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Wednesday, 16 November 1983
Page: 2798

Mr SPENDER(4.15) —This Bill has admitted deficiencies and the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr West) has really recognised that it has deficiencies. The Minister has said that section 81 of the Crimes Act was drawn to the Senate's attention. As we know, that section of the Crimes Act deals with harbouring spies. Why was that section not drawn to the Minister's attention when the Bill was being drafted? It has, after all, been redrafted twice. The first draft came in in May and the second draft came in in August. One would have thought that the minds which were directing the Minister or which were advising the Minister, which may amount to the same thing, would have drawn his attention to matters of like kind to treason, treachery and inciting mutiny. As I said last time, it is a while since Captain Bligh was around here, but the Minister at least was aware of the situation. We have therefore an admitted deficiency.

The Minister has said that because of technical reasons it is not possible to amend the Bill here. Let us accept that. In that event, why do we not have a very brief third Bill which could deal with the kinds of problems that have been raised? It is absurd in a Bill such as this not only to include treason, treachery and inciting to mutiny but also to exclude the harbouring of spies. Surely this could be dealt with by an amending Bill which could be introduced quickly.

Mr West —You have been all over it before. I have told you that that will be done.

Mr SPENDER —The Minister says it is going to be done. But in the meantime a Bill is coming through the House which one might say is the union corse Bill.

Mr West —Why don't you address some of the other major problems? You are not worried about them.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN —Order! The Minister will not talk across the table.

Mr SPENDER —He is a chatty little fellow and at times cannot help himself. This Bill will be welcomed by the crime syndicates of Australia because it means that so long as someone is undetected for 10 years he has an open go. The Minister has said in justification today that after 10 years, as I understand him, one is a constituent member of our society. What about those persons whose only desire is to profit from crime against Australians? Are they constituent members of our society after 10, 15 or 20 years if they do not take out citizenship, an option which is open to them or which, for good reasons, is not open to them? It is inconceivable, for example, that the Minister can justify this kind of legislation on the basis that he put to this House last time. I was reading what he had to say in Committee on the previous occasion. Part of what he said just astonishes one that it is put forward as any form of argument. He said:

If we cannot make up our minds whether anybody is a threat on security grounds after 10 years the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation must be a lot more incompetent than even I thought it was.

Does he really imagine that those who are a threat to our society advertise in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age? Does he believe that they insert classified advertisements to say: 'I am a threat to society but ASIO is not onto me yet. Would you please make sure that ASIO gets onto me so the Minister will be adequately supported in his view that ASIO is somehow all- knowing, all-seeing and all-perceiving and will get onto anyone who constitutes a threat to our society'?

Mr Hand —Get rid of ASIO.

Mr SPENDER —We know what the Left would do. It would get rid of ASIO and all the security organisations of this country and not worry too much about security or spy organisations of other countries like the KGB, which is always present in this country and always a threat to it. No one in this House suggests that the Bill cannot be improved. The Minister does not, so surely the sensible thing would be to attack these kinds of problems now. Do we not really believe that there should be a right to expel people who do not want to be a part of our society, people whose sole desire is to profit from crime, people who do not become citizens and thereby attract the obligations of citizenship? If the Minister says that that right may be exercised arbitrarily, that is quite a different matter. We are looking not at the question whether the power to expel should exist but at how that power should be exercised. There is no reason why the Minister cannot address that question and set up procedures that he believes will protect people who find themselves at the receiving end of a deportation order if, after some months in his portfolio, he is dissatisfied with the existing procedures in his department. If he is not satisfied, as apparently he is not, why have we not heard from him? Why is it that we do not have from him a proposal to change those procedures? It is no answer to put up straw men and ask : 'Have not these people some rights after 10 years?' After 10 years of no detection, why should they have rights? What sort of society do we want? What sort of country do we want? It is inadequate nonsense to say that this is a multicultural society and to believe that that answers all the questions. Of course it is a multicultural society, but that does not answer the questions. We do not want in our society people whose aim it is to destroy that society or to use it for purposes of organised crime. All of the good people who have come to this country since the end of the last world war and whose efforts have built it into the kind of country that it is, would be revolted at the suggestion that others who have come here for the wrong purposes should be allowed to stay despite their actions, despite their lack of allegiance, despite the fact that they have no interest in the country at all and that their only desire is to destroy, to profit from crime. I do not suggest that there would be great numbers of such people. There may not be, but we all know that they exist and will continue to exist. We cannot avoid that fact by simply saying: 'After 10 years it is fair enough'.

Reference has been made to the rights of other countries. That is what the Minister appears to have in mind and that was what was said in another place, but whose rights are we concerned about? I do not care if an undesirable who is profiting from organised crime is sent back to his country of birth after 15 or 20 years in Australia and then becomes a problem for that country. I am sorry; I would not want him to be a problem for that country but I would a damn sight rather that he were a problem for the country in which he was born than for this country.

Mr West —The country which created him. Suppose he had been here from an early age?

Mr SPENDER —The Minister says: 'The country which created him'. The Minister provides the most heart-rending of examples. He would say: 'It is heart-rending; you could not possibly do it'. The answer lies in the fact that an order has to be made and such considerations can be taken into account when that order is made. To sum up, let us have the power because that is essential to protect our society, the kind of society that we would like to see prevail.

Mr West —You want discretion so you can play favours, as you did in the past.

Mr SPENDER —Under no circumstances. I would not play favours; the Minister might . If the Minister is concerned about the way in which the power is exercised, let him put in place the appropriate procedures. He has the power to do it. He can put the safeguards there and they can operate to secure the rights of those whose rights should be secured.

Mr West —Ministerial discretion is a plaything for Liberal Ministers.

Mr SPENDER —There would be no talk about ministerial discretion because the safeguards would be there.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.