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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1142

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Firstly, can he clarify the lines of authority between the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration and the various State ministers for child welfare in the case of desired adoptions of Asian orphans? Secondly, if there appears to be a lack of uniformity between the States in relation to the entry of Asian orphans will the Minister for Immigration convene a meeting of State Immigration Ministers to reach uniformity?

Senator GREENWOOD - I have ascertained from the Minister for Immigration that the position is as follows: The power to authorise or to prevent entry into Australia is conferred by the Migration Act upon the Minister for Immigration or upon officers of his Department who are authorised by him. The Government decides upon the broad policies and the Minister for Immigration interprets and implements them. Child welfare and adoption are subjects of State legislation and are the responsibility of the State governments. Successive Commonweath Ministers for Immigration have taken the firm view that entry into Australia of Asian children whom Australian residents wish to adopt is not prohibited by an immigration policy but that it is clearly and essentially in the interests of the children that the adoption plans have the approval of the expert child welfare authorities in the States concerned. The view of all States is that they should have the ability to determine whether the adoption should be proceeded with. The differences between the administration of child welfare and adoption matters in different States are entirely matters for the States. It is obviously not appropriate that the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration should intervene in matters beyond his responsibility.

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