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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 4280

Mr GARRICK (BATMAN, VICTORIA) - I ask the Minister for Immigration: Are reports true that island girls are being brought into Australia as cheap domestic labour? If so, what action is being contemplated to end this situation or to ensure that those who are brought in receive award wages and conditions?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - It is true that two reports about the illegal introduction of domestic servants have been widely disseminated. The first referred to .the importation of island girls for sweated labour - I think that is what it amounted to - and the other referred to reports that people who had come here and had been encouraged to come here as visitors were then being improperly employed in domestic service. I have already ordered an immediate investigation into both reports. No evidence has been placed before me at the present time, but it would seem timely for this warning to be issued: If any silvertail is tempted to accommodate and pay someone who is an illegal entrant there is a penalty that could apply - perhaps $400 or 6 months in gaol. So I would hope that the temptation of some form of domestic blackbirding would be resisted in face of the risk to those succumbing to it of becoming .guests of the state for a period and undertaking some unpaid employment.

I want to make the point that illegal entrants involved in this kind of activity would be doing a grave disservice to themselves, because if they did not abide by the conditions of their visa entry they would be deported and they would not be considered for entry into this country for 5 years. So I would appeal to anyone who is tempted in this way to resist the temptation in the interest not only of himself but also of the entrants involved.

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