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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 3754

Mr MOUNTFORD —Has the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs been drawn to claims by Amnesty International that Dean Simon Farisani of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa has been arrested by the authorities? It will be recalled that Dean Farisani visited Australia earlier this year as a guest of the Australian church groups. Given that Dean Farisani has been imprisoned before and has claimed that he has been severely tortured during his imprisonment, can the Minister arrange for the Australian mission in Pretoria to maintain a watching brief on what is a special case? Can the mission report back to the Government on whether or not Dean Farisani's normal human rights and physical well-being are being abused during his imprisonment?

Mr HAYDEN —Dean Simon Farisani is well-known in Australia for the reasons which have been mentioned by the honourable member for Banks. He is Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa, an outspoken critic of the civil rights record of the Government of the so-called Venda homeland. He has been arrested before by Venda authorities and there have been allegations that he has been tortured during imprisonment. The Government is disturbed about this case and, because of that, I have asked my Department to investigate the case with the South African Government. The Australian Government does not recognise the homeland Government of Venda and, if necessary, we will make representations on behalf of Dean Farisani to the South African Government.