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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 518

Senator CARRICK (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware of the allegation that Jewish academics and professionals in Russia who apply for exit visas to return to Isreal are forced to pay a form of ransom to obtain such visas? Is the Minister further aware of the claim that a fixed scale of ransom exists, varying according to the qualifications of the person; for example, a university graduate, 12,200 roubles, a technical institute graduate, 7,700 roubles and a graduate of an institute of arts, 9,600 roubles? Is there any substance in these allegations which, if correct, are a flagrant breach of article 13 of the Declaration of Human Rights? If the allegations are correct, will the Government use every lawful process to expose this obnoxious practice to the world and to seek its immediate termination?

Senator WRIGHT - Yes, I am aware of the allegations to which the honourable senator refers. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, though, has published no details of the fees which are allegedly charged although according to Press reports - I emphasise that the basis of this statement is only the Press - the fees range from $A5,000 for the holder of a bachelor degree to $A20,000 for the holder of a doctorate degree. With regard to the other matter to which the honourable senator referred, I am not in a position to confirm the allegations that have been made but the Department of Foreign Affairs is making inquiries. Until they have been confirmed, it would not be appropriate to speculate on what action, if any, the Government might take.

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