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Wednesday, 26 November 1980
Page: 30

Senator KILGARIFF (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. Having in mind that the second Federal Government amnesty is to expire on 3 1 December this year, is the Minister in a position to advise how many illegal immigrants in Australia have applied as at this time to be given permanent status? What are the various total State and Territory figures? How many applicants to date have been refused permanent status under the Regularisation of Status Program? What number of immigrants illegally in Australia is it estimated have not yet come forward to be identified? Finally, is any special encouragement given to illegal immigrants to come forward and apply to become permanent citizens in Australia, say through using migrant organisations, et cetera, in the community as an initial means of communication?

Senator DURACK - Up until 21 November, 10,059 applications had been received under the Regularisation of Status Program. These cover an estimated 1 3,000 people. So far only one person has been rejected, and there were some special reasons for that. Research is being undertaken which should enable the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs to make a realistic estimate of the number of persons illegally in Australia. On the basis of information that the Department has, its current estimate is that between 30,000 and 40,000 persons are illegally in Australia. However, as I have said, that investigation is not yet complete.

Some 3,000 ethnic organisations have been informed about the Regularisation of Status Program and their co-operation sought. State and local government authorities, employers, trade unions, churches and other religious organisations, bank migrant information services, and migrant resource centres have also been approached. The program was the subject of the first nation-wide ethnic radio program ever undertaken in Australia. Member stations of the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters broadcast announcements about the program as a community service. Similar arrangements currently are being made with commercial television stations. Australian Broadcasting Commission radio and television programs have featured the program, and multicultural television is also providing publicity through its news items.

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