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Monday, 12 November 1973
Page: 3099

Mr HURFORD (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question without notice is addressed to the Prime Minister, and it is supplementary to that asked by the honourable member for Kingston concerning the tragic famine in Ethiopia. Is it a fact that the need in Ethiopia is not only for food and drugs but also for medical expertise? Does the Prime Minister know that at least 15 finalyear medical students in South Australia who are awaiting their examination results have made offers, through me, to go immediately to Ethiopia until they are due to take up their hospital appointments in the new year? Will the Prime Minister do what he can to facilitate the examination of this offer in the hope that such help can be used?

Mr WHITLAM - I did not know of the offer, which I applaud. I will have it investigated. I repeat, however, that Australia does consult with other countries to see what forms of assistance are most urgently needed in situations such as that which has arisen in Ethiopia and which country is in the best position to meet those needs. It is quite clear that most countries would be closer to Ethiopia than Australia and a number of those countries would have a greater number of doctors than has Australia. Australia does act very promptly in matters of international relations. For instance, Australia was the first country to contribute to the cost of the repatriation of soldiers and civilians between Bangladesh and Pakistan. More recently, in respect of another area, we were the first to contribute where vaccines were required. We do consult very promptly in all these matters.

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