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Tuesday, 2 May 1961

Mr Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) m asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

What action has been taken on the report which the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs made in October, 1956, relating to extradition?

Mr Menzies - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: -

After careful consideration, and after an exchange of views and experiences with the 'governments of some other countries, including those of the United Kingdom and United States, the Government decided against the termination of the treaties mentioned in the committee's report. It felt that safeguards existed to provide adequate protection to individuals, and it also had very much in mind its declared policy that it would not entertain a request for extradition, unless it were thoroughly satisfied that such a move was not being sought for political purposes. I take this opportunity to reassert this policy and to assure all former residents of the Eastern European countries concerned living in Australia that they are now under the protection of the Australian Government and Australian law in this respect.

No extradition treaties have been concluded by Australia since the committee's report was made.

As to the committee's recommendations that in certain cases the onus of proof should be altered by amendment of the Extradition Act, the AttorneyGeneral has decided that a review should be made of the act, and the committee's recommendations are under consideration in this connexion.

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