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Thursday, 29 March 1979
Page: 1370

Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) -A few minutes ago, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock), came into the chamber and referred to the issuing of a diplomatic passport to Mr Harry M. Miller. He said that this was done on three or four occasions and that it was perfectly all right because of what Mr Miller was doing for the country. I quote two answers to questions on notice. The first was given on 4 May 1977 to a question on notice- No. 74- asked by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It reads:

(   1 ) Will he take steps to ensure that members of the Commonwealth Parliament representing their country at meetings of the (a) United Nations General Assembly (b) InterParliamentary Union and (c) Commonwealth Parliamentary Association are issued with diplomatic passports.

The answer given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs was:

(1)   (a), (b) and (c) The issue of diplomatic passports for the purposes suggested would not fall within the established guidelines approved by the Government.

On 1 1 May 1 978, an answer was provided by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to question on notice No. 975 asked by the honourable member for Hindmarsh. It is a long question but it basically deals with persons entitled to diplomatic passports. In his reply, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said:

The issue of diplomatic passports is not dependent on an officer's public service classification. Diplomatic passports are issued to officers in accordance with the approved categories as prescribed by Cabinet which provide for the issue of diplomatic passports to members of an Australian Government Department or instrumentality -

I emphasise the next few words-

.   . assigned to a diplomatic mission overseas and notified to the receiving country as holding a recognised diplomatic rank.

I would like to hear from the Minister what diplomatic rank Mr Harry M. Miller held in this Government, which diplomatic mission overseas he was assigned to and which country was given notice that he held such recognised diplomatic rank? I do not believe that he held any diplomatic rank and the reason why he received a diplomatic passport was that he was a treasurer of the National Country Party and an associate of the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), who has acted as Minister for Foreign Affairs. That is the only reason why he has received a diplomatic passport. It is scandalous for Australia that members of the National Country Party executive can get diplomatic passports and keep them, even though they are of extremely doubtful character.

Amendments negatived.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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