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Wednesday, 7 March 1984
Page: 540


Senator GARETH EVANS —Yesterday Senator Bolkus asked me, as Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, a question concerning the Filipino poet, Cirilo Bautista, about whom I gave a preliminary answer. I am now in a position to supplement that answer. The Australian Embassy in Manila has discussed this matter with Mr Cirilo Bautista. Mr Bautista said that as an employee of the Philippines Government until December 1983 he had held an official passport. As he was no longer a government employee at the time of his proposed visit to Australia it was necessary to replace his official passport with an ordinary passport. Mr Bautista said the papers required for him to do this were received from the Government on 1 March. Because the processing of the papers would take a minimum of 10 days he would not have received his passport in time to travel to Adelaide for Writers Week. Mr Bautista said that he had conveyed this information to the organisers of Writers Week. He said that he expected to have a valid travel document within a fortnight. In light of the information available to us at this time the Australian Government will not be making representations to the Philippines Government on this case.