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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3212

Mr Shipton (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 28 February 1980:

(1)   Has a 1961 agreement between Australia and Spain, whereby Spain waived the requirement for Australian tourists to obtain visas, recently been abrogated; if so, which party abrogated it;

(2)   Do Australian citizens entering Spain now require visas;

(3)   If so, is he able to state whether the requirement has inconvenienced significant numbers of Australian tourists by preventing them from entering Spain;

(4)   Has the Spanish Government offered to negotiate a new agreement on this matter with the Australian Government; if so, has his Department responded to the Spanish initiative.

Mr Macphee - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes. Spain.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   The Spanish authorities state that over 80,000 tourists from Australia visit Spain annually. Several claim to have been inconvenienced when attempting to enter Spain without a visa since 4 October 1 978. 1 am unable to state whether the numbers inconvenienced would reach substantial proportions.

Since the Agreement terminated, the Government has made strenuous and continuing efforts to ensure that all bodies concerned with travel are aware of the visa requirement and that correct information is given to travellers.

(4)   Yes. When the Spanish Government advised that it was denouncing the Agreement, it indicated its willingness to enter into discussions with a view to signing a new Agreement with reciprocal provisions. Possible means of facilitating the movement of tourists are under continuing examination. However, the visa system is an integral pan of Australia 's immigration control procedures.

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