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Thursday, 12 October 1972
Page: 1552

Senator WILLESEE asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

(1)   Has every alien complied with the requirements of the Aliens Act 1947-1966 that he notify the Department of Immigration annually of his residential address and marital status.

(2)   If the answer to (1) is in the negative, what was the reason for the failure to locate aliens who contravened the requirements of the Act.

(3)   Will the Minister take action to ensure that the requirements of the Act are enforced.

Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   It is important to realise that all aliens entering Australia as settlers are registered under Aliens Act. The main process of basic registration takes place at time of visa issue overseas and is completed at point of entry. In that respect the Department has a comprehensive register of aliens.

To supplement this basic register, aliens over 16 years of age are required to notify some particulars to the Department in September of each year, notably their current address. The response to the annual notification varies. For example 72 per cent of registered aliens notified in 1967, 67 per cent in 1968 and59.9 per cent in 1969.

In 1971 the existing manual system which did not lend itself to follow-up action was replaced by a computer based system. Although some problems still remain to be overcome, this is proving reasonably satisfactory and addresses obtained at the 1971 notification and those that have been incorporated in the register as a result of subsequent information, covered some 80 per cent of registered aliens as at 30 June 1972.

(2)   Legal difficulties were encountered in prosecutions and additionally there remained practical difficulties in the matter of locating those failing to notify addresses. These matters are receiving continuing consideration.

(3)   When the results of the 1972 notification have been assessed an overall review of alien registration procedures will be undertaken with a view to introducing possible changes including if necessary the amendment of the Aliens Act 1947- 1966 to improve its effectiveness.

Meanwhile the large amount of information available from the Aliens Register remains most valuable to the Department.

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