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Tuesday, 23 February 1971

Senator MULVIHILL asked the Minis ter for Immigration, upon notice:

Does the Minister see a parallel between the complaint to the European Commission on Human Rights concerning 25 Asians inEast Africa who possess British passports but were denied entry into the United Kingdom and the denial of entry rights to mainland Australia of indigenous citizens of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN - The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

No. Persons born in Papua became Australian citizens under the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 which represented Australia's part in a scheme of nationality law agreed upon between the Commonwealth countries. Previously the only nationality held by the peoples of the Commonwealth countries was that of 'British subject'. It was agreed that each country would define what British subjects were its citizens and it was essential that each country should include those British subjects who were more closely associated with it than with any other country. Papua had been British territory for 60 years and persons born there had become British subjects.It had been an Australian territory since 1905. For these reasons Papuans became Australian citizens on the commencement of the citizenship legislation on 26th January 1949.

Persons born in New Guinea are not Australian citizens.

The suggestion that the people of Papua and New Guinea should have right of entry to Australia runs counter to the Government's objective of preparing the Territory for independence.

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