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Thursday, 28 March 1968

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Immigration) - The recognition of professional qualifications presents real difficulties. In my view, the problem warrants deep consideration and should be solved as early as possible in the interests of Australia. The professions can be divided into two categories. One is the profession that is registerable and includes medicine and engineering. The registration of doctors is done by law and the registration of engineers is done by the professional body itself. The other category covers the non-registerable professions such as the forester, nonagricultural scientist and the nuclear physicist. Where no requirement for registration is laid down by the professional body or by law, no real difficulty exists. The employer will judge whether the qualifications of the person seeking employment are suitable. But the difficulty arises with the registerable professions. Let me give an example in the profession of medicine to show how substantial the difficulty is. An investigation of the qualification requirements for registration for the medical profession shows that there is no uniformity throughout the States.

Mr Whitlam - Or the Territories.

Mr SNEDDEN - That is so. lt is equally clear that recognition is accorded generally to qualifications obtained at universities of British origin or English speaking universities. The point I should like to make clear is that I certainly do not argue in favour of a diminution of standards. But that is not the problem. The problem is the recognition of equivalent qualifications from another place. I have spent a considerable amount of time considering this problem. The State Ministers for Immigration were here for the recent Australian Citizenship Convention and I discussed the matter with them. I found amongst them a good deal of sympathy and eagerness to solve the problem. I have been pursuing the matter myself, but I must say to the honourable gentleman that the only power I have is the power of advocacy. I do not possess any other power. The power is possessed by the registration bodies. But there is a growing acknowledgment in the community of the need to solve the problem and I am very eager to see something done about it quickly.

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