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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1975

Senator RAE (Tasmania) - I would like to raise a brief point in order to obtain the views and comments of the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) in relation to it. May I explain briefly the type of circumstance that concerns me and then refer to the clause in the Bill which would appear to cover it? I have had drawn to my attention recently the case of a man from a European country which has been taken over and become one of the communist countries. After that event he had acquired compulsorily from him the property which he owned, which was quite substantial in that country. The property was subject to a mortgage. Recently he has received a number of threatening letters from authorities in that country claiming the amount of the mortgage, some 20 years after he had to flee the country with nothing, his property having been appropriated and he receiving nothing with which he could possibly have paid off the mortgage.

Apparently in relation to the mortgage there were some arbitration terms. The inference is that he had agreed to arbitration, the arbitration had been carried out and he was duly indebted for the amount of the mortgage. I just want to make sure whether, either by statute in a foreign country or by that type of circumstance, the Australian court would be totally free under the provisions of clause 8 sub-clause (5) to hear and determine whether justice in our sense had been fully available to the particular Australian resident or whether one might have a circumstance in which a person finding himself in that position could have enforced against him what could only be described as a rather bodgie type of arbitration, leaving a debt which in any form of justice and equity could not be considered due and payable.

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