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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2559

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs upon notice:

(1)   Can he say, whether, in certain areas of disenchantment with the Government, around 99 per cent of enrolled voters voted in the recent elections in South Viet-Nam.

(2)   Can he also say whether accusations of ballot rigging by high officials have any substance.

(3)   Have Australia's allies in Viet-Nam rejected political settlement proposals of Communist spokesmen on the ground that the United States of America would not impose any government on the South Vietnamese people and therefore could not accept the exclusion of Thieu, Ky and Khiem.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

(1)   Elections were held throughout the Republic of Viet-Nam on 3rd October. The latest figures indicate that 6,327,631 people (87.9 per cent of the 7,192,660 registered voters) actually voted. Final figures will not be available until the Supreme Court has declared the poll. In accordance with the arrangements under which the elections were conducted, the declaration will be made some time before 26th October.

(2)   The Australian Government would not wish to comment on allegations made in the context of elections held in another country.

(3)   Both the Republic of Viet-Nam and the United States of America have indicated that proposals put forward so far by the Communists are not acceptable. This is because the proposals set two pre-conditions for negotiations: first, that all foreign troops assisting the Government of the Republic of Viet-Nam be unilaterally withdrawn; and second, that a coalition government be formed in which the Communists would be given representation out of all proportion to their actual support.

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