From the oral history collection: The Hon. Chris Hurford AO
Chris Hurford was a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Adelaide from 1969 to 1987. He played a key role in the development of Australia's skills-oriented immigration policy as Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs from 1984 to 1987.
In this edited excerpt from an interview in the Oral History collection, Mr. Hurford recalls the controversies in the 1980s surrounding Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly, the Imam of the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, and the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran against Salman Rushdie’s book, Satanic Verses.
As Minister, in 1986, Hurford wanted Hilaly deported. He clarifies how Hilaly ended up being allowed to remain in Australia. “I might have resigned over it”, he says. In 1987, he was moved from the Immigration and Ethnic Affairs portfolio to Community Services, previously held by Don Grimes.
The interview was recorded by Barry York in 2015 as part of the Old Parliament House Parliamentary and Political Oral History Project, conducted in cooperation with the National Library of Australia. The full interview is not currently available online but is available upon request at the Museum of Australian Democracy. Please contact the museum prior to your visit and quote the reference number OHI 463.