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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 1751


Senator Kane (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

1.   What were the occasions and dates on which the Australian Government made known its attitude on the fundamental human rights of free emigration of a nation's citizens to the Soviet Government.

2.   At what diplomatic level was the attitude of the Australian Government put to the Soviet Government.

3.   Did the Australian Government, in making its attitude known to the Soviet Government specify restrictions on Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union as an instance of the denial of this fundamental human right; if so, on what occasion, on what date, and at what diplomatic or governmental level was this done.

4.   Did the Australian Government protest, that is, make a formal statement of dissent or disapproval of the Soviet Government, specifically concerning that Government's refusal to allow free emigration of its Jewish citizens; if so, on what occasion, on what date, and at what diplomatic or governmental level was this done.


Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Australian Government has on numerous occasions in the past made known its views that all countries should respect the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the right to emigrate is an essential pan. As leader of the Australian Delegation I stressed in my statement to the current session of the United Nations General Assembly the importance which Australia attached to the full implementation of all international instruments concerned with human rights. In 1970, in the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly, the Australian representative expressed concern about the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union and appealed to the Soviet Union to resist from policies or practices of discrimination against citizens of Jewish origin and to allow those wishing to emigrate to do so. Reference was also made to the same issue by the Australian representative to the 1971 meeting of the Third Committee. The present Government's attitude has been made plain by the Prime Minister this year and by him as Leader of the Opposition in former years to successive Soviet Ambassadors in Canberra. The Soviet Union has in recent years considerably relaxed its restrictions on the emigration of

Jews with the result that an increasing number of Jewish citizens have been permitted to emigrate from the USSR. The Australian Government applauds this development.

Attorney-General's Staff: Appointment of Professor Howard


Senator Murphy - On 26 September last, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson directed a question to me concerning a report appearing in the Australian Financial Review' that Professor Colin Howard had been appointed to my staff. At that time no such appointment had been made. There was therefore no basis on which I could comment on any of the purported details of the appointment given in that report.

An appointment has now been made. Professor Howard has been appointed General Counsel to the Attorney-General. His duties are to advise me on any matter as to which I seek his advice. I anticipate that such matters will comprise legal questions of all kinds arising incidentally to the Government's legislative program, but will concentrate particularly on Constitutional questions. Senators will be aware that Professor Howard is a distinguished authority on Australian Constitutional Law and has written widely on the subject, as well as on many other legal matters, particularly criminal law. In recent years he has furnished advice on a variety of matters to the Senate, to committees of the Parliament and to the Government of Victoria. In his present capacity Professor Howard is on leave from the University of Melbourne. His appointment is full-time for a period of 3 years and he will be paid a salary of $25,000.







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