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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2439

Mr FRY - Is the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware that a foreign diplomat in Canberra recently sold 2 imported cars at a profit of about $9,000 each and that this is a common practice by some foreign diplomats in Canberra who import these cars quite legally without paying sales tax or import duty? Is the Minister concerned that this aspect of diplomatic privilege is being abused in Canberra? Would he consider amending the relevant section of the convention covering this privilege to extend the minimum period in which diplomats may sell imported vehicles from 2 years to 3 or 4 years.

Mr PEACOCK (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) -I was not aware of the facts enunciated by the honourable member. In those circumstances I think he would understand that it would be advisable for me not to pass judgment until I obtain the facts. Having obtained information from him and having checked elsewhere, I shall not only advise him but also if necessary, advise the House. I could not favour breaches of immunity, set out in the legislation here and as it is normally granted internationally. But I would not wish to judge the matter until I am able to establish the facts.

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