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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6967

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 14 October 2002:

(1) Is the Minister aware of the case of Mr Lazar Kalaba and his claim for compensation from the Hungarian Government following the loss of his family's property during the Second World War.

(2) Is the Minister aware that, through the course of Australian Government involvement in Mr Kalaba's application for property compensation, on official Australian documents, the name of the concentration camp Mr Kalaba was interred in was changed from Sarvar to Sirvir and his year of incarceration was changed from 1942 to 1943, hence rendering his application to the Hungarian Government invalid.

(3) What will the Minister do to amend this inaccuracy so that Mr Kalaba can continue to pursue his compensation claim.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) I am aware of the case of Mr Lazar Kalaba and his claim for compensation from the Hungarian Government. My department has been exchanging letters with Mr Kalaba about his claim and what he needed to do to pursue it for 17 years.

(2) My Department has checked Mr Kalaba's claims and there is no evidence to support his allegation that the Australian Government had erroneously recorded information which had rendered his application invalid. In January 1991 Mr Kalaba's lawyers sought assistance with his claims through the Centre for Human Rights in Geneva and at that time advised the Centre that Mr Kalaba had been incarnated at a camp called “Sirvir” rather than “Sarvar”. This was not based on any advice from my Department. While a document held by my Department makes reference to a period of incarceration from 1941 to 1943 the Government did not convey advice on the periods of incarceration to any authority with an interest in Mr Kalaba's claim.

(3) My Department has provided Mr Kalaba with considerable information over the years with regard to his claim including contact details for relevant authorities who might be able to assist him.

We have recently learnt that the International Organisation for Migration, those appointed to administer the German Compensation Programme for World War II, advised Mr Kalaba in October 2001 that it had received Mr Kalaba's claim for property compensation and they will process his claim in due course.