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Wednesday, 28 May 1969

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - I thank the Minister for her answer to my question. What she is saying, in effect, is that the draftsman's wording of the Act was not what was intended and therefore we are now putting in what was intended at the time although it was not stated because someone made a mistake in the Act. I see that this sub-section was amended in 1959-

Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin - It was not a mistake. The provision is being expressed more clearly.

Senator CAVANAGH - It expresses more clearly what was intended. This provision has continued in the Act from 1959 to 1969 and has caused no hardship or difficulty. That being so, I see no reason why we should not retain the provision although the Minister says the wording can be interpreted as meaning something contrary to what was intended.I submit that the proposed amendment would restrict the

Tight to citizenship of a person born out of wedlock.

Senator DameANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland - Minister for Housing) [10.21] - I do not know of any hardship that has been caused by the existing provision, but I ask the honourable senator to look at present section 11 again. It says that a person born outside Australia after the commencement of the Act shall be an Australian citizen by descent if, at the time of birth, in the case of a person born out of wedlock, his mother was an Australian citizen. The proposed new provision states that a person born in wedlock is an Australian citizen by descent if at the time of the birth his father or mother was an Australian citizen. All we are seeking to do is to extend the provision to a wider area in the case of persons born in wedlock.

Senator Cavanagh - I say you are restricting it.

Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN - Under the provision a person born out of wedlock is an Australian citizen if the mother was an Australian citizen. I think everyone will admit that in the case of a person born out of wedlock it is not always possible or practicable for the mother to say who is the father. I think the proposed provision covers such an occasion should it arise.

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