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Wednesday, 10 December 1986
Page: 3700

Senator ELSTOB —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs tell me what is the Government's reaction to the announcement of the extension of the state of siege in Chile?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The Government is extremely disappointed and disturbed by the announcement that has just come to hand that the state of siege in Chile is to be extended by 30 days. In a public statement on 9 September, the Foreign Minister, Mr Hayden, described the state of siege as a draconian measure that was more likely to provoke further violence than to ease tensions in Chile. Its extension now, 90 days after the armed attack on President Pinochet, is likely only to engender greater resentment among the Chilean people and lead to a further polarisation of Chile's political situation. The Australian Government has repeatedly called on the Pinochet regime to call an end to its disregard for human rights and to move quickly to institute genuine democratic reforms. Only by a return to Chile's long tradition of democracy can that country regain its political stability and international respectability.