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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1536

Mr CAMPBELL(7.54) —I have raised this matter in the House before and I do so again tonight. Languishing in gaol in Western Australia are a Mr Hemple and Mr Etheredge because the state of Israel has sought their extradition. They have been in gaol now for eight months. One can be a drug runner or a well known criminal in this country and one can get out on bail without much apparent difficulty. It is absolutely outrageous that the Attorney- General (Mr Lionel Bowen) has not sought to allow these people out on bail. I have raised this matter with him on several occasions. This problem arises because the state of Israel sought the extradition of these people, I think, on very dubious grounds. My view is that at the very best they had a civil case to answer. That too was very doubtful. However, with the utmost eagerness we rushed in to do the bidding of the state of Israel. Their main asset, a large yacht, was taken from them and sent back to Israel. That too was done in a way which leaves very grave doubts in my mind and certainly does not make me feel particularly proud to be an Australian.

Having said that, I come to the case of Mr Barry White, who was in the reverse situation. He was operating a regular charter business in the Mediterranean and was carrying passengers from Cyprus to the port of Sidon. He was apprehended on the high seas by an Israeli patrol boat. His passengers were made to strip and jump into the water and swim to the Israeli boat. He was then taken under armed guard to the port of Haifa, where he was imprisoned. He was subsequently released after some considerable time-I think he was in gaol for three weeks-and the Israelis said: `There is no charge against you. You are free to go'. But they kept his asset, a boat worth $400,000 or more. When I raised this with the Australian Government I was told that this is a civil case and he must take civil litigation in the Israeli courts. This seems to me quite clearly to be a double standard. I have looked into this case under the Freedom of Information Act. It is quite apparent that the Israelis simply made a mistake. Because they are not prepared to admit they made a mistake they are greatly prejudicing the welfare of Mr White.

To return to the Hemple situation, I believe that if the situation were investigated we would find that we do not have a valid extradition treaty with Israel because Israeli law says that if a person is Jewish and goes to Israel that person can seek Israeli citizenship. The only requirement appears to be that the person must be prepared to reside in Israel. So people seeking to stop extradition surely would claim that they wanted citizenship. I was appalled tonight at the way the honourable member for Capricornia (Mr Wright) was cut short by the Opposition when he was attempting to expose the Aloe Vera scandal. I now yield in his favour.