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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 2448

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that Amnesty International has published a report which suggests that there are 1 18,000 political prisoners in South Vietnam? Is the Minister aware that 17 Canadian members of Parliament and senators representing the 3 major parties in Canada- the Conservatives, the Liberals, and the New Democrats who are equivalent to the Australian Labor Party- have asked the Canadian Government to support a motion in the United Nations calling for humane treatment for and the ending of the torturing of and other indignities against all political prisoners in South Vietnam? Will the Australian Goverment give sympathetic consideration to this move and indicate its acceptance of the general principle that all political prisoners should be properly treated and that steps should be taken to expedite their early release to enable them to participate in the political life of their country?

Senator MURPHY -The Australian Government certainly would support the viewpoint that political prisoners ought to be properly treated. I think it might be best if I were to refer the specific questions which the honourable senator has asked to the Minister in question for a complete answer to be given. Naturally I think everyone appreciates the efforts of Amnesty International to endeavour in individual cases to alleviate the inhuman treatment of prisoners and to secure their release where it can be done. I am sure that the Government would do whatever can be done in the international field with respect to prisoners. I will get a specific answer to the honourable senator's question.

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