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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5620

Mr McMULLAN (Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance) (10:21 AM) —I am, of course, aware of the newspaper article—the Canberra Times is my local newspaper. Unlike most people in the parliament, I actually read it every day. So, yes, I am aware of it. I happen also to know the journalist, Philip Dorling, very well. But those two things do not change the fact that the story is not right. The government did not announce the name of the person who had been expelled. Diplomats arrive and depart in Canberra on a regular basis. The government does not discuss individual departures and it did not. Obviously, we can discuss further the decision about whether the person should leave or not—that is a separate question. I am aware that the journalist believes that he may have deduced who the person is by looking at the diplomatic list and saying, ‘Oh, there’s a name that isn’t on there that was there before,’ but people come and go, often, and the diplomatic list is revised regularly. Nobody should automatically assume that the change they see reflected in that list is a product of the previous decision by the government. We have not identified the person who is expelled and we will not.