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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 445

Mr Humphreys asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 20 May 1980:

(   1 ) Are tourists holding Australian passports required to obtain an entry visa to Spain before entering that country.

(2)   Has this condition applied since World War 2; if not, (a) when was the condition imposed, (b) for what reasons was it imposed and (c) did the Government object to the change in visa requirements.

(3)   Is he able to state whether conditions for entry into Spain have altered recently for bearers of English, Canadian, United States of America or New Zealand passports.

(4)   Will he consider supplying to outward-bound Australian tourists a list of those countries for which entry visas must be obtained prior to entry.

(5)   Will he undertake negotiations with Spanish authorities to ensure that Australians can obtain visitors visas for Spain at port of entry in view of the large number of Australian tourists wishing to include Spain in their European vacations.

(6)   Are Spanish tourists wishing to visit Australia obliged to meet any conditions of entry not also required of other continental Europeans.

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

(1)   Yes.

(2)   No. In 1961 Australia entered into an agreement with Spain which provided for Australian citizens to enter Spain without the need to hold a visa.

(a)   and (b) In October 1 978, the Spanish Government abrogated the 1961 agreement.

(c)   as the agreement was not reciprocal in that holders of Spanish passports were required to hold visas for entry to Australia there was no basis for an objection.

(3)   I have no information about any recent changes to Spanish entry requirements for citizens of Britain, Canada, United States of America and New Zealand.

(4)   The Government is already making continuing efforts to ensure that all bodies concerned with travel are aware of the visa requirements for other countries and that correct information is given to travellers.

(5)   The Spanish authorities withdrew from the 1961 Agreement because it was not reciprocal, and have indicated that they would not be prepared to negotiate another agreement unless complete reciprocity is provided.

Unlike many other countries, Australia has no extensive internal system for regulating and monitoring the movements of overseas visitors. It is therefore heavily dependent on its visa system to ensure that the presence in Australia of people admitted as visitors will be consistent with the national interest.

Australia's geographic remoteness also raises a problem not shared by the countries of Western Europe. Any person arriving in Australia and being refused entry, must then travel a long distance at considerable cost to enter another country.

The issue of visitor visas at our points of entry would not, therefore, be a practicable proposition for Australia.

The Australian Government does not intend at present to waive the visitor visa requirement which is seen as an integral part of Australia's immigration control procedures. As reciprocity cannot be offered there would be no basis to negotiate with Spain in the manner referred to by the honourable member.

(6)   Spanish tourists wishing to visit Australia are not obliged to meet any conditions of entry not also required of other Western European tourists.

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