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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1423

Senator ZAKHAROV —Is the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs aware of the recent deaths in Chile of the two Mino-Logan brothers who had been accepted as eligible for assisted immigration to Australia under the special humanitarian program? Is the Acting Minister further aware of reports that names of applicants for such assistance have been passed on by embassy officials to Chilean police without due regard to the possible consequences? Is he able to give details of measures which are now taken to ensure the safety of applicants for such assistance in countries where investigations for security clearances may place lives in danger?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am indebted to Senator Zakharov for giving me sufficient advance notice of this question to be able to give her a reasonably detailed answer. The situation is that David and Marcello Mino-Logan were killed in Quillota, Chile, on 19 January 1985 as the result of an exchange of fire with security forces. A third brother who is resident in Sydney, Mr Waldo Mino-Logan, had made representations to Mr Hayden and the then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, in 1984, seeking his brothers' entry into Australia.

Allegations have been made over the handling of the matter by the Australian Embassy in Santiago. As soon as it received instructions from Australia, the Embassy sought actively to arrange an interview with the brothers in connection with their possible entry into Australia. At no time before their deaths was the Embassy able to ascertain the whereabouts of the brothers. The family of the brothers was also unaware of their whereabouts. In the circumstances it was not possible for the Embassy to make any assessment of the brothers' eligibility for re-settlement in Australia. Nor is there a basis for the allegation that information from the Embassy aided the Chilean authorities in locating the brothers.

There has been considerable publicity generated in this case. Much of it is characterised by misrepresentation of the role played by Australian officials and the true circumstances of the brothers prior to their deaths. Once full investigations into the matter have been completed, my colleague the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs will be issuing a comprehensive statement detailing the history of the case. The general question of the procedures for establishing that individuals satisfy the requirements for entry to Australia is a matter for the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. Honourable senators will be aware that his predecessor visited South America last August to inspect Australia's resettlement operations in the region at first hand. Following that visit, he expressed his satisfaction that the processing and checking arrangements are as effective as possible without endangering the safety of applicants.