Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 20 Mar 1935

Vol. 19 No. 18

Public Business. - Aliens Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I do not know whether it is necessary to enter into any detailed explanation of this Bill or to give any special reasons for its introduction. As I pointed out, when addressing the Seanad on the Nationality Bill, this Bill and the other Bill which is down for Second Reading, Constitution (Amendment No. 26) Bill, 1934, are intended to form a complete code. It is obvious that having changed the basis of citizenship, or rather having changed the basis upon which Aliens Orders have been based—British Acts —we need in defining an alien as a non-citizen to have a Bill like this to work out the scheme in its entirety and to prevent various anomalies that would otherwise arise. The long title indicates generally its scope. It is to provide for the control of aliens and for other matters relating to aliens. The main point of the Bill is the definition that an alien is a non-citizen. Then we have the rights that are confered upon aliens, the principal ones being generally in regard to the ownership of property. There are certain qualifications. There are exceptions mentioned in Section 3 which might be adverted to more closely in Committee. Any Senator who has read the Bill will easily recognise their import and significance. Section 5 gives to the Minister for Justice power to provide by order for the control of aliens, the control to be exercised with regard to the admission of aliens, or the exclusion of aliens, and the limitation of places where they might reside. The second part of the section gives the Minister power to provide for the effective enforcement of the Order, and gives to the officers the Minister may call in, the officers of Customs and Excise and the military, power to act. There are certain classes of persons excluded from the application of these orders. These are diplomats, the personnel of diplomatic missions and relatives, and the spouse and children in the case of a consul-general and his immediate family. There is power also to the Minister to revoke any orders that have been made. All such orders are to be laid before both Houses. In Section 6, we have penalties for contravention of the Orders. Contravention is an offence and the penalties attaching may be six months' imprisonment or a fine of £100, while the persons in question may have to enter into recognisance before the court. Section 7 gives power to procure search warrants. An officer, not below the rank of chief superintendent of the Gárda, can apply to a magistrate for a search warrant, and any person not below the rank of inspector of the Gárda can enter premises and search. There are also powers of arrest and detention when a search is being made.

Section 8 deals with restrictions in the changing of names. A person may not change a name from the name he had before a certain appointed time. An "appointed day" will be made by order and fixed not later than three months after the date of the making of the order. Names cannot then be changed from the names persons had either at their majority or on the 6th December, 1922. Similar provisions affect the changing of business names. Licences may be granted at the discretion of the Minister for such changes when he is satisfied that there are good and satisfactory reasons for granting them. The list of licences so granted will be published in Iris Oifigiúil with such particulars as will-make it possible to identify the persons in question. Section 10 is analogous to Section 23 of the Nationality Bill, and enables the Executive Council, by order, to exempt citizens of other countries, when they are satisfied in all the circumstances, that such exemptions might be granted, having particular regard to the laws in these countries with regard to immigration, and the effect these laws might have on our citizens who might possibly wish to go to them. In connection with the orders which the Minister is empowered to make, there is by Section 5 (c) power to make provision for the exclusion or deportation of aliens. There would be a general aliens order empowering the Minister to make an order by which an alien could be excluded. That would have to be laid on the Tables of both Houses. The other parts of the Bill deal with regulations with regard to fees and do not call for any particular explanation. The Bill is more or less explanatory with the Nationality Bill. It will be realised that most modern States reserve certain rights to their citizens and reserve rights for the control of citizens. It will be seen that there is nothing extraordinary in the Bill. In the main, it is exactly what would be expected. There was a certain amount of criticism in the Dáil with regard to the powers of detention and arrest. As Senators may wish to discuss that at a later stage, I do not think it is necessary to anticipate criticism on that head. If it arises I can deal with it later. That was the main basis of the criticism in the Dáil, that the Bill gave rather extensive powers to the Minister, and also, perhaps, in one connection criticism on the basis of the Minister being a judge of certain things, doing them by executive or administrative action, which might possibly be brought before the courts. But the experience of the Department of Justice convinces us that it is desirable that these powers should reside in the Ministry, and that there is no reason to anticipate any abuse of the powers that are granted.

I would be glad if the President would explain what seems to me to be the rather curious phrasing of Section 8, which says:—

Save if and so far as may be authorised by a licence issued under this Act, it shall not be lawful for any alien who is for the time being over the age of twenty-one years...

My experience of people is that once you are over 21 there is no question of being there for the time. It was a permanent stage, but possibly this phrase is intended for the benefit of ladies who might be affected by the section. Perhaps the President will be able to throw some light on that. At any rate, it seems to me to be either ridiculous phrasing or a mis-statement of the intentions of the draftsman, and I think it ought to be cleared up. I also wish to refer to Section 10 which gives power to exempt citizens of certain countries from the application of the provisions of this Act. Sub-section (1) of the section reads:—

The Executive Council may by order exempt from the application of any provision or provisions of this Act, or of any aliens order, the citizens of any country in respect of which the Executive Council are satisfied that, having regard to all the circumstances and in particular the laws of such country in relation to immigrants, it is proper that the exemption mentioned in such order should be granted.

Taking the word "citizens" in the section, it is important to bear in mind that there is no definition in this Bill of a citizen. There is such a definition in the Citizenship Bill. It says:—

The word "citizen" when used in relation to Saorstát Eireann includes (save where precluded by the context) a person who is a citizen of Saorstát Eireann by virtue of Article 3 of the Constitution and when used in relation to a country other than Saorstát Eireann includes a subject or national of such country, and the word "citizenship" shall be construed accordingly.

I suggest that the obvious reason for embodying the word "national" or "subject" was to bring within the scope of that Bill the people of Great Britain. There is no such thing as a British citizen or a British national There is British subject. I want to relate that fact to Section 10. There is no definition of citizen in this Bill, and I submit that the Bill as it stands does not give the Executive Council power to make any order relating to the people of Great Britain who are neither British citizens nor nationals but British subjects. If it is the intention to make the section applicable to the people of Great Britain, then my own impression is that the section should be amended so as to make effective what is the obvious intention, and to include a definition of "citizen" as in the Citizenship Bill.

The President referred to certain people who, under sub-section (4) of Section 5, are immune from the application of an aliens order. I am surprised that there is no provision for giving such immunity to trade commissioners and people of that character, although the matter was referred to in the Dáil on several occasions. The President, speaking on the matter in the Dáil, said:—

"Possibly there could be exceptions under Section 9. As the position is not definitely fixed, we do not want to have anything in the permanent part of the Bill. Possibly exception may require to be given under Section 9. I am not quite sure that it could, but it is possible."

I have not seen the report of the debates that took place in the Dáil on the Report Stage of the Bill, but judging by the Bill itself, as amended on Report, no such amendment as I refer to was made to the Bill. There is no provision in Section 10 to give immunity to such people. Perhaps the matter could be more satisfactorily rectified by the addition of a paragraph to sub-section (4) of Section 5, which deals with the heads of diplomatic missions and so forth.

I think that in the Dáil reference was made to the British and to the Canadian Trade Commissioners, but they are not the only Trade Commissioners in the Saorstát. I think there is some one from France holding a corresponding position here. Whether Section 10 would allow for such immunity to be afforded to the representatives of countries outside the Commonwealth is, I think, a rather moot point. I take it that the basis upon which Section 10 rests is that the privileges accorded to our citizens in other countries will merit the application of certain reciprocal privileges here. While that would hold good with regard to Commonwealth countries, it is extremely doubtful if, by any stretch of the imagination, it could be applied to countries outside the Commonwealth. Therefore, I think it would be more satisfactory to have this immunity for the Trade Commissioners of foreign countries provided for under Section 5 rather than under Section 10.

These are the sections to which I desire to direct my main criticism. I do not intend to speak at any length on the general principles of the Bill. I would like to know the effect of the procedure which aliens must adopt when entering the Free State. In the Dáil Deputy Costello referred to certain aspects of this which I think merit consideration. So far as I could find, there was no conclusive reply made to his arguments. He said:

"Whether the Government intends it or not, the position will be that after the passing of this Bill persons coming down from Newry to Dundalk will have to register with the registration officer under the Aliens Order of 1925, or else subject themselves to prosecution and subsequent imprisonment. That is the sort of thing this Bill is doing at the present moment. Anybody who comes in from Newry or elsewhere over the Border will have to register himself. That is one of the provisions of the Aliens Order, 1925. Similarly, anybody coming in from England will have, straight away, to go to the registration officer and register himself. In addition to that he will have to inform the police authority of every change of address."

I am not sufficiently conversant with the details of procedure to know if that is an accurate description of what might be entailed, but I do find it difficult to see how this Bill is to be operated without some form of passport, identification voucher or identity disc. The Minister has power to restrain the incoming of aliens, and he has power to exempt others from the operation of this provision. How are the people responsible for the control of our ports to be able to distinguish between one class and the other unless there is some identification symbol which a person travelling can produce? Though I read carefully what the President said in the Dáil, I failed to find any light thrown upon that point. I do not say that, in the assertion of our separate national status, passports should not be resorted to. There are very few foreign countries in which visitors have not to produce some credentials, but I wonder what will be the reaction of such a system on the North. I cannot see that the inauguration of such a system would be exactly helpful towards establishing more cordial relations between North and South. I do not draw attention to this matter for the purpose of deprecating the action of the Government in trying to assert certain things which are inherent in our position as a separate people. I raise the matter so that the President, when replying, may indicate that the difficulties of which I am apprehensive are not likely to arise, that the operation of this measure is not going to tend in the direction of creating a further embarrassment or obstacle between the North and the South.

I was rather glad to observe by the President's Second Reading speech in the Dáil that he is beginning to appreciate that what is called common status does denote something of value and is not merely a trick by which to seduce the militant spirit of the Gael. The President said:

"There was common recognition that there were certain rights and privileges which were accepted and bestowed in various States of what is called the British Commonwealth. ... What it (common status) did convey we are providing for by reciprocal action."

I am glad to see an advance towards appreciation of the fact that there is something within the Commonwealth in the way of common status which is not derogatory to our national status. If the President wished to imply that whatever that is arises from reciprocity of action between the individual members of the Commonwealth, then I think he is fundamentally and entirely wrong. That which operates under the term "common status" arises from the very fact of association within the Commonwealth and is not the result of action taken by the different members. As a matter of fact, its existence might be said to have preceded the recognition of separate State entities within the Commonwealth. In the absence of the President at the moment, I do not think that there is much use in pursuing my argument. There is an old saying, that the more things are changed the more they remain the same. When all is said and done, this Bill, so far as I can judge, leaves the position precisely as it was but it enables the President of the Executive Council to say to some of his more clamorous supporters: "You can see that I branded John Bull as an alien," while in another section he says to John Bull: "I am undoing the effect of that branding and the position is practically as it was." I do not think that the Bill will call for resistance from this side of the House and I think that there is no great room for amendment save in respect of one or two points to which I have drawn attention. I dislike the atmosphere in which the Bill has been evolved and the whole spirit in which it has been brought forward. However, any good it does will live after it, and any evil that may be associated with it will be interred with the bones of those responsible when the time comes for them to shuffle off this mortal coil. It was, I think, Walter Savage Landor who said that everything is real but realities. That is the case with the Government. Everything is real to them except the realities of life which they have to face. They refuse to regard the realities of life as real unless they can be tortured into some new form, taken to pieces and moulded more near to their hearts' desire.

I desire to say a few words with regard to Section 5. That section is an illustration of the way in which legislation for emergencies tends to find a permanent place on the Statute Book. I have not had an opportunity of comparing the provisions of this section with the provisions of the Aliens Restriction Act of 1914 or the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act of 1890. However, I think that most of the provisions of Section 5 were the outcome of circumstances arising out of the war. The Ministry appear to aim at making these conditions, which were war conditions, applicable, at the discretion of the Minister, to ordinary times. I take objection to that procedure. I can quite understand that there may arise the necessity for having power to restrict entry into and out of the country and to restrict movements within the country of all aliens, or aliens of a particular nationality, or a particular class, or particular persons. I can understand the need for having such provisions in certain circumstances, but I object to giving these powers into the hands of a Minister who may act on his own initiative. These are very extensive powers indeed, especially having regard to the definition of an alien as a person who is not a citizen of Saorstát Eireann. Under Section 5 the Minister may, by order, declare that John Smith may not come into the country or, if he comes into the country, that he must live in a certain place or, if he is in a certain place, that he must not leave that place, or that he may not leave the country or that he do all sorts of things. It may be that that order will apply to persons of a particular nationality who are outside the country or to a particular class. It strikes me that these are powers that ought not to be exercisable without the specific authorisation of the Oireachtas. Therefore, I urge the President to look over this section again and see whether it is not practicable and possible—it is certainly desirable—that such an order should not become operative until it has the specific sanction of each House of the Oireachtas.

Sub-section (7) provides, in the usual way, that the Order shall be laid upon the Table. It will then be within the discretion of either House to nullify the Order but, in the meantime, the Order will have had effect and, if there is any danger in giving the powers to the Minister, the damage will have been done. It seems to me that a great many of these powers ought not to be exercisable by the Minister except in times of war or some very grave threat to the country. Consequently, I think, that the provisions of this section—except one or two as to which there may be need for prompt action without the possibility of having the Oireachtas called into Session—should not be exercisable by the Minister and that the Order should not become operative without the sanction of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

The powers that are given are very extensive indeed, and leave the Minister for the time being in complete authority for perhaps several months. If the Oireachtas is not sitting, for instance, it is always within the option of the Executive to call the House into session or to refrain from doing so. Therefore, the power lies with the Minister to do these very drastic things without the authority of the Oireachtas. Senators should bear in mind that in Section 6 —the section dealing with the powers of enforcing the Order—the Minister is going to take power to enforce this Order by very drastic measures indeed. That seems to me to be going much beyond the necessities of the case and there ought not to be a general power of this kind conferred upon the Minister. I would urge upon the House the desirability of having sub-section (7) altered in such a way as to make it obligatory to bring an Order, of the general kind that is proposed to be issued, before the House and get the sanction of the House before it becomes operative.

I should like to follow the line of Senator Johnson's arguments, particularly in regard to Section 5. That section savours of an atmosphere of alarm and panic. It is really the type of section that one would expect to be drafted if there were a war on and we had hostile aliens on both our land and sea frontiers. The powers here given to a single Minister of the Executive Council are of a particularly drastic character which should only be exercisable by him in a state of emergency. The fact that anybody who is not a citizen of Saorstát Eireann will be defined as an alien makes these powers particularly drastic if they are not used with the greatest possible discretion. I think it was Senator Milroy who pointed out that, no matter what treaties or arrangements we have with neighbouring States regarding citizen and alien rights and so on, there will have to be some method of identification to ascertain whether these people do come under the special arrangements or not. One can imagine that, in order to facilitate that, the Minister will have to define certain places of entry. Just fancy what that will mean in regard to the situation of our country at the present time! The railways that cross the Border cross it at in or about 20 points, and aliens may be entering by any one of these 20 points. Some method of identification will have to be adopted. I take it that it will be within the power of the Minister to limit the places of entry to, say, two or three points in order to facilitate the operations of the Act. Then, we have numerous seaports at which entry may be effected, and one can easily conceive influences being brought to bear on the Minister for Justice, seeking to get him to restrict entry and exit of aliens to certain ports in the interests of these ports, because there is really no limit to the extent to which commercial influences will be brought to bear upon any Government here, no matter what are the consequences to the people affected. I really think that certain portions at least of this section should be limited to a state of emergency, which it would be within the power of the Executive Council to declare, rather than having them part of the ordinary Statute law of the land.

Section 10 is a very important section and I should like if the President could say whether sub-section (2) of that section operates in regard to both sub-sections (1) and (3). Sub-section (1) enables the Executive Council" to exempt from the application of any provision or provisions of this Act, or of any aliens order, the citizens of any country in respect of which the Executive Council are satisfied that, having regard to all the circumstances and in particular the laws of such country in relation to immigrants, it is proper that the exemption should be granted." That is a very important provision, and one which is likely to affect many hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of our people elsewhere. Sub-section (2) causes an order making such an arrangement to be placed on the Tables of both Houses and gives either House the power to annul such order. Sub-section (3), however, enables the Executive Council to cancel that arrangement by a subsequent order. It is not clear to me whether that order cancelling the original order must also be laid on the Table of the House. I contend that it should be, because an order cancelling an arrangement already made is certainly of equal importance with the original order and may have very serious consequences for our citizens elsewhere and for citizens of this State who may find it necessary to travel to and from the State or States affected. If sub-section (2) is to apply to any order made under sub-section (3), I think it should be numbered 3 instead of 2 in order to remove any doubt in regard to it. If it is not intended to apply, I think that is serious, because, as I said already, the cancellation of an order is just as important as the making of the original order. I hope that that will be made clear on the Committee Stage because I think that both are of equal importance.

Generally speaking, the Bill is only such as is in operation, I think, in every State maintaining its own affairs. We, however, have particular difficulties to contend with owing to the fact that we have a sort of unnatural boundary cutting right across the country and making it more difficult to operate a Bill of this kind than it would be in the ordinary course, because of the transport and trade connections as well as the traditional and historic connections which will take many years, if not, in fact, many generations to obliterate. In that respect, the operation of a Bill of this kind, together with a Nationality Bill, will require all the tact and statesmanship that Ministers can bring to bear on it.

I see quite clearly that much of this Bill must be worked by the Executive authority, and, particularly in the circumstances that exist here, when it is almost impossible to control the irregular ingress of aliens, it is desirable that the Executive authority should have powers of deportation, and very considerable powers for dealing with that matter. In general, I should not be inclined to object to giving the Minister powers of deportation, but when we give powers under this to aliens to acquire property, it seems to me to be undesirable, when an alien has been settled here for some time and has properly entered the country and acquired property, or even has been engaged in an employment here, that by a mere Executive act he should be forcibly deported and his property left there, his way of living taken away from him, and perhaps his dependants, who might be of Saorstát nationality, left destitute. I think that some consideration ought to be given to the question of whether it should not be necessary for an alien who has been settled for some time in the country, who has entered the country properly, and who has been of good behaviour, for him to be convicted of an offence, or at least that he should have the opportunity of defending himself before a court, before there would be power to deport him. I take it, as regards the questions that have been raised about Northern Ireland, that the intention of the Executive Council is to make an Order under Section 10 exempting citizens of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and presumably other Commonwealth countries, from the application of the provisions of this Bill. I think that, in a sense, is fundamental to this Bill. It would certainly involve very wide changes and a great departure from general policy if it were not so. Accordingly, I would agree with Senator O'Farrell in holding that a revoking order under Section 10 should be subject to the same provisions as the actual original order.

Except for the points made by Senator Johnson, I think that the matters that were raised would be more properly matters to go into in detail on the Committee Stage. Among the points raised, I noted that, first of all, there was the question of age at the time being—21. Well, I suppose that you have to specify some time of which you are talking, and I take it that that is what is meant. However, if there is any point in it we shall have it looked up. The absence of a definition of citizenship was commented upon, and the definition which appeared in the Nationality Bill was adverted to. I take it that the word "citizen" here, as it occurs, has a wide general connotation and would include a British subject. I am not a lawyer, but I think the term, as it is used here, is clearly used to define a national of any State, whether that national would be called a citizen or a subject. I think, too, that in the Bill as it appears, these additional names, such as citizen, national, or subject, were not intended to be by way of separate categories but are just alternative names for the same thing as they would be in ordinary cases.

Senator Milroy also drew attention to a point that was raised in the Dáil that there does not seem to be specifically any provision made here for High Commissioners or Trade Commissioners. I think that the answer I gave in the Dáil covers that point and that, under Section 10, as it now is, any High Commissioners we would be likely to have would be High Commissioners from States of the British Commonwealth, and as our citizens do get certain rights in these States, the exemption which the Executive Council can make by Order undoubtedly would be granted in that case. In that connection there is a point as to whether the word "citizen" was meant deliberately to exclude "subject." Of course, that is not the case, and I do not think that any lawyer would hold that it does exclude a subject. The next point is the question of the difficulties that might arise in connection with the Northern boundary. First of all, the Senator seems to forget the terms of the Nationality Bill which, at least for the present, mean that most of the people who are there will be included in the category of citizens. Secondly, in the making of any Orders dealing with it, special provisions will be made. For example, I can imagine that if people were coming in here for a day or two days there might be certain difficulties and it would be necessary to give instructions to the drivers of cars and so on. It may be difficult to enforce any Orders that may be given in that connection as to the period of time in which a person may stay here, but I imagine that every possible care will be taken to make the inconvenience as slight as possible. I should like to point out, however, that the question of passports is quite independent of this matter. We could have passports without this Bill and we can have passports with it. It does not affect the question of passports. That is a question of general policy and it will be dealt with quite independently of this Bill.

Senator Johnson had objections to the Bill on the general ground that it was following the very bad practice by which the extraordinary restrictions of war time are continued on into peace time. He seemed to suggest that they were so continued unnecessarily. As a matter of fact that continuance has existed up to the moment and this Bill is doing very little more than putting into permanent form, if you wish to have it that way, the restrictions which operated up to the moment. We have to ask ourselves: are they unreasonable or unnecessary? I should like to approach measures of this sort in the same spirit as Senator Johnson but looking through it, I think the Bill is reasonably necessary, from the point of view of the possibilities of war, and in view of the dangers that might exist from the presence of aliens who were not known in the country. I think the powers that are here conferred for registration and for keeping stock of people in the country who are non-nationals, are altogether necessary. It is possible, I grant you, that if we did not have experience of the war and the legislation which arose out of that experience, we might not be tempted at this particular stage to introduce a Bill embodying these restrictions. But experience has shown that such restrictions are necessary and as they do not appear to have borne too heavily on anybody during the past, the ordinary discretion of the Minister can be relied on. Of course, I know that that is a principle that one may not be able to maintain in all cases. There is a likelihood that people who are made responsible for executive action may not act precisely in the way Parliament would desire. Therefore Parliament is naturally jealous to restrict these powers.

I think, however, these powers have, in fact, been in operation and that experience over a number of years has been sufficient to satisfy us that no unfair use is likely to be made of it. I shall look into the matter but at the moment I cannot see how we could very well avoid giving the Minister the powers we have given him here, unless we wanted to have a special war-time code as well. Sometimes, war comes on very suddenly and Parliament and the Executive have quite a number of things to deal with at that particular moment without being asked to deal with things that can be dealt with in advance. It seems to me that if the Bill is examined in detail in regard to the powers that are given to the Minister, you will not see much that can be objected to. The Senator suggested that these Orders before becoming effective should be brought to Parliament for express ratification, that is, that before they can become effective they should get the sanction and approval of both Houses. There again there is the question of principle and practice. In fact, we know that such Orders are laid on the Table of the House and, if the Orders are objectionable, the members of either House can immediately raise an objection.

If the House is sitting.

I admit that that is during the period during which the House is sitting. The House may not be sitting and it is suggested by the Senator that it might be deliberately kept from sitting. If a situation like that arose, I do not think that these particular Orders would be the Orders that would be worrying us most. I know that it was suggested in the Dáil that under the powers of arrest, detention and search, all citizens, as well as foreigners, might be affected. Again, I think, they would have relief in court if it could not be shown that the detention or arrest was reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the Order and in accordance with the warrant for search given by the magistrate.

I made a mistake in the section to which I referred. I wished to refer to the powers conferred upon the Minister in paragraph (b), sub-section (2) of Section 5. These seem to me to be very terrible powers to hand over to any Minister.

The paragraph says that the order may confer "on the Minister and on officers of the Minister, officers of Customs and Excise and the military and police forces of the State, all such powers (including powers of arrest and detention) as are, in the opinion of the Minister, necessary for giving full effect to or enforcing compliance with such order." The power of arrest, as the Senator is aware, is very common. I think it was remarked in the Dáil that even a park constable has the power of arrest. That does not mean that these powers cannot be exercised with impunity.

He may by order confer "all such powers as are necessary," including powers of arrest.

When he is making this order seeking such powers they will have to be specified fully in the order. Our legislation is really in two parts. The first empowers the orders to be made. Parliament has still control except in the remote contingency suggested by the Senator that Parliament would not be allowed to sit. Parliament has still control if the Minister seeks to confer powers on himself under an aliens order which Parliament thinks he should not get. The first order, I take it, will be a fairly comprehensive one and will be scrutinised very carefully. We may then have a good deal of discussion as to whether the powers which the Minister seeks to confer on himself are necessary or not. I think it is at that stage that there may be a conflict of opinion. I think the Minister, at any rate, will only seek to confer upon himself such powers as are really necessary for the enforcement of the order. It is clear that when certain orders are made you cannot allow them to be contravened with impunity. I think these were the only matters referred to by Senator Johnson. On the whole, I can quite understand his objection to giving the Minister more powers than are necessary for the proper execution of the law.

There was a remark made by Senator O'Farrell with regard to the power of revocation: whether sub-section (3) of Section 10 was governed by sub-section (2). I asked myself whether that was so from the same point of view as that expressed by Senator O'Farrell when I saw the section drafted. I have been informed that the wording of sub-section (2) is perfectly general—"every order made by the Executive Council under this section." That is the section includes every order. There might be some difficulty about revocation, but there would be another objection possibly if you had sub-section (3) with the same wording as sub-section (2).

Senator Blythe made reference to the position of aliens who might be here for a considerable period and regarding whom it might be said that it was an undue hardship to interfere with them. While it might be desirable to have special provision for dealing with cases of that kind, it might be dangerous also. I am afraid that all you can do there again is to depend on the discretion of the Minister. If the point had occurred to me, I would have examined it before. We can have it examined, perhaps, in the interval between now and Committee Stage to ascertain whether it would be possible or advisable to insert some restricting phrase so as to indicate that the special claims of those who had been here for a considerable period would be adverted to by the Minister in matters of this sort. I take it that, without its being stated at all in the Act, the Minister in carrying out his duties would naturally advert to any cases of hardship that might arise during the operation of any of these orders in the case of people who had been here for a considerable period and who had acquired property in good faith. I am afraid it would probably be too dangerous to put such a clause in the Bill. That is my own feeling as a layman but I shall have the matter examined to see if there is any particular need for putting some safeguard into the Bill. I think I can assure the Seanad that in the operation of this Bill the Minister will have due regard to the possibilities of hardship that may arise to any individual. When I mention hardship, we must have the interests of the community as a whole before our minds in the first place, particularly when it is a question of the interests of the whole community as against the interests of people who are not members of our community. At the same time I do not think that any Party would desire to impose any unnecessary hardship from considerations of that kind. The whole matter will be carefully examined.

Question put and declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 27th March.