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Thursday, 12 October 1972
Page: 1547

Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) - I have listened to all honourable senators. This is the second night in succession on which an instance has been placed before the Senate of an Australian citizen who went to Yugoslavia and, I think, finished up in gaol. The story told by Senator Hannan tonight, on the face of it, is absolutely incredible even as we see it for a Communist country. I would have though it was all the more incredible because on the story which has been told the matter was checked out with the Consul for Yugoslavia in Melbourne before this young man returned to Yugoslavia. I have received a number of allegations of this character all of which are being checked out and many of which are being verified, as much as they can be, from the Australian source. They have been referred to our Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen), and I assure Senator Hannan that this particular case will be referred to the Minister. It would appear to be prudent advice, hard though it must be for them to accept, for any young Croations who feel they would like to go back to Croatia to visit parents or relatives to desist from doing so. However, that is a matter for their judgment. As far as the general issue is concerned, that must be referred to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs for him to take such action as he considers appropriate.

I listened also to what Senator Cavanagh said about a particular instance of a person who went to Greece. This. I think, illustrates the variety of problems which our migrants who become naturalised citizens experience when they seek to return to their homelands. It is a matter which the honourable senator has referred to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Senator Wright has said he will refer it to the Minister. I can only regret that Senator O'Byrne in his comments chose to be impressed by what his colleagues in the Labor Party said and chose not to say one word about his sympathy for the predicament of the man mentioned by Senator Hannan, which is far worse than anything else that has been said.

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