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Wednesday, 20 March 1985
Page: 577


Mr RUDDOCK —I remind the Minister for Foreign Affairs of a speech he gave in December 1983 on human rights and foreign relations in which he said:

Human rights will make a difference. It must always be on the agenda of our relations with other states.

Did the Minister in his discussions with the Vietnamese Prime Minister raise the matter of the many thousands of Vietnamese who are held against their will in concentration and re-education camps in Vietnam? If not, why not? If so, can he inform the House of the response of the Vietnamese Prime Minister?


Mr Hodgman —Ho Chi Minh Hayden.


Mr HAYDEN —Whenever the honourable member for Denison speaks a feeling of emulsion sweeps over me. Yes, I did raise the matter. I did put certain proposals to the Vietnamese about the release of people in re-education camps and about those people being allowed to go to the West, including the United States of America. There has been discussion about this matter between representatives of this country and the United States. There has also been discussion between a representative of the United States and me on it. Our representations were unsuccessful. We have raised it before; we will raise the matter again.

More broadly than that, I raised a fairly long list of human rights cases when Mr Thach was here. I received a response some time ago. It did not cover everyone about whom we had addressed a concern. We raised those additional cases. We put the matter on the agenda and we keep it there.