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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 3812

Mr HODGMAN(7.25) —Last Friday, 21 November, was an historic day and certainly a most important day for all those who believe in the ultimate goal of freedom of the Baltic states-Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In particular, I draw to the attention of the House that last Friday, 21 November, in order to celebrate the sixty-eighth anniversary of the declaration of independence of the Republic of Latvia, the Consul of Latvia in Tasmania and Victoria, Mr and Mrs Emils Delins, held a reception in Hobart at the McGregor Room of Lenna of Hobart which, as honourable members know, is one of Tasmania's finest hotels.

Mr Emils Delins, who is well known to the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Beale), is the continuing Consul for Latvia, having succeeded Mr Marconis, who was the Consul for Latvia from 1931 until his death.

It is significant that, following the death of Mr Marconis, the Fraser Government accorded continuing recognition to the Consulate of Latvia in Tasmania and Victoria and recognised the appointment of Mr Emils Delins as Honorary Consul of Latvia in Tasmania and Victoria. That recognition has been continued by the present Government. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only example of a continuing consular representation, certainly in this part of the world and possible in the world at large. It is a very significant one because it is a representation which continues and in which, both personally and through his office, Mr Delins encapsulates the hopes and desires of many Australian Latvians, along with their Lithuanian and Estonian brothers and sisters, that one day we will see those three Baltic states regain their freedom. I am delighted to say that it has been accepted on both sides of this House that the submissions of the Baltic Council that Australia continue to raise in the United Nations the plight of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have been agreed to. In fairness, I should add that in the Senate it is supported by the Australian Democrats and, most importantly, by the independent Tasmanian Senator, Senator Brian Harradine.

I was honoured to attend the function in Hobart. It was an extremely impressive ceremony. Mr Delins, as Consul of Latvia in Tasmania and Victoria, addressed the gathering. In response, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. John Beattie, MHA, spoke representing the Premier of Tasmania and the Government of Tasmania. The Rt Hon. the Deputy Lord Mayor of Hobart was present, along with myself, Senator Brian Harradine and a number of other parliamentarians. Significantly, I believe every member of the consular corps in Tasmania was also represented. I know that the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Reith) and the honourable member for Deakin will join with me in paying a tribute to Mr Emils Delins for the work he does as Consul of Latvia in Tasmania and Victoria. I also know that honourable members on both sides of the House will join with me in wishing for Mr Delins and all Latvian Australians that the freedom which was taken away from their republic as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov treaty in World War II will one day be restored to them. I also know that all honourable members in this House will support notice of motion No. 92 of the honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock), which is very similar to a motion moved by the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman).

Again I think we should tell the Soviet Union that on both sides of the House, to the best of my knowledge without exception, there is a very strong view that the Baltic states must regain their freedom and the Soviet Union must get out of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. I congratulate those honourable members on both sides of the House who support the Baltic question. I hope that one day the United Nations will do the right thing and demand that the Soviet military occupation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia cease and those republics be returned to freedom.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Leo McLeay) —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.