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Friday, 15 June 1984
Page: 3137

Senator HAINES —I direct my question to the Attorney-General. Given that many members and senators are, or will be, visiting foreign countries in the coming months and therefore could find themselves in potentially hostile situations I draw the Attorney-General's attention to an excerpt from the South Australian Country Hospitals 'Emergency Manual' with regard to the behaviour of hostages. It is headed:

Hold up-Immediate Action.

The manual makes the following recommendations:

If confronted, remain calm and obey their instructions.

. . . .

If a female staff member is taken hostage, she should pretend to faint.

Does the Attorney-General believe that either or both these instructions is appropriate behaviour in all circumstances? In particular, could he comment on whether, if given the choice, male hostages as well as female hostages should elect to faint rather than obey?

The PRESIDENT —If the question comes within the ministerial responsibility of the Attorney-General I will allow it. I call the Attorney-General.

Senator GARETH EVANS —Mr President, you said a little earlier on in Question Time that you could not require questions to be answered in the way you would like them to be. Perhaps you would like to answer this question for me. Strong silent men and fainting women does seem to be your sort of thing.

The PRESIDENT —See me at your football game next Sunday.

Senator GARETH EVANS —As I think about the matter, it is really a job for the police to resolve. I think a Minister such as Mr Young might be the best person to refer this question to, particularly since as a fellow South Australian he can no doubt share the results of his researches with Senator Haines.