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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3006

Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Manager of Government Business in the Senate because I consider that this matter is both important and very urgent. My question follows the recent disclosure that a South Australian, Mr Mavrinac, while holidaying in Yugoslavia with his 2-year-old daughter, has been gaoled for 6 months for criticising the Yugoslav Government. I ask, as I did in July this year of the Minister for Foreign Affairs: What assistance and protection does the Australian Government afford its nationals when visiting countries in which they were born? In particular, I ask: What is the Government doing in relation to Mr Mavrinac who is a well respected South Australian and has held Australian citizenship for some 1 1 years? As Mr M avrinac has already been in gaol for one month, I ask: Why has he not been released and returned to Australia with his small daughter?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - The Department of Foreign Affairs has provided me with information on a number of matters about which they thought Ministers should be briefed. The information that 1 can give to the honourable senator from the Department of Foreign Affairs is that apparently the Melbourne 'Age' of 30 November reported that during a visit to Yugoslavia a Mr Mavrinac an Australian citizen of Yugoslav descent, had been gaoled for 6 months for criticising the Yugoslav Government. The Department of Foreign Affairs has reported to me that it has no information on the matter other than the actual Press report but that the Australian Embassy in Belgrade has been asked to inquire into the full circumstances of the matter and report to the Department of Foreign Affairs as soon as possible.

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