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Wednesday, 11 September 1985
Page: 446

Senator McINTOSH —I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications a question arising out of the decision by the Minister for Communications to refuse an application by the Australian Coalition of East Timor for a licence to maintain two-way radio contact with Fretilin in East Timor. Is the Minister aware of a report in the National Times of 23-29 August and a letter in the Age of 2 September, claiming that while facilities may exist, it is practically impossible for members of the Australian public, including East Timorese here with relatives in Timor, to ring East Timor? Can the Minister confirm that there are difficulties in making ordinary telephone communication with East Timor? If the Indonesian Government is restricting international access to Timor via telecommunications facilities, would this be inconsistent with international practice under the International Telecommunications Union convention? Will the Government seek from Indonesia an explanation for these restrictions and consider urging Indonesia to open up telecommunications with East Timor?

Senator WALSH —That was a very long and detailed question about a matter of which I have little knowledge. I will refer it to Mr Duffy for an answer.