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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1069

Senator BAUME (NEW SOUTH WALES) -My question, which is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, follows on the question asked of him by Senator Webster. What was the involvement of the Prime Minister in the decisions taken throughout the Ermolenko affair? Did the Prime Minister have a role in the decision to order the Orion aircraft? Did the Prime Minister make the decision that the Government would take Mr Ermolenko from Australia? Was decision-making throughout the

Ermolenko affair in the hands of the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the Prime Minister? If the Prime Minister was involved what was the extent of his involvement?

Senator WILLESEE - I answered most of those questions at a Press conference yesterday. I do not quite see the point about it all.

Senator Greenwood - The Senate does not matter; is that the point?

Senator WILLESEE -I will tell Senator Greenwood if he will just wait a little while. Surely I am entitled to say that all of this is already on public record, or does that upset Senator Greenwood's fine tendencies in this issue? I have said right throughout that I was handling the case. When I decided to take this action I spoke to the Prime Minister and asked him to make the aircraft available. I explained to him what it was for. He concurred in that.

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