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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2392

Senator RYAN (Minister for Education)(6.15) —I have to say that the Government considers these matters separately. I do not see significant parallels between the situation of potential squatters on Bowen Island and the situation outside the South African Embassy, where views are being expressed with which Senator Reid may or may not concur-views which are held very passionately and strongly by many people in the Australian community. I think the foreign policy implications of that situation, and the implications in terms of the right of free political expression in our society and so forth, make the case a very different one in all significant respects from the hypothetical case Senator Reid has constructed for us of persons wishing to squat on Bowen Island.

Senator Reid also referred to the decision taken with respect to some South Vietnamese protesters, who were allowed to spend several days, as I recall, right outside the Parliament, very freely expressing their views on the Government's policy of allowing overseas students to study in Canberra. Again, I think that that was a different situation with different consequences. I can say only that the Government would examine each case on its merits.