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Thursday, 23 August 1973
Page: 365

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon) - The Opposition will be supporting one part of what the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby) had to say, namely concerning the Bahamas. That is the only part that we support. We support quite warmly and recognise the sense of what he said about the Bahamas. But the rest of what the Minister said was rather strange. I suggest, firstly, that the Minister has broken a tradition of this chamber. It is normal for Ministers, when making a second reading speech or making a speech on reintroducing a Bill after changes have been made to it in the Senate, to provide the Opposition with a copy of what they are to say. To give the Minister due credit, he did give me a few pages which contained some of what he was to say, but what he gave me certainly was not the speech that he made in this Committee. I think it would have helped in the consideration of this matter if he had made available a copy of his speech, especially as the Opposition has done him the courtesy of going straight ahead with the matter and not insisting on the adjournment of the debate. It would not have hurt him to keep to the tradition of the chamber on this matter.

Mr Grassby - I accept that. I added1 pages to my speech after making a copy of it available to the honourable member, and he has my apology for that. Further information became available and I thought that the honourable member would like to have it.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - So 1 would have, but 1 might have been able to rebut it better if I had been given the normal notice. The Minister began his speech by quoting a gallup poll. We are not elected to this Parliament to pass laws by gallup poll; we are elected to this Parliament to exercise our judgment, to determine what we believe is best and to cast our votes accordingly. If the Minister wants to quote gallup polls to support a certain point of view or to support a legislative change, he may do so as much as he likes, but it is not a substantive argument and it is not a substantive reason if the judgment and the true reasons lie on the other side.

The 2 points of the Senate amendment that he wants to change are, firstly, the renunciation of all other allegiances and, secondly, the terminology used in referring to Her Majesty Elizabeth II. I shall speak to the first point first. The Minister spoke as though we were asking, and the previous Government had asked, new citizens of Australia to renounce not just allegiance to another government in another country but all past allegiance and relationship with their former culture and their former heritage. Of course that is just not true. Migrants bring with them to this country cultures and heritages that are centuries older than ours, and by so doing they add to the richness and wealth of the culture and the breadth of life in Australia. As a result they have made this country a much better place. The Minister does not do a service when he suggests that the renunciation in the oath or affirmation of allegiance in the terms in which he was speaking is designed really to cut them off from that part of their heritage and their culture. Most certainly it is not designed for that purpose. The renunciation of all other allegiances is designed to add to the solemnity of the citizenship ceremony. It is designed to add to the importance of the occasion. It is an important occasion.

If we have to make it so easy for migrants to become citizens of Australia and play their full part in the development of Australia and the constitutional processes of this country that, although not taking down all barriers, we have to belittle the ceremony, and make it of no importance at all, as though it is just like passing out through one's front gate in the morning as one goes to work, we are belittling the importance of being an Australian. That is not something that the Opposition would want to do. We appreciate that new citizens want to maintain old links and associations, their culture, heritage and social relationships, and we support them in that. We understand that they have contributed much and will contribute much more to the future development of Australia if the immigration program is not continually diminished in size as it appears the Government would want to do. Indeed, we cannot develop Australia without help from our new citizens. We need more people. That is a firm view of the Opposition.

There is a further problem which the Minister, in the undoubted view that many have of his capability, would believe that he would be capable of solving. He might be well placed to be able to solve it. I refer to the problems of dual nationality which have arisen in relation to Yugoslavia and Greece in particular. The Opposition might be prepared to look at this matter again if the Minister can come back to us and state that he has solved the problems of dual nationality, especially with Yugoslavia, a particular friend of this Government. However, I doubt very much that even he can be successful in that. The Minister suggested also that the terminology that he wants to use in referring to the Queen is more in line with the Bill that the House has just passed concerning the royal style and titles than the words that the Senate used in taking an amendment to the original Bill. The words that are in the amendment that has come down from the Senate refer to Her Majesty in these terms: bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors, according to law.

The Minister wants to replace that with these words: bear true allegiance to the Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors, according to law.

That is minimising the reference to Her Majesty the Queen; it is not naming the Queen in the appropriate fashion or in the terminology used in the Bill which this House has just passed. The arguments used by the Minister are just not correct. The terminology of the Senate amendment is much more akin to the terminology of the Royal Style and

Titles Bill than the terminology that he wants to use. I remind honourable senators that the Royal Style and Titles Bill uses these terms:

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia.

It refers to the Queen by name. The Opposition wants that to be done in this Bill and in these amendments. Therefore, on these counts, we will be opposing both matters that the Minister wants to remove in his amendments. I believe that the Senate will reaffirm its position when the matter is returned to that House.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - I call the honourable member for Darling Downs.

Mr Innes - Mr Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN - I am sorry, but I have called the honourable member for Darling Downs.

Mr Innes - But I wish to speak.

The CHAIRMAN - Nobody on my right had risen and I called the honourable member for Darling Downs. The honourable member for Darling Downs now has the call.

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