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Tuesday, 21 August 1973
Page: 14

Mr MULDER (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Minister for Immigration give special consideration to the people who came to Australia on tourist visas under the policies of the previous Government because they were not eligible to apply for immigration? Is the Minister aware that all these people would be eligible to settle in Australia permanently under the present criteria? Will the Minister consider their cases separately from those people who come as tourists under the new rules?

Mr GRASSBY - I realise the problem to which the honourable member has referred. It had been raised with me by honourable members on both sides of the Parliament. It is the problem of people who have come here as tourists in the past few years and, in defiance of their original visa arrangements, have taken employment, probably have a firm place in the society, have gained extension after extension and of course are here now. As Minister for Immigration I am faced with the fact that they have established themselves. They came as tourists and have freely confessed this. They came in this way because under the old policy in many cases they would not have been eligible for consideration as migrants. I have tried to look at their cases on an individual basis and take into account the previous policy and how they would be received under the present criteria. In the last few months a number of decisions has been made that have given permission for such people to stay in Australia. This has been in response to representations, I repeat, from honourable members on both sides of the Parliament. I have been happy to do that and will continue to do it in relation to those people who came under the previous criteria. But I want to stress to all members of the Parliament at this time that on 1 September there will come into operation in Australia, in relation to tourists, a completely new system which will enable people to come to this country with the minimum of red tape, with the rninimum of inquiry and with the maximum of help from the Australian Government. Of course, those people will be expected to honour the terms of their visa agreements and to leave on the completion of their visits. I make it quite plain that after 1 September we will expect those people who travel to Australia under the new procedures, which are the easiest that can be devised- and we will welcome all who take advantage of them- to honour their undertakings and to return at the end of the period specified. We will give consideration to the individual cases of persons who came here under the previous criteria as each case comes before us.

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