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Coalition releases terms for Senate Marshall Islands: Hill



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sg /·k : MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Tuesday, May 26 51/92

COALITION RKT.KASES TERMS FOR SENATE MARSHALL T«LANDS INQUIRY

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Robert Hill, tonight released the terms of reference for a proposed Senate Select Committee inquiry into the Australian Government's role in the Marshall Islands affair.

The Select Committee, which would have a majority of Opposition and Australian Democrat members and the power to call and examine witnesses, would inquire into:

The role played by Australian Government Ministers and departmental officials in the business affairs of Mr Gregory Symons as they relate to the Marshall Islands, with particular reference to the nature and extent of the involvement of:

THE MINISTER for and Department of Immigration, particularly in relation to access by investors in Mr Symons's scheme to Australian immigration services;

AUSTRADE, particularly action and advice in support of Mr Symons's business scheme, and also in relation to the EMDG grant of $131,443 to Mr Symons in 1990/91;

THE MINISTER for and Department of Education, Employment and Training, particularly in relation to access to Australian education services by investors in Mr Symons's scheme; and

THE MINISTER for and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, particularly in relation to support for the scheme, the promotion of the scheme or liaison with other countries, and in the provision of services to investors in Mr Symons's

scheme.

"Today's Senate Question Time provided new information about the Government's involvement in and knowledge of Mr Symons's business activities and raised many new questions," Senator Hill said.

"It raised the possibility that Senator Richardson called Marshall Islands Cabinet Ministers - not just the country's President - in the wake of Mr Symons's arrest.

"The Foreign Minister, Senator Evans, also revealed more information about the extent of his office's knowledge of Mr Symons's attempts to seek Government help to promote his business scheme.

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"These issues - added to questions about the Government's assistance to Mr Symons through Austrade grants and immigration processes - need to be thoroughly scrutinised.

"We urge the Democrats to support the establishment of a Senate Select Committee to investigate these matters.

"The Democrats should realise that the resignation of Senator Richardson is not the end of the matter and that accountability cannot be turned off and on like a tap.

"The Parliament, and particularly the Senate, would be failing in its responsibility to ensure accountability of Ministers and government if it does not pursue these important matters."

(ends)

Enquiries: Senator Hill or Mark Batistich on (06) 277 3170

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