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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1059

Senator SIM (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I direct my question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Who were the Russians, apart from Mr Ermolenko, on board the Orion aircraft that smuggled Mr Ermolenko out of Australia? What precautions were taken to protect -

Senator Milliner - Oh!

Senator SIM - I will repeat it if you like.

Senator Gietzelt - Spare us that.

Senator SIM - I know where your sympathies lie. What precautions were taken to protect the highly secret equipment on board the aircraft?

Senator Georges - Oh!

Senator SIM -Does that not matter? Is the Minister completely satisfied that no member of the sinister KGB was on board? What was the cost of the flight and who is to meet the cost?

Senator WILLESEE -The Russians on the aircraft were the group that came to Australia as visitors and were being held up from going back to their homeland. I think there were eight in all. They were not smuggled out of the country. The Royal Australian Air Force was acting under my clear instructions and those involved were carrying out their duties as members of the RAAF. I am quite satisfied with the precautions that were taken. I was asked whether I am satisfied that no member of the KGB was on board. As far as I know there was not, but I do not know whether there was or not. As to the cost, if that is important I will find out.

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