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Wednesday, 17 September 1958


Mr DOWNER (Angas) (Minister for Immigration) . - I shall deal first with the point that was raised by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie). I should like to disabuse his mind that the effect of this clause is limited in the way that he fears. In my second-reading speech, just by way of illustration, I gave the example of an aged father or parent, butI did not mean that to be interpreted in an exclusive manner as though the clause were directed to that particular circumstance alone. In actual fact, this clause does not contemplate any age limit, as the honorable gentleman fears, nor was it restricted merely to a father or a mother. It could apply, for example, to a diseased child who had been left behind by his parents, or some other member of the family.

I quite agree with the honorable member that, although this does represent some lessening of previous severities on the part of the Government, the concession should be administered with a considerable degree of care. I do not think there would be any disputation about that at all, but the thought at the back of our minds when we put forward this matter to the Parliament was to try to make some further concession to the principle of family reunion. That is a principle which is particularly dear to my own heart and which, I feel, should underlie family migration wherever it is possible. I assure the honorable gentleman that I am in full agreement with him as to the wisdom of exercising this provision, should it become law, with all the necessary circumspection, andI do not think there will be any dispute about that. Generally speaking, it seems to me - and I think it will to the committee also - that the provision is good public policy.

I turn now briefly to the points that have been made by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). With all respect to the honorable gentleman, I will not delay the committee by going into those points deeply, and in saying that, I hope the honorable member will not think me unceremonious. I can assure him with reference to his plea which, in substance, as I see it, really amounts to a desire for some modification of the deportation power, that I shall consider most carefully the points that he has made with some degree of strength. 1 am sure that my officers will give him due consideration similarly.

Finally, there was the matter which was raised by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). The honorable gentleman said that he felt, in view of the imminence of this legislation coming into effect, that no action should be taken - if I understand him aright - against pending cases for deportation. I do not think that any Minister would be justified, however sympathetic he might be towhat the honorable member has said, in giving an unqualified undertaking that that would be done. It is impossible to foresee the circumstances which could arise between now and the time when this measure will receive the Royal Assent, and which would require the attention of myself or my officers in this connexion. However, I think I could go this far and say that no government would bring forward a consolidating and reforming measure of this kind and then proceed to act contrary to the spirit of what it was in the process of trying to enforce. But I do not think the honorable gentleman could reasonably expect me to give him a completely unqualified1 affirmative, bearing in mind that, of necessity, some months must elapse for administrative reasons until this section of the measure is actually proclaimed.

As to the date of proclamation, Sir, I contemplate that it will be in the early months - perhaps the first quarter - of1959. If the bill is approved by this chamber and in another place, it will certainly come into effect as soon as it can be made conveniently possible.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 17 - (3.) Where a person entered Australia before the commencement of this Part as -

(a)   a member of the armed forces of the Commonwealth entering Australia in the course of his duty; or and, having ceased to be a person referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of this sub-section, is an immigrant and is not the holder of an entry permit, the Minister may, within five years after that person so entered Australia, order his deportation.







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