he will find, in the way the act is administered either by me or by my successors, that it will be very far from the goal which he wishes to achieve.


Mr Clarey - I accept that assurance.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 40 to 57 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 58 - (3.) The regulations may make provision for and in relation to the regulation of immigrant centres, including provision with respect to the conduct or control of persons in immigrant centres and the removal of persons from immigrant centres.


Mr DOWNER (Angas) (Minister for Immigration) . - I move -

In clause 58, sub-clause (3.), after " respect to ", insert " the establishment and operation of canteen services in immigrant centres,".

This small amendment should meet with the concurrence of the committee, especially those members of it who are broad-minded and in an expansive frame of mind. Because immigrant accommodation centres are situated some distance from normal shopping facilities, arrangements have been made for some time now with the Army Canteens Service to establish and conduct canteens at the main immigrant accommodation centres, Bonegilla, Greta, Scheyville, and Woodside in my own State of South Australia. It was considered desirable to include in this bill expressed statutory authority for the establishment of immigrant centres, together with the power to provide by regulation for their conduct and control. What the present amendment attempts to achieve is merely an extension ofthis authority to cover the canteen services at present conducted in the immigrant accommodation centres. I commend the amendment to the committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreedto.

Remainder of bill - by leave - taken as a whole.







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