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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 680

Mr SHORT (BALLARAT, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to reports today by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that an Australian nun - Sister Anna Cecilia Gleeson from the Order of the Sisters of Mercy in my electorate- has been detained in Chile on a charge of having incited a riot. Is this report correct? If so, what steps has the Government taken to investigate the situation and to secure Sister Anna's release? I also ask whether further reports which have just reached me that Sister Anna has now been released are correct.

Mr MacKELLAR (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) - It is a fact that an Australian nun, Sister Gleeson, was arrested in Santiago, Chile, on 23 August under a decree which allowed her to be detained for up to three months. The latest report received by the honourable gentleman is correct: She has been released. No charges were laid against Sister Gleeson. We believe that she was one of a group of people who were arrested following a visit to a hall which was to have been the site of a meeting to discuss the proposed constitution and the forthcoming plebiscite. The Department of Foreign Affairs was in touch with the authorities in Chile. I repeat that Sister Gleeson has been released.

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