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Tuesday, 14 May 1985
Page: 1870

Senator ROBERT RAY —I direct my question to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is it true that, following his glowing comments and statements about the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Victorian President of the Returned Services League, Mr Ruxton, has applied for political asylum in that country?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I presume that Senator Ray's question is a reference to the reports this morning of Mr Ruxton's impression, as I recall it, of the friendliness and peace-loving character of the Russian people and the politeness of Russian youth. If those reports are accurate it would appear that Mr Ruxton's conversion in Moscow is of the same order of significance as Paul's on the road to Damascus and rivalled in recent Australian history perhaps only by the conversion of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen on his trip a few years ago to China. It is extraordinary what messianic totalitarians seem to find in common with each other when they embark on travels of this kind.

I do not know whether it is the case that Mr Ruxton has sought asylum in the Soviet Union or whether, if he did, he was doing so primarily in order to destroy the credibility of the Soviet ex-servicemen's organisation, or whether it was to take advantage of the anti-capitalist sentiment in the context of those responsible for crashed family companies. But one way or the other, I simply respond to Senator Ray by saying that if Mr Ruxton has sought asylum in the Soviet Union a great many Australians will be profoundly hoping that he does not get knocked back.