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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1677


Mr McLEAY (Boothby) - I shall be very brief in my remarks. The Opposition does not intend to oppose this Bill. The Opposition thinks it is a common-sense measure. I have a personal reason for wishing briefly to take part in the debate. In doing so I speak on behalf of many people in the community. In a way I suppose I am using the debate on this Bill as an opportunity to ask a question of the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby). As the Minister knows, there are not many opportunities to do so during question time. I would like the Minister to outline the attitude of the Government to the granting of entry into Australia to people who are or are not considered to be terrorists, freedom fighters or whatever other expression one likes to use. I wish to refer to a couple of reports which appeared in the 'Australian' yesterday, I think it is possible that they appeared also in other newspapers. On the front page of the Australian' of yesterday there was a report of the deportation under fairly mysterious circumstances of an Al Fatah terrorist, and on the second page there was an unconfirmed report of a so-called African leader seeking asylum in Australia. I ask the Minister: Who is the African leader? What are his politics? What are his reasons for seeking political asylum in Australia? In what way does the Government distinguish between what is in its view an obviously undesirable alien and what is a desirable one? The mere fact that a person happens to be - in the Government's view anyway - a freedom fighter does not necessarily mean that he is undesirable. That is a political judgment. I know the Government's attitude towards people coming from, for example, southern Africa. I repeat: Who is the person and what are the particular circumstances of his case? Will the Minister undertake, as he mentioned in the last part of his second reading speech, to ensure that this country will not be treated as a repository for undesirable aliens who come here under the pretence of seeking political asylum?







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